The New CIO is a weekly article about the challenges facing today’s CIO as well as what can be done to prepare for future challenges.

Are you agile?

I’m not talking about the Agile development methodology…I’m talking about BEING agile.  Are you able to deliver what your organization needs (with less resources)?

Build it….or they will

Do you have a Shadow IT group or groups in your organization?  If you said no, I’d bet you’d be wrong.   There are always Shadow groups within organizations….the difference between your organization and others has to do with the governance and network security.  Perhaps you don’t have a full-blown shadow IT group with non-supported applications and and/or hardware, but I’d put money on the fact that there is a person within your company that has purchased access to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) product.

Why would someone go outside your IT organization?  That’s an easy answer….because you can’t get things done for them.

Forget that IT governance, security and processes have to be followed…the end-user can’t get what they need from you so they go out and find something on their own.  If you’re lucky, all they’ve done is purchase a SaaS application. If you’re unlucky they’ve gone out and procured a third-party platform that they want to integrate with the rest of your IT systems.

Why does Shadow IT exist?

There’s a ton of reasons that these types of things occur, but most simply, Shadow IT arises because people don’t feel they are getting what they need from the IT group.

They feel like it’s too difficult to work with IT.  It takes too long to get things done.  There are too many restrictions placed upon them from IT.

You know what? They’re right!  At least from their perspective, they are.  Think about it.  Should it take a year to get a new project management tool setup for your Marketing group?  Should your Finance group really have to care about the technical restrictions?  I say no.

How do you fix it?

While I believe the real answer is a difficult and deep one but the place to start to looking for answers is a simple one: Be agile.

Make it easier for your organization to get things done. Make it easy for your Marketing group to implement a PM tool.  Take the restrictions out of the equation when talking to Finance about a new platform.  Understand their needs first and then you and your IT staff figure out how to deliver the system that they need.

The New CIO will have to be agile and build an agile team. Agility can mean many thinks but it doesn’t mean you have to ignore IT governance, security or your processes…just don’t use them as excuses for not getting things done.

Join me next week for another article in The New CIO series.

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