Don’t let the shadows scare you

Shadow IT does not need to be a threat to your organization

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If IT is the business, then it is the responsibility of everyone within an organization. Therefore, shadow IT no longer exists and there is no reason to be afraid. The future of the workplace is at stake as rapid advancements in technology are changing the way business is conducted. And because of such changes, IT has become the business.

The concept of shadow IT historically meant an us vs. them civil war between IT and rogue vaguely technical groups that sprouted within various departments – unannounced and unheralded – to deploy departmentally specific solutions. Such a need harkens back to the initial break away from mainframe computing architectures, where a single locked-down system was centralized and controlled by a single entity.

But CIOs are expanding their focus beyond operational efficiency and risk mitigation; they must also become advocates for a culture of IT evolution, ones who are willing to take on big risks when there’s not an overwhelming and shared understanding of the business value of doing so. Obviously efficiencies and risk assessment continue to be important for the execution of a successful business, but the evolving CIO teams include this as well as championing innovation – becoming enablers instead of controllers.

To drive business forward, a CIO needs to have his or her team execute with the correct mindset: What is the overall business strategy, and how do we approach each task at hand? This requires innovation. Innovation occurs when all the right variables come together to enable an organic process – regardless of where the idea initially comes from.

Our philosophy of “IT as a business” is firmly taking shape at VMware because my IT team wants to innovate and make a difference for our customers, including internally. The role of IT changed; it is successfully blending into the main stream. As a result, IT has emerged from the shadows.

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