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Bringing Shadow IT Out of the Shadows

Bringing Shadow IT Out of the Shadows

January 06, 2015 0 Comments

Business employees use Shadow IT to access and build apps. Can you turn this trend into an advantage?

In today’s world, we are bombarded by everyday examples of the business wanting more than IT can provide. This is not an indictment against IT, it’s a supply and demand problem. Given demand outstrips supply, the business looks for alternatives - SaaS, outsourcing, offshoring, cloud and more. While it’s great that the business is resourceful, if applications are developed in rogue fashion, “Shadow IT” will be exacerbated. How do you avoid these problems without locking everything back up in IT?

Due to the consumerization of technology, workforce users have increased expectations for better user experiences, the ability to collaborate, and mobility.

All of this is converging to create a new type of developer – the “Citizen Developer.” Gartner states that Citizen Developers will develop 25% of all apps going forward. Non-IT types are building all sorts of apps with Excel, Access, Sharepoint, and Wikis, and are also building apps around BI and analytics tools. Without a strategy, enterprises will end up with a Shadow IT problem.

Business software for citizen developers

In order to address this growing gap between business and IT and to arm Citizen Developers responsibly, we need to simplify the development process so that we can 1) make existing developers more productive and 2) expand the existing development pool by enabling technical business users to be more involved in the app dev process. In effect, just as we started the BYOT trend, we need to start the DYOA trend.

One way to do this is to leverage cloud technologies and transition there via the development organization. Pick a high-productivity PaaS solution like Progress Pacific, and let your developers learn the best way to use it to speed your more traditional development efforts. Then, determine what aspects of the platform make sense to expose to technical business users.

Next, pick a discipline and a role like marketing analyst, sales operations, financial analyst, etc., and make the platform available to these citizen developer types. Train them and manage their efforts so that you make them more productive and do so in a way that will not exacerbate your Shadow IT challenge.

In other words, take a measured, step-wise approach to growing your developer pool. Traditional organizations still look for the CIO/CTO to provide technology leadership. Forward-looking organizations understand that they can harness the technology acumen of their entire staff for greater success.

Mark Troester

Mark Troester is the Vice President of Solutions Marketing, Digital Transformation at Progress. Mark has extensive experience in bringing application development and data integration products to market. Mark previously led product marketing efforts at Sonatype, SAS and Progress DataDirect. Before moving into marketing, Mark worked as a developer and developer manager for start-ups and enterprises alike.

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