Shadow IT is no more – digital IT has become mainstream

December 12, 2016
Shadow IT is no more – digital IT has become mainstream

We are living in a world where digital transformation is essential for an organization to retain a competitive advantage. Economic instability and an ever-changing competitive landscape have eradicated the notion of ‘traditional’ business models, while cloud computing has changed almost everything within organizations, upturning how they operate. The responsiveness, scalability and speed of digitally-enabled operations have never been more important, as employees look to drive businesses forward by accessing software and data, wherever they are, on whatever device they have.

The extent of this trend is reinforced in our latest research, which finds that IT is opening-up across businesses. Almost two thirds (61%) of IT and business leaders in EMEA believe the management of technology is shifting away from IT to other departments, as lines of business take charge of technology-led innovation.

Impacting innovation 

This decentralized approach is giving lines of business freedom, the freedom to innovate and to use the technology of their choosing to do so. Both IT and business leaders recognize this is the case, with the majority (58%) acknowledging that the decentralization of IT gives more freedom to drive innovation. What’s more, 59% believe it gives them the ability to launch new products and services to market with greater speed, and 56% say it is increasing responsiveness to market conditions.

Our research also found that EMEA organizations are seeing positives from this shift in technology ownership from a skills perspective. With 55% of business leaders in the region seeing an increase in employee satisfaction, over half also say it’s helping them attract better talent for their business.

We asked Joe Baguley, vice president and chief technology officer, EMEA, VMware, to tell us more about the opportunity and challenge this all represents:

“It’s ‘transform or die’ for many businesses and managing this change is the great organizational challenge companies face. The rise of the cloud has democratized IT, with its ease of access and attractive costing models, so it’s no surprise that lines of business have jumped on this opportunity.”

 “Too often, however, we’re seeing this trend left unchecked and without adequate IT governance, meaning that organizations across EMEA are driving up costs, compromising security and muddying the waters as to who does what, as they look to evolve.”

Whilst the decentralization of IT is creating opportunities for business to drive speed and innovation, it also needs careful management. Our research found that both IT and business leaders are recognizing certain difficulties: more than half (55%) believe the decentralization of IT is causing a duplication of spend on IT services, while 53% agree this is creating a lack of clear responsibility for IT. 49% stated that this is leading to the purchasing of non-secure solutions.

Joe had these words of advice for businesses looking to balance the freedom to innovate with control, and how to best capitalize on the opportunity that lies before them:

“This isn’t ‘Shadow IT’ anymore, that’s yesterday’s story – this is now ‘Mainstream IT’. The decentralization movement is happening, driven by the need for speed in today’s business world: we’ve never seen such a desire for new, immediately available applications, services and ways of working.”

“By recognizing these changes are happening, and adapting to them, IT can still be an integral part of leading this charge of change. The latest technology or application will only truly drive digital transformation when it’s able to cross any cloud, to be available at speed and with ease, within a secure environment.”

If you’re keen to understand how your business can reap the benefits of decentralized IT whilst maintaining control, make sure you keep an eye on the blog – next week we’ll be taking a deeper look at our research and what it means for you and your business.

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