‘Invisible IT’ gets ugly

Forrester says #8216;invisible IT#8217; comes in two forms #8211; shadow IT systems implemented in business units outside of IT#8217;s sight; and the unplanned, untracked and unmanaged requests of IT. Invisible IT results from a lack of process and discipline by both IT and end users when it comes to requesting and providing IT resources, notes analyst Craig Symons in a recent Forrester report. By extending IT governance beyond strategic requests to tactical requests, through service portfolio management and a service catalogue, IT can ensure all its efforts are tracked and managed, bringing a clear picture of IT demand.

Left unchecked, invisible IT produces a chain reaction of effects across the enterprise. Symons notes the quick changes needed do not follow normal quality assurance, change and release management processes. This in turn affects service level agreement performance and ultimately customer dissatisfaction, which can lead to more work as IT has to find and fix the problem. IT gets no credit for the work because it is not tracked, and takes away resources for planned activities.

Forrester lists ways to gain control of invisible IT:

#8226; A service catalogue for all IT requests: This is an online application listing all services IT provides, any service level or quality expectation for that service and a price for each.

#8226; Time tracking: Invisible IT would be hard to sneak through if IT staff had to keep track of their time.

#8226; Holding people accountable and educating the users: Users need to be educated about the new processes and why it is important to follow them.

#8226; ITIL processes: Processes around service delivery and service support create a disciplined approach to IT service management. Because invisible IT does not result in a documented request, the change management process will #8216;red flag#8217; these attempts and in time these should reduce, if not completely eliminate, their occurrence.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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