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IT departments need productivity plan: Gartner

Users will make your life hell with "Shadow IT" if you don't do more

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Pockets of IT activity beyond the IT department are inevitable and clever IT folk will find a way to embrace it gently and then hatch plans to become so marvellously responsive that you deliver things users would otherwise build for themselves.

So says Mark McDonald, Ph.D., a Group Vice President and Head of Research in Gartner Executive Programs in a new blog post.

McDonald labels IT beyond the IT department “Shadow IT” and says it emerges thanks to consumerized technology, mobility, the availability of cloud solutions and quite frankly relatively slow cycle times within captive IT organizations.”

Shadow IT is a risk for organisations, he says, because those who develop it quickly lose interest in it or, when things go pear-shaped, hand it back to the IT department and say ‘here operate and integrate this, after all isn’t this your job.”

One response is to unleash the BOFH. McDonald's rather more sensible approach is to look at why IT has gone rogue in the first place.

“Go back and look at the real nature of Shadow IT demand and solutions,” McDonald advises. “In many cases the shadow applications are requests for greater information consumption and rather than information creation or production systems.” Adding an API so that business people can get their hands on more information can help things along.

Computer says no

McDonald also suggests IT departments get more done, so that business folk get what they want and don't head off-piste. Becoming more productive needs a plan.

“Chances are that while you have a plan to allocate all IT resources to projects, you lack a plan for driving IT productivity to make the pie bigger,” he writes.

Such a plan is important because only greater productivity will help IT departments meet demand driven by ravening hordes of consumers-IT-fired users. Clamping down on those users won't work, Gartner says, Instead “Greater capacity, productivity and throughput from within IT is the only sustainable solution.” ®

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