Shadow IT culture thriving in many organisations: survey

Users are installing software themselves and doing their own workarounds due to under-resourced IT departments, poll finds

Businesses are increasingly accepting the existence of a “shadow” IT culture, in which end users install uncontrolled “rogue” technology to make good the shortcomings of overstretched IT departments, according to a recent survey.

Rogue IT includes users installing software, or tampering with existing software or macros, without the IT department’s consent, according to the survey, by integration specialist Blue Prism. Budget and resource constraints often lead to elements of rogue behaviour, which was reported by 67% of respondents. Twenty-four per cent believe that rogue IT isn’t used in their organisations and 10% didn’t know whether there was any unofficial IT at their organisation.

It seems that end-users are increasingly aware nowadays that their IT department cannot always deliver a practical solution for their needs, which can lead to the creation of a “shadow IT culture” within an organisation, whereby users actively install their own applications or find their own workaround solutions in order to do their day-to-day job.

This is often because IT departments have to manage business-critical projects, sometimes at the expense of helping business users with tactical change requests. Indeed, over 52% reported that working on strategic projects is the main focus for their department, with only 40% saying that delivering day to day business change requests is their priority.

Under-resourced IT is blamed heavily, with more than 71% of respondents citing IT department resource constraints as the reason why they are not able to satisfy all requests from the business, followed by 67% of respondents who believe that IT department budget constraints are the key factor. Meanwhile, 24% of respondents cited an unreasonable number of requests from users as a prime reason for failing to satisfy change requests.

Of those surveyed however, 52% believe that they are able to satisfy most change requests and only 10% of respondents felt that they are able to manage fewer than 25% of requests.

Finally, the traditional perception of IT departments frowning upon rogue behaviour by users is also challenged by the survey. It concludes that many IT departments fully understand why pockets of rogue behaviour exist, and reveals these departments are equally pragmatic when asked for the best way of dealing with it.

Three quarters of respondents suggested strategic controls, such as a strong governance model where collaboration between IT and the business is encouraged, need to be put in place to help the IT department cope with the rogue IT behaviour. Only 10% favoured introducing measures to eradicate it.

The majority of respondents were from the UK and US.

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