Now that business apps (that really can help you do better business) are available immediately in the cloud, the internal IT organisation may find itself being ignored as the shadow IT. It’s not that end-users and their managers dislike the IT department.
It’s simply that they can get something they need online in minutes, rather than having to wait weeks inside the enterprise.
This shadow IT as it is now called can lead to different reactions from IT staff and CIOs. Responses include fatalism (“it had to happen”), anger (“no way!”), and vindictiveness (“they’ll pay for this”), and in some cases soul searching about what the role of the IT department is now anyway.
The latter can help improve IT service management and produce a more positive outcome.
The fact is that an internal IT department is now competing with external technology providers. This may sound strange, but look at it in the following way.
A business manager in the organisation now often has the choice between going to the IT department for a solution or to the third-party technology provider (Microsoft, Salesforce, and so on).
An IT department also faces the challenge of the speed at which technology evolves. The route to re-conquering the hearts and minds of end-users (and their managers) is to provide excellent IT service management, delivery and innovation.
Not in everything, of course: an IT department’s objective of trying to be all things to all people is probably what drove end-users to external SaaS solutions in the first place.
Focus is essential, and the right focus is the one that makes the IT department concentrate on the key business goals of the enterprise, the priority requirements of the end-users, and the best way to satisfy those goals and requirements rapidly and cost-effectively.
This marketing-style approach can be pushed further as well, by singling out the things that the IT department can do better than any other player to meet end-user needs.
That won’t stop every attempt or temptation for end-users to look outside the enterprise for their IT solutions. However, it will build credibility, respect and a solid internal customer base for the IT department.