Shadow and BiModal IT are forcing evolution

Gartner and others have pointed out that business IT delivery is changing dramatically in a couple of ways, and all of us in technology are having to adapt.

Shadow IT is growing. 40% of decisions about technology are made outside of the IT department.

First, about 40% of decisions about technology are now made outside of the IT Department. Line of business managers are now budgeted and empowered to pursue their own solutions.

Second, IT has divided into Keep the Lights On (KtLO) and Innovation based technology. Gartner calls this bimodal IT, and it is quickly growing in popularity as the IT department expect the cost of basic technology to shrink as the need to respond to line of business requests grows.

These two evolutions are caused by similar factors:

  • Proliferation of SaaS and cloud based tools that require no technical knowledge to deploy;
  • Technologically savvy managers coming into decision making roles;
  • The perception that IT staff is merely a technical resource;
  • Technology budgets being decentralized into departments.

In many companies, IT is trying to retake the technology reins by minimizing its time-commitment to KtLO technology through outsourcing and cloud services. IT is recognizing that they should have an increasing role in the business and that role isn’t focused on firmware updates, firewalls, and switches.

Technology focused business

Change is in the air and frankly, it’s getting pretty windy. Companies (and whole industries) are rising and falling faster than ever as business advantages become more fluid. (Think Uber vs. Taxies; Netflix vs. Blockbuster; Tinder vs Dinner and a movie)

The people who control line of business budgets know that technology has enabled this change. They are hungry for the giant steps forward that technology can provide and are intolerant of the slower pace required by involving IT.

At the same time, IT recognizes the threat of application sprawl, identity problems, insecure sharing of data, consumer grade applications, vendor lock-in, and poor extensibility. These concerns are no less important if the service is purchased at the line of business level.

IT’s role in this new world is to drive the conversation and encourage adoption of these technologies in a best-practices-defensible way. They must remain the sentinels of security, data integrity, interoperability, and design but also take center stage in creating competitive advantages.

The CIO must balance governance concerns with the extraordinary opportunity for business transformation that technology provides.

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