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What is your Shadow IT Strategy?

By Peter Tong, Management Consultant and Business Manager at NNIT


If you believe that you don't have any Shadow IT within your organization, you most likely haven't looked hard enough. In the Nordics it's estimated that 7% of the total IT spend is spent on Shadow IT and that in 2017, 38% of all technology purchases will be controlled by business leaders. This should by itself be enough to warrant a place on your (Shadow) IT strategy – not an area you want to be left in the dark (no pun intended).

The presence of Shadow IT within an organization is not necessarily an indication that the IT-department is underperforming, but rather that the traditional boundaries between Business Unit IT (BUIT) and the central IT department are being blurred by the technological advances and societary changes with the adoption and use of IT. Is IT moving closer to the business or is the business moving closer to IT? The matter of the fact is that the increased availability of Cloud-based services and technologies coupled with the demand for new services from BUIT has put a high pressure on IT which requires changes to the traditional operating model.

Everyone knows the 'license to operate' for the successful CIO is delivering rock-solid IT operations. But it also represents the bare minimum, the CIO must deliver stability and security while at the same time be a business partner that adheres to the corporate strategy and supports a business in constant change. If you only deliver on one of these elements, you'll risk losing either your operational stability or your competitiveness towards the market. Today, some will argue that green lights across the boards should never come on the expense of market competitiveness and time-to-market.

Initiatives into assessing and evaluating Shadow IT projects should be an integral part of any (Shadow) IT strategy – you can either support or oppose. Supporting the business with "Shadow IT" initiatives will help validate whether the central IT services are aligned with the business needs and ensure that the captured value creation is maximized; however, by opposing, you're effectively going to wage war against the business. You may win the battle, but you can still lose the war. The approach you chose will depend on the business you're in.​


About the Author

Peter Tong is an experienced management consultant and IT professional having provided IT outsourcing advisory services to vendors and customers across various industries. He helps translate IT into business and business into IT.​

About NNIT Digital Transformation Insights

NNIT Digital Transformation Insights is a regular column where prominent NNIT consultants share their thoughts on current and future digital transformation. You can reach us at




Peter Tong+45 30792337ptog@nnit.comManaging Consultant Tong



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