Following protocol can sometimes lead to roadblocks, which is why some managers embrace the “do first, apologize later” philosophy. When it comes to purchasing IT products and services, business unit managers are no longer content waiting for IT in hopes their project rises to the top of the priority list. Rather, they’re working in the shadows, bypassing the traditional IT department and making IT investments on their own.
According to Gartner Research, by 2015, 35 percent of enterprise IT expenditures for most organizations will be managed outside the IT department’s budget and more than 50 percent of the Global 2000 will charge back most IT costs using IT service-based pricing, up from less than 10 percent today. With shadow IT playing a bigger role in IT procurement, organizations need to corral the user community to prevent over-spending or under-investing in mission-critical technologies that promote business advancement. This requires increasing transparency around IT finance and business management and deepening the understanding of what comprises the costs of IT products and services. And, with the consumerization of IT putting business users in the driver’s seat, organizations need to take a stepped-up approach to education and awareness of technology investments and connect costs to consumption.
How can you successfully corral the user community so the organization can get the biggest bang for its IT buck?
Stop saying “no.” IT departments don’t have the best reputations for being accommodating. And, most business users know if there’s something they need, there’s a website that sells it. But, how does a line of business manager know if cloud services provided by Amazon are a better deal than what can be provided internally? Do they understand what’s included in the total solution and if there are additional costs? Rather than simply saying no to requests – whether that’s for application support or new hardware – provide access to information that supports informed conversations around the cost of IT products and services so managers can better understand the value of technology investments and connect it to business priorities.
Step into the shadow. Proactively competing with third-party alternative providers requires IT organizations to respond to users’ needs faster and with more flexibility. When they can’t, they need to ensure users are armed with information to make informed decisions that benefit the business. When users have visibility into costs and consumption, shadow investments can be a positive thing because users understand how to better evaluate products and vendors and get the technology they need when they need it at a favorable price point.
Be a partner. To engage the user community, IT organizations need to be proactive at generating demand, rather than trying to control it by better understanding and anticipating what is required for better business performance. Then, they can provide a solution-driven approach that ensures the business invests in technologies that align with the business strategy. Organizations that incorporate an IT financial and business management technology solution gain the benefit of centralized control along with the ability to help users make the best decisions based on accurate data.
The IT organization may no longer control all of the company’s technology investments, but they should be the driving force behind helping users make better decisions. Incorporating focused IT financial and business management solutions provide flexibility users want while enabling the CIO to retain control, foster informed-decisions and support a can-do environment.