by Martha Heller

CIO Career Coach: Rethink shadow IT

Jun 14, 2017
CareersCIOIT Leadership

Many CIOs now share the control of technology with their business partners

Welcome back to “CIO Career Coach,” a video series I created with and This season, we’re discussing the skills that top CIOs are developing to be successful in the new era of IT. 

In this episode we are talking about shadow IT and how CIOs can shift their approach from trying to rein in a pesky problem to thinking of shadow IT as “end user innovation.” 

Ten years ago, the term “shadow IT” described the staff that your business partners hired to develop their own solutions. But today, with cloud services, shadow IT is a much larger concept. It occurs whenever a business partner buys a cloud application without consulting IT. 

The divide between IT and business partners has to go

But shadow IT is a concept that should not exist in the new era of IT. When technology is as important to a company as people, finance or even oxygen, the “us and them” divide between IT and its business partners has to go. When technology belongs to everyone, the IT organization needs to relinquish its totalitarian grasp over the purchase, development and support of technology. 

When we reframe shadow IT as end-user innovation, we not only allow IT to be the business, we encourage the business to be IT.  

At the same time, rogue IT can quickly create problems with security and cost. So CIOs must find a way to balance business innovation with the need for standards and compliance. 

Watch this video to see how some CIOs are approaching the challenge.