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Shadow IT is not an optimal solution.
The lifeblood of most organizations is information. Today, the vast majority of data is digital, and it lives in data centers and corporate networks. Although organizations are able to collect and store vast quantities of information, thanks in particular to the affordability and scale of cloud computing services, it's not uncommon for them to run into trouble when it comes to accessing that data.
If you're a decision-maker, you're probably familiar with the frustration of knowing that just the right report or file sharing service could help you derive stronger insights and get your job done more efficiently. Many employees feel the same way in their day-to-day activities. They want to access the resources they need to fuel their projects and help them complete their tasks faster and more accurately.
When organizations lack the right tools, workers and business leaders tend to look at outside business analysis tools and Software as a Service offerings. They might sign up for free accounts or even buy subscriptions to services that will help them in their professional activities. This is the basis of what's become known as "shadow IT," and it's not an optimal solution.
Although employees and decision-makers might enjoy greater productivity and convenience by taking things into their own hands and obtaining applications that will help them find numbers, get to their data and discover insights, shadow IT is problematic for organizations. Not only are there obvious security considerations, utilizing tools that aren't integrated into the wider company IT network creates data silos and other complications. As ZDNet observed, companies usually maintain oversight of data contained within a corporate account, but they're in the dark when it comes to information kept in various personal programs and apps.
This situation can lead to additional problems, detracting from data analysis projects, causing data loss or misplacement and making it more difficult for people to find the resources they need in a timely manner.
Shadow IT is a bigger problem than most enterprises realize. According to a recent Forrester Research report, a single organization may have "hundreds of instances of self-provisioned SaaS," the source reported. An Ovum survey revealed that nearly one-third of the 4,300 full-time employees who participated in the study were using their own applications, ZDNet added. Skyhigh research indicated that shadow IT cloud usage is at least 10 times greater than utilization of enterprise cloud services.
What can organizations do to shed light on their computing resources and discourage shadow IT? It all comes down to giving business leaders an easy, fast way to create the tools they need and manage them within the company network. Rapid app development platforms allow people to create programs that are integrated with the enterprise system in order to provide access to data - without creating silos. These resources can then be distributed and maintained centrally so that IT teams have a better sense of what tools are being used within the organization. For example, many companies are creating enterprise app stores so their workers can easily find and start using programs developed in-house.
An experienced content and social media marketing professional, Michelle writes frequently about the practical applications of information technology.
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