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CIO Insights: Dealing with shadow IT

Rebecca Merrett | Feb. 3, 2014
Three Australian IT leaders share their advice

If you have a good working relationship with the CMO and you have proven to management that you can meet project deadlines, I don't think they will go away doing it on their own. They only will go away doing it on their own if you keep missing your deadlines, so there's no trust there.

By having a weekly catch up or monthly management catch up, that sort of surprise coming out of nowhere probably can be avoided. You want to advise the CMO, saying 'there's a technology that I've been looking at and this is what a CMO mentioned it in another company, it may be beneficial to you'. This kind of conversation over a coffee or in the weekly/monthly meetings can help you promote yourself and become a trusted advisor.

If we bring ideas and initiatives to the CMO, he or she will definitely engage with you more and more. The role of the CIO is to promote and introduce new technologies to the company. If someone comes to you all the time with new technologies and you execute and implement them, then you might start questioning yourself and if you are doing your job enough to explore and bring new initiatives into the company.

If you introduce 8 out of 10 [technologies] and the other two came from other business units, then you could say you are doing a pretty good job. If it's the reverse, then you would probably start questioning yourself.

You need to put maybe 5 per cent of your team or budget just to introduce new technologies, explore what they can do for your company, the business. It might fail, it might be successful. But at least you put in that effort, instead of only maintaining what you have. By always looking in the market and keeping yourself educated and the team, you can always give that advice to the senior management team.

Also, I would disagree with my colleagues if they said 'we own the data'. IT doesn't own the data, the company does. Our role and function is how to secure the data, and how we share the data with the other business units using different applications.

When it comes to the security of the data, we don't want people who don't need access to be accessing a system. So if they define that, then we will help them to implement the objectives, instead of simply saying 'you cannot have this'. The approach is to try to deliver the project goals and objectives with the CMO.

Rob Livingstone, former CIO and owner of an advisory practice

A situation like that is unfortunately is not too uncommon. Shadow IT is very real in many organisations.


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