Even though shadow IT (or rogue IT) has wreaked havoc on organisational order, it is an unavoidable trend that IT departments must get ahead of and use to their advantage. Listed below are several ways that leaders can utilise to make the most of the current situation:
Leverage shadow IT to bridge the gap between executives and employees
Shadow IT has taken businesses by storm and is not going away anytime soon. Instead of forcing staff to circumvent your authority, the issue can be used to create a strong line of communication with them. Ask them what applications they want to use in the workplace, why they want them and the features they would like to see in the company's applications. Conducting surveys can also assist you in collecting vital information to help you improve your current software. This will make your employees feel valued and that they play an important role in strengthening the company; something that will cement their loyalty.
Additionally, welcoming your team's input encourages them to openly discuss the software they use with you. This gives you a chance to assess the application's capabilities, determine its security levels, its strengths and weaknesses, as well as find ways to secure it for the use of your entire company. Alternatively, if it does not meet the company's requirements, you can speak to your employees and educate them on why it is not compatible.
Experiment with the rogue IT apps that your employees use
After surveying your staff members and understanding their positions regarding shadow IT, experiment with the software that they use and identify why they prefer it over your own applications. This will help to understand the tools and functions that are needed to improve your company's efficiency and productivity levels and work to improve your products or create customised applications that encompass all said features.
Begin to adopt existing shadow IT projects
As an IT executive, you will come across business initiatives that have not been directly approved and as a result have been left dormant for some time. Even though such projects are unauthorised, you can explore their strategies and determine whether they have the potential for success. If they align with the organisation's business objectives, you can approve them and use them to steer your company in the right direction. Such initiative shows your employees that you are willing to listen and are open to innovative ideas, even if they are outside the traditional scope. This also encourages your people to come to you with renegade business ventures that can boost your company in a myriad of ways. It is important to note that employees who are able to come up with successful rogue IT projects are the type of talent that you should keep close.
Spare some time to evaluate potential business drives
Often times, project proposals and requests for better software applications are set aside because executives view them as low priority issues. Consequently, the evaluation process that precedes their approval takes a long time, and even after approval is granted, the implementation process is slow and prolonged. Eventually, the lack of enthusiasm from higher ups causes the project innovators' passion and drive to either diminish or forces them to resort to rogue IT. In both cases, the company is at a loss. IT leaders should ensure that the approval and implementation processes are not only accelerated, but also uncomplicated and well planned so that the company can transition smoothly into the next phase of accomplishment.