Rogue IT is shadow of its former self

We are all partners now, CompTIA study reveals

“Rogue IT” - the practice of business units secretly sidestepping the IT department to procure their own tech - is in decline.

But only because business units are now openly buying their own technology solutions, this time in collaboration with their counterparts in IT.

The findings, reported in the June 2015 CompTIA study Building Digital Organizations, shows that enterprises have learnt their lessons from earlier experiences with rogue IT, based either on missteps they have made themselves or on information gathered from others,” said Seth Robinson, senior director, technology analysis, at the IT industry group.

In these days of cloud computing and ubiquitous smartphones, there is a helluva lot more opportunities for all kinds of missteps. Mind you,“misstep” is probably not the first word you would use when you find out that your marketing automation system is unable to integrate with accounts, or when your cloud HR provider tells you that bad guys have hosed your records.

To avoid such problems, business units today show a “clear preference for IT taking the lead on security issues”, according to Robinson. And as much as business units would like to bring their own ideas about technology to the IT team, they want the IT team to drive the "overall technology vision”, he says.

On the overall business vision thing, the CompTIA research reveals “notable changes in inter-department dynamics for many organizations … with the impact of this shift is also felt in budgeting, decision-making and implementation of new business systems. These changes are occurring in organizations of all sizes.”

In practice this means that business units - finance, marketing, sales and human resources - are more aware of technology solutions; more actively involved in the speccing; and more abie to procure these solutions. And they are making good technology choices, according to IT pros surveyed by CompTIA.

Also, more technology budget for business units does not necessarily mean less budget for the IT department. Enterprises are spending more on IT overall – if they think business needs are justified. Based on online surveys of 650 business and tech professionals working at US companies, the CompTIA study portrays rogue IT as a world where departmental barons are jousting for budget and project ownership. This is very high-level.

Still in the shadows

But within the IT department, rogue IT carries on as per usual. This is where the doers, the devs and admins, introduce technologies without the knowledge of their bosses.

The process is neatly characterised by an anonymous Reg reader (in response to our report that grassroots IT is driving the proliferation of Linux containers in enterprise organisations):

“In fact I've seen this pattern before, usually with open source or other no-budget-approval-required sourcing, and it typically goes in three stages:

"Don't know": The techies are using it and spreading it among themselves, nobody else is even aware.

"Don't ask, don't tell": low- and mid-level managers know, but as long as it is helping meet budget and project goals, they look the other way.

"Don't care": finally, senior management finds out, and as long as it hasn't dragged in some security or liability issue, they have no interest in ripping it out. (Although they may be pissed about the commercial licenses for equivalent products that they are paying for and not using.) ®

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