by Maryfran Johnson

Three Steps to Combatting Rogue IT

Aug 31, 20112 mins
Consumer ElectronicsMobileSmall and Medium Business

CIOs need to be more yes-oriented when it comes to embracing consumer tech and the tech demands of their internal customers

Business users everywhere these days seem to be losing their collective minds and going rogue. Not in the inimitable style of a certain former governor of Alaska, but in the combative style of impatient teenagers who want what they want when they want it. (That would be now.)

Who needs IT when the corporate Amex will speed you right onto that new cloud service? Why wait in the IT project line if you don’t have to? When you add together the trends of rampant IT consumerization, ubiquitous mobile devices, multiple cloud offerings and high-speed business needs, what do you get? One rogue user problem, supersized.

But other than shadow IT being a bigger headache than ever before, what else is new? Your response to it. More CIOs are taking a proactive stance on rogue IT rather than struggling against an unstoppable tide of change, writes Stephanie Overby in this month’s instructive, idea-packed cover story (“What CIOs Should Do About Rogue IT”).

“We find every way to say ‘yes,’” says CIO Lisa Davis of the U.S. Marshals Service, who arrived at the federal agency in 2008 to find a do-it-yourself-IT culture run wild. Like many smart CIOs are doing now, Davis found ways to strike up a more cooperative IT-business partnership. The partnership theme runs strongly through our story, with practical examples of how to make it more than just talk.

“Ask them what you can give them, how you can support them better,” advises Andy Mulholland, global CTO of consultancy Capgemini. “Come in as a friend to help them, not an enemy to stop them.”

What else can the yes-oriented CIO do? Some ideas from our story include:

  • Encouraging your staff to take a more active teaching role, especially in cybersecurity risk. (Save us from ourselves.)
  • Offering more transparency in the IT decision-making process. (Treat us like we know more than we do.)
  • Creating internal customer guides to illustrate IT’s vetting process for new technologies. (Help us shop smarter on our own.)

Getting to yes with those rogue users could be the best move your IT organization ever makes.

Maryfran Johnson is the editor in chief of CIO Magazine & Events. Email her at