Today’s post is the third in a three part series on moving to the cloud, courtesy of guest contributor Matthew Johnson of Cloud Sherpas, one of CloudLock’s technology partners. Matthew Johnson is the Vice President of Global Cloud Advisory Services at Cloud Sherpas. Matt is an executive-level management consultant with 30 years of experience in the fields of sales and marketing effectiveness, strategic planning and business transformation. His background includes a career-long focus on managing changes surrounding the introduction of new technology into the organization. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Vermont and a B.S. in Biology and Psychology from Valparaiso University.
Last week, I shared how the cloud presents a myriad of opportunities for business improvements. Ideally, IT should be a part of these improvements. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Because the cloud makes it easy for individual users to purchase and run applications without IT’s help, shadow IT has grown rampant.
There Is a Correct Approach to Shadow IT
There are a few approaches that you can take toward shadow IT behaviors. You can attempt to outlaw it (the key word here being attempt — users aren’t going to stop taking advantage of cloud applications simply because IT issues a decree), you can ignore it or you can embrace. So what’s the correct approach? Embracing it.
If you embrace shadow IT, you’ll realize that it can actually be a benefit. After all, shadow IT was born out of users wanting to do their jobs better, whether it be working more productively, communicating better or providing customers with better resources. So, it’s time for IT to get on board.
Redefine Your IT Department
Whether you know it or not, shadow IT already exists within your organization. Users have already spun up all different kinds of applications on their own, in large part because they think IT is just too slow.
Now is the time to change that perception. Use your move to the cloud as a welcome mat to redefine your IT department. Equally as important, make this change known to your users. Tell them that you’re here to be an enabler and a facilitator, not to create roadblocks.
One step that you can take to make this change a reality is to create a robust service catalog where users can access a list of solutions sanctioned by IT and pick what works best for their needs.
To build this service catalog, you need to be proactive. Go out and talk to cloud providers and establish agreements and SLAs. Then, these solutions will be readily available when users need them and might even include added bonuses like single sign-on that they would not get by going around IT.
While this model will be a very significant change for IT, the payoff will be worth it. As a result, business users should come back to IT for technology needs, instead of going around it. And with that change, you can still ask — and answer — the all important integration and security questions.
Keep IT Relevant
Redefining your IT department might seem intimidating, but it’s a valuable opportunity to remain relevant in the post-cloud environment.
At the end of the day, it’s all about thinking at a different scale to manage and accommodate all of the applications the business wants to add. By doing so, when the business approaches you with a new application it wants to use, you can respond with: “I’m ready for it!” And that will make IT a true champion.
Take a deeper look at the state of shadow IT and the role IT should play in this joint report from Cloud Sherpas and CloudLock: The Evolving Role of Cloud Security: Understanding Why a New Approach is Needed