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Confessions of a [former] shadow IT violator

HPE-SW-Guest ‎05-02-2014 10:50 AM - edited ‎05-06-2014 03:09 PM

Guest post by Sherry Ramm, ITSM Marketing Consultant


Are you like me? Are you guilty of going around the IT rules and shopping in the “shadows” for   hardware or software to do your job without the permission or even letting your IT team know? Has “Shadowing” your IT guy become a habit in your organization?  Well, if the answer is ‘yes’, then join the club.  I’ve been a not-so-proud member of that club for years as well! 


I recently learned that this club was not as exclusive as I once thought when I read a recent study by Frost and Sullivan.  They surveyed 600 employees around the world and found that more than 80 percent purchased SaaS applications on their own to do their jobs without going through IT.   What?  Do you mean I’m not the only one getting a periodic slap on the hand to do my job? 


Don’t get me wrong, I love my IT teams – they are some of the smartest and hardest working pros I know.  IT has been a huge support to me over the years and they’ve saved my back-side more times than I can count.  Today, they are still the same solid group but that relationship has changed in recent years along with the macro trends of technology and I had my reasons for “going rouge”…


User perspective on shadow IT


Today I am discussing the causes, issues and impact of this universal challenge for IT from the eyes of a user—me. The more I learn about the impact that my IT brethren have endured the more I realize that I’m not a spectator on this issue, I’m a participant.  In fact, my uncomfortable realization is that I’m the cause of this long-standing, latent pain and that’s become critical to solve as it pummels budgets and loosens the grip on control and security.    


So the knee-jerk reaction for some may be that Shadow IT must stop – let’s double the width of the garden-wall, and enforce more stringent policies. It is important to understand that the solution is not that simple.  Shadow IT will not stop with the traditional IT stonewall approach of the past.  To win this challenge, IT need to meet the user where they are.  This battle must be won with honey, not vinegar.   In essence, users have moved on with the times and IT must catch up.


With the advent of cloud, SaaS and Internet shopping, users have come to want and expect an ‘’-type of experience when they source anything. They want to self-serve, and shop with the same ease, choices, insight and response they’ve come to love on the Internet.  IT must shift to meet this expectation by transforming into a true service broker to their users with a central portal, single catalog, automated ordering, and self-serve IT support.  But before we get there, let’s dig into this issue more deeply.


Why we Shadow IT


I‘ve read that marketing is the worst offender of Shadow IT.   I have to come clean and say that I believe it.  So why do we in marketing (or any other department for that matter) continue to circumvent our IT brethren to secure our IT needs?   They are smartest people in room about all-things-IT.  Why would you go around them when they have all the connections to any IT product or service you could want?  Why cut them out of the loop when purchasing IT products and services through them makes so much more sense? 


Users know what they want and they have the power of the Internet at their fingertips to research and buy it.  Marketing can be fast moving and intricate with the orchestration of programs, events or even urgent and complex data management or reporting. They are all about removing the risk factor or any uncertainty.   These teams may feel more in control of the outcome by ordering what they needed on familiar sites that are personalized to them and track the shipment to a point-point delivery.


Users like the independence, the ease, the control and response that an IT team, operating in the traditional style of IT, can’t provide. For marketing teams, “Going rouge” is a very simple decision because they usually choose the risk of going rouge over the risk of compromising the performance levels bosses and executives were expecting to generate revenue and sales pipeline for the company. 


Becoming to diffuse Shadow IT


The landscape for IT has shifted completely in recent years and business users have shifted with it.  The emerging and growing cloud and SaaS applications have led to great complexity and IT struggles to keep up, many shops still operate in the old way of managing user support through tickets and help desk representatives.  Meanwhile, users have moved on. There is a new world where everything is available in the cloud and users can shop on-demand for nearly ANYTHING.   And they want to shop the same was in their work-life as they do in their personal life.


The Holy Grail to shedding the practice of Shadow IT is meeting the user where they live today, in the consumerized shopping experience.  Trying to limit what users can do is no longer working. When users can enjoy their personalized “” experience from their own centralized IT, they will no longer have a reason or desire ‘go rogue”.  To operate in this New Style of IT, the IT department needs to transform to a true service broker delivering high-value and relevance to the user through a single portal. Behind the curtain of that new pretty IT interface is hidden from users a connected intelligence where vendors, catalogs, cloud services and MSPs are all connected to means true service aggregation and brokering. This means easy, dynamic service delivery translating to increased time-to-value for users and capturing 100 percent of service demand for IT.


Leaving the shadow for the “all for me” IT portal 


Seeing the HP Propel Portal for the first time was like seeing the face of IT leap forward light years with a current day interface that was warm and inviting. The home page shows a fully functional central IT resource for everything the marketing team would need without complexity or anything unnecessary.  .  Now users can “shop” and “search” on their own with the same ease and efficiency as they’ve come to know in their personal internet shopping. .  Now, with no reason to shadow IT, users can be better corporate citizens without any compromises to getting their jobs done.


As a business user, here are the exciting aspects of HP Propel Portal that should most interest you:

  • A single, personalized portal for all of their IT needs.  It’s automated. Users can shop in a single, corporate catalog with the ease of shopping on Amazon. It offers immediate confirmations and real-time tracking of orders. Users can even   expedite shipping.
  • Engage with IT how you want.  You can send messages. You can chat.  Or you can call to talk to a service desk representative live.
  • Search for what you need, immediately. Get an intuitive search to find IT topics relevant for your technology.  Tap into social media, blogs and even get RSS feeds.




Get HP Propel Free now and get your fully-functional HP Service Portal, with a mobile-enabled, standard catalog. Onboarding is easy and premium capabilities can be added when you’re ready, leaving your current systems un-distrupted.  Start your transformation to a true service broker today. Meet your users where they are and diffuse the Shadow IT in your organization.




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