Bringing Shadow IT into the Light: How CIOs Can Regain Control and Drive Productivity

In an earlier post, I detailed the risks of “Shadow IT,” the growing practice of employees within a company procuring IT services without the involvement of the IT department.

Think of a marketing manager who, rather than waiting on an overburdened IT team to meet her needs, contracts with a cloud service provider, and with a few clicks of her mouse, spins up an ecommerce solution with neither the knowledge, support or control of corporate IT.

While the benefits of such freedom can be seductive, taking the form of productivity gains, the dangers should also be obvious: while today’s SaaS models offer a captivating array of helpful apps available any time, nearly all these utilities ask the user to send mission-critical company data into the cloud, potentially putting the company at serious risk of data breach.

So how can CIO’s regain control? It’s clear they want to: According to’s State of the CIO Survey 2014, four out of five of the 722 IT leaders surveyed felt IT projects done without the IT department’s involvement created problems.

 The first challenge is that too many IT organisations spend far too much of their budgets to simply “keep the lights on” rather than driving business growth. In that scenario, how can a company reduce delivery time to business users, reduce internal costs and complexity, and still regain control of, and protect sensitive data?

The bottom line: entreprise IT’s new service delivery model needs to make services as easy to consume as outside cloud providers do.

Central IT must transform to an operating model that alleviates the necessaity of individual business units going rogue by positioning itself as the broker of those services from cloud providers.

Entreprise IT’s New Service Delivery ‘Broker’ Model

By leveraging tools as a single pane of glass, corporate IT can ensure that security and accounting standards are met, and provide faster time to production and higher service levels by leveraging those cloud service providers.

To do so, a CIO must assess the current maturity of the company’s IT department. Central IT cannot embark in a transformation process without a thorough assessment. What are the technologies and organizational changes needed? What are the problematic areas?

IT transformation journey – access your IT maturity

Many CIOs are already in the first, or virtualization phase, where there are efficiencies of CAPEX gained by virtue of oversubscription of VMs and the consolidation of workloads into servers. This is very common in the industry right now and provides good economic efficiencies.

To further the maturity and gain more operational efficiencies, companies should seek to contract with managed services providers as the second phase.

Doing so frees up CIOs and IT departments to become more strategic about the actual business, and provide more value-add instead of just keeping the lights on. Adopting business processes and operational changes that move away from the culture of close asset management will save both time and money. This allows you to refocus expensive IT resources on the next phase of the journey embracing API driven automation to improve business agility.

The improved agility will increase the velocity of services you deliver, reducing time-market and improving your competative position. IT is now delivering real business value and moving you along the journey to become a flexible broker of IT services to the business.

Want to know more? Are you ready to bring your companie’s Shadow IT into the light? Do you want an IT department that contributes to business success rather than just keeping the lights on? One that:

  • Permits greater agility and faster time to market
  • Enables cost clarity by leveraging chargeback for services consumed
  • Offers a clear and cohesive view of all services from different providers

If so, and you’d like more information about embarking on the journey to IT transformation, click to contact our Advisory Services division.

Lindsay Cassidy is a Senior Technology Strategist for Rackspace EMEA, who presented “How to Bring Shadow IT into the Light” at the CIO Summit Europe in London earlier this year. He’s a seasoned IT specialist with more than 25 years experience ranging from mission critical software development, enterprise hybrid cloud architecture design, information security and IT governance. He now serves in Rackspace’s advisory services division. This pivotal role aligns Rackspace global FTSE® 100 client’s key business goals around DC transformation, big data and cloud adoption strategies with the professional, technology and managed services offerings that Rackspace provides. When he’s not in meetings, Lindsay enjoys spending time with his wife Charmain, cycling and photography.

Featured image “Backlit Keyboard,” courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Colin.


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