Why are non-IT executives still pursuing shadow IT in spite of consistent evidence that what often starts well, usually gets departments and often companies into trouble later? Why not just ask for help early on?

12.2k views8 Upvotes18 Comments

CIO in Software, 501 - 1,000 employees
We've seen a real fragmentation of IT over the last few years, as per the 'consumerization of IT' trend. There are a lot more non-IT professionals, finance, marketing, HR, or sales getting comfortable with the idea of shadow IT. 

However they've also had experiences where this practice often gets them and the company in trouble later. It's easy to get up and running when everything looks good, until you need to do something like reporting or integrate with other data-sources. Then you outgrow your capability and you think “now I need someone to help.” 

So I'm curious if this is consistent with what others see as well and if so, why is this still happening? What can be done to curb it?
CTO in Software, 11 - 50 employees
Typically because the CIO and IT teams aren't listening to needs. Here's a blog post I wrote for IBM a few years ago on Shadow IT --> https://medium.com/@mdkail/how-can-cios-can-get-ahead-of-shadow-it-1604937598de
VP of Product Management, 10,001+ employees
Sometimes the budget and timeline ask from IT to deliver the necessary technology capability does not meet business needs. That prompts business to start building custom solutions or buy them from market that will solve their problem. The larger the organization, the bigger is this issue. There is no solution, except for the fact that business will build certain apps. IT should accept this and help business be compliant.
CIO in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
It is definitely down to relationships and perceptions. The issue can stem from the current environment or carry over baggage from previous experience. You have to foster strong relationships with colleagues and help them see that you are open, honest, knowledgeable, trustworthy, and transparent in order for them to think of you first when they have pain points that need solutions. Perception is truly an uphill climb and sometimes you have to work twice as hard to help them see you are trusted partner willing and able to help them. I can't say this will always prevent shadow IT from cropping up but it should help from rampant abuse. Additionally, having a strong, symbiotic relationship with your security team will help with identification and mitigation of rogue services.
Senior Security and Compliance Auditor in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Perhaps they do it because it’s easier to solve today’s problem with a quick solution as any long-term issues are tomorrows problem.  Also, the people who created the problem are usually not the same people who are tasked with fixing it.  These people know better but the process for testing, procuring, and implementing new solutions is not in place, not enforced or just too cumbersome.                 
Director in Finance (non-banking), 10,001+ employees
When leaders and teams do not feel like IT is enabling them to succeed they will take matters into their own hands.  Everybody believes that they are the exception to the rule
CIO Services Consultant in Services (non-Government), 51 - 200 employees
At the end of the day, it's about the strength of the relationships at the Executive Level. If there's trust, then this doesn't happen as often. The opposite of trust is a mandate that all IT comes from IT. That always causes shadow IT to grow.

I think the other thing that fosters shadow IT these days is the ease in contracting for and deploying SaaS solutions. Non-IT executives see an approach that appears to be faster than working through the IT department. It usually falls apart when they have to integrate the platform with existing apps.

Think about it this way. If a department comes to you asking for a solution, can you add value? If not, help them find a solution or help them validate the solution they're looking at. If they know that you're helping them solve their problems without being dictatorial, that helps build the trust I mentioned.
CIO in Software, 501 - 1,000 employees
The today simplicity of starting and using a new tool which usually offers low pricing on its basic offering and even free version for just getting new customers on board, those bring these dept's to start and using it, I can understand the willingness to be independent and the expert of my needs and I don't see this going away..., especially when all seems simple in the beginning, my take on this from my experience is that right course of action of solving it is by education of the rationale why IT needs to be the first stop, of course IT needs to be proactive, fast response team with "can do" attitude etc.. I believe when those tools needs integrations to other business applications its easier to create the state of mind or at least catch it on the beginning, the other track of awareness is re its the data, so to tackle privacy and security, its another way to bring it to their understanding as its start to touch responsibility as company senior manager, I saw few cases when someone sign on new subscription tool which is not expensive and then come to ask to integrate it. I don't think this cat & mouse will ever end but as we become more and more integrated eco system and SaaS apps usually never works as stand along platform, I believe by tackling the above togerther with addressing it during the on boarding process of managers and employees, it might narrow it down, the bigger challenge I see are employees buts its a longer post :-) 

Thx, Yossi
CIO in Hardware, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
First, Organisation (including CEO/Founders) need to realise that IT is much more than traditional stuff of Network/End-point/ERP services. Secondly, IT has not been able to break the image of the people who hold back the agility in the name of the processes/security. Third, users are much more savvy than earlier hence do not want to depend on anybody else for their deliverables, mostly due to availability of SaaS. Fourth, there is too much pressure of timelines on everybody and the budgets are shrinking..
CMO, Self-employed
I've seen this time and again, where non-IT functional leaders , who have been frustrated by the time consuming and expensive process driven nature of IT, look for faster, lower cost alternatives. These generally start off really well, but once the "shine" of newness recedes, and the complexity of applying mandated governance and long term support set in, things get decidedly harder to maintain. Many innovative leaders who have saved their companies millions (at least thats what the resumé states), use this result to land a great job at another company before the full cost of what that have delivered is exposed. And many careers of serial sub-2 years stints in exec positions are built on these models.

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