Total Members: 4770

This community is proudly sponsored by :

Fighting Back Against Shadow IT: Part 3

Help your customers embrace cloud services to serve business stakeholders

In Parts 1 and 2, we outlined the steps involved for you to help customers reduce their shadow IT and position yourself as a cloud services thought leader. In part 3, we discuss how you can work with the business units to understand their unique needs as well as empower development within both IT teams and business units.

Work with Business Units to Understand Unique Needs

In fighting back against shadow IT, it is vital that you create a process where the IT organization remains aware of applications and the handling of data because the data flow among and across virtualized environments must be understood for regulatory or compliance considerations. Then, inadvertently stumbling into a dangerous situation can be avoided.

To see how easily problems can arise, consider the case of a call center. Sensitive data, such as credit card numbers, could be collected during customer interactions and stored in an application that does not properly account for data sensitivity. This information can then be transmitted without being encrypted. Failure to understand how data is handled from a people, process, and technology standpoint can result in compliance audit failure or compromised customer data.

Security and compliance issues can also arise in the marketing organization, which typically leverages a high degree of digital tools when developing applications. Further, they frequently customize application program interfaces (APIs) to integrate SaaS marketing tools with other applications throughout the business. Therefore, surveying business units will provide insights into where you and your customers should focus efforts, and where the best opportunities are to build stronger relationships with business units, so you can become their chosen cloud broker.

More often than not, marketing organizations outsource the development to work agencies without any direction from the IT organization, which presents a major opportunity for you. Once the applications are developed, only then is the IT organization approached to deploy, host, and maintain the applications. This can present real problems as the IT team may not be able to support the languages or frameworks used to develop such applications. If you ensure you are involved in this process, you can eliminate many problems before they occur. Engagement with the Chief Marketing Officer can be a good place to start building your trusted advisor relationship among business units. 

By working with the business units and the IT organization to influence the selection of third-party vendors to ensure development work, SaaS cloud deployments and integration with other critical applications is complementary and sustainable, and you will become an invaluable resource throughout the organization. 

Empower Developers While Maintaining Oversight

As cloud-native applications continue to evolve, so too are the skill sets of your customer’s IT staff, as well as members in the business units. Open source cloud platforms are making it easier to set up test and development environments to customize applications for the unique needs of the business. With this in mind, the final step in managing shadow IT is to ensure you provide tools for testing, development, and proof-of-concept work. Here, a self-service public cloud can prove to be invaluable.

Cloud service providers have made it increasingly easy for developers to establish a public cloud environment. In many cases, this can be done quickly by simply having a credit card and an Internet-enabled device. Consequently, it is easy for IT administrators to lose control and oversight of the development work being carried out by the IT team and/or business unit.

To hedge against this, you can help your customers implement a self-service public cloud and ensure development work is concentrated there. A final step is to help your customers’ IT departments put user management controls in place, establish workspaces, and assign budgets for individual teams and/or projects. Implementing and encouraging development to take place within a single cloud environment will increase oversight into the work being carried out. It will also ease the migration of development work to other stages of the application lifecycle.

The nature of this cloud-enabled process offers two big benefits, both of which help control shadow IT. The first is that it provides a platform for expedited development work, making it less likely that users and line-of-business managers will turn to non-sanctioned methods. The second advantage is that the development work itself provides intelligence into the needs of users and business units.

Conclusion

A decade or so ago, the internal IT organization of a business often had a goal of controlling every application and device. This is no longer possible, or even desirable due to new technologies. The IT department is not the only one who is disintermediated in the process. IT solution providers are also at risk of losing business because procurement decisions are made outside of IT, the selling “wheelhouse” of the IT channel.

While the advent of cloud services has made shadow IT more prevalent, the same technology also offers a solution. Implementing cloud services can be controlled by working with business units to understand their needs; assessing the applications and processes in use; cordoning off mission-critical applications; re-hosting applications in the cloud to free up IT staffs; and making better governance a priority for your customers’ businesses. Cloud environments can also empower your customers’ application development work. Further, by establishing a list of approved cloud vendors for your customers, you can ease their adoption of cloud services.

While every business faces unique challenges, these recommendations are intended to further increase agility, while maintaining control and governance across a variety of applications and cloud service providers. Business unit budgets are only projected to increase, and shadow IT instances will undoubtedly increase, as well, if the IT department does not take an advisory role in the selection of cloud services. All these factors combine to provide you with the opportunity to become both a cloud advisor and a cloud broker to your customers. 

Like this post? Make sure you get future Sungard Availability Services updates and subscribe to the Cloud Services Community today! http://cloudservicescommunity.net/registration.

To learn more about Sungard Availability Services and how we help our business partners fight back against Shadow IT, visit http://channels.sungardas.com or email as.us.partnerprograms@sungardas.com.

Fighting Back Against Shadow IT: Part 2