Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

How the Customer Experience Killed Shadow IT

Do you remember all the talk about ‘Shadow IT’?

Just a short time ago, it was a topic on the tip of every CIO’s tongue. Now, it almost never comes up in executive conversations and is rarely worthy of press headlines. The question, however, is why?

Have IT organizations vanquished this particular foe? Have they just given up the ghost and accepted that they’ve lost control?

Or is there a bigger phenomenon at play here?

Remembering Shadow IT

“I’m old enough to remember when we had shadow IT.” I heard this statement from a software company CEO just a while back. She continued, “It’s an old thing now. We’re evolving. IT is back on the table.”

The CEO’s point was that as the complexity of the IT stack has grown, the days of pulling out a credit card and buying a subscription to Salesforce were over. Her position was that with all the security concerns, the importance of data, and the ever-more-complex interweaving of applications to support the customer experience, business leaders need a specialist to help them sort through it all and are no longer willing to step out on their own.

Frankly, I don’t buy it.

From one perspective, the CEO is correct. The modern technology stack is infinitely more complex than at any time in our history. And that complexity has unquestionably led to increased security concerns and data integration demands among many other things that IT organizations must now handle.

Despite the need to deal with all of these issues, however, I don’t believe that business units have lost their appetite for taking control of their own IT destiny.

In fact, the reason I believe that we are no longer discussing shadow IT is not because there is an insignificant amount of IT-type activity occurring outside of the IT function. It’s just that the most progressive IT leaders have accepted them as legitimate IT functions and have welcomed them in from the shadows.

Out of the Shadows

I discussed this phenomenon in my first book, The Quantum Age of IT, over five years ago — before we were really talking about shadow IT.

At the time, I called it ‘the competition for IT’ and discussed how nervous business executives were coming to the dual realization that technology was now core to their survival and that the IT organization was incapable of moving fast enough or being agile enough to give them what they needed. So they were taking matters into their own hands.

IT organizations predictably responded by demanding that they stop — driving these business leaders into the proverbial shadows. But even then, progressive CIOs understood that trying to force all things technology to remain under the purview of IT was wrong-headed.

During a talk show series I did in conjunction with Intel several years ago, I had the opportunity to interview Patty Hatter, McAfee’s then CIO and COO, about this subject. She explained that when she took over the role of CIO, her team wanted her to crack down on the shadow IT running rampant in the organization.

Rather than attempting to force the shadow IT door closed, however, she explained to her team that trying to forcibly eliminate shadow IT was the wrong approach. Instead, she told them that they needed to build trust and demonstrate IT’s value — and then let everyone focus on where they could provide the most significant value to the organization.

Most progressive and future-minded IT leaders have come to the same realization. As technology has continued to evolve and become more intuitive, and as business leaders have become more technology savvy, organizations have been changing how they look at the entire lifecycle of technology acquisition, deployment, and management — and who is responsible for which parts of it.

Most importantly, IT and business leaders alike are recognizing that competitive advantage is going to those organizations who can most successfully enable the spread of IT far and deep into the enterprise to support and enhance the customer experience. And in that vision, there’s no concept of shadow IT.

A Customer-Centric View of IT

An organization’s ability to transform the digital experience is now the driving force behind competitive differentiation in the marketplace. As enterprise leaders have come to this realization, they have likewise recognized that they must deploy and leverage technology within every facet of the customer journey to create advantage.

Moreover, a new generation of intuitive, business-friendly tools is making it easier to move more of the technology footprint squarely into the hands of non-IT business units.

The evolution of technologies such as so-called no-code and low-code platforms, analytics tools designed for business consumption, and even cognitive engines that don’t require data scientists are all blurring the line that distinguishes when and where business units need IT.

At the same time, however, there is a growing recognition that delivering a differentiating experience throughout a customer’s journey is bigger than any one business unit or functional responsibility. In most organizations, in fact, IT is one of the few teams that participates in the entire end-to-end customer lifecycle.

Moreover, the customer experience spans the entire lifecycle of a customer’s engagement with an organization — and thus cuts across virtually every customer-facing and back-office functional unit. As such, it is essential that the modern enterprise eliminate the disconnects, communication failures, and baton-drops that have been endemic to the large enterprise from the beginning.

Today, customers will just not stand for an enterprise organization that cannot deliver a consistent and enjoyable experience throughout their engagement lifecycle — and certainly won’t accept the dated ‘it’s not our department’ excuses.

To meet these new expectations, therefore, the enterprise must leverage technology at every step of the customer journey, but must do it in a coordinated, cohesive fashion. As a result, they must maintain engagement-level awareness as customers engage with different parts of the organization.

In the end, IT leaders are finding that while they may no longer control everything technology-related within the enterprise, they have an even more critical role to play: protector of the customer experience.

The Intellyx Take

The customer experience depends upon many capabilities working together in concert. A customer’s data must flow seamlessly and fluidly among the systems with which they interact — and which employees are using to guide interactions. The enterprise must also maintain security and privacy throughout the process, but also not allow these concerns to get in the way of the experience itself.

IT is the only organization within the enterprise that can deliver on this promise. But IT cannot do so by attempting to control the totality of the technology stack. Instead, it must do just the opposite.

The modern IT organization must recognize that the right place to instantiate, deploy and manage technology is as close to the point of customer engagement as possible.

But it will be IT’s job to make sure that all of those pieces remain connected, agile, and dynamic so that the organization can deliver a winning customer experience now and then continuously adapt it over time as customer expectations shift.

Copyright © Intellyx LLC. Intellyx publishes the Agile Digital Transformation Roadmap poster, advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives, and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. As of the time of writing, none of the organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers. Image credit: Georgie Pauwels.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is a leading IT industry analyst, Forbes contributor, keynote speaker, and globally recognized expert on multiple disruptive trends in enterprise technology and digital transformation. He is ranked #5 on Onalytica’s list of top Digital Transformation influencers for 2018 and #15 on Jax’s list of top DevOps influencers for 2017, the only person to appear on both lists.

As founder and president of Agile Digital Transformation analyst firm Intellyx, he advises, writes, and speaks on a diverse set of topics, including digital transformation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, devops, big data/analytics, cybersecurity, blockchain/bitcoin/cryptocurrency, no-code/low-code platforms and tools, organizational transformation, internet of things, enterprise architecture, SD-WAN/SDX, mainframes, hybrid IT, and legacy transformation, among other topics.

Mr. Bloomberg’s articles in Forbes are often viewed by more than 100,000 readers. During his career, he has published over 1,200 articles (over 200 for Forbes alone), spoken at over 400 conferences and webinars, and he has been quoted in the press and blogosphere over 2,000 times.

Mr. Bloomberg is the author or coauthor of four books: The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013), Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (Wiley, 2006), XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996). His next book, Agile Digital Transformation, is due within the next year.

At SOA-focused industry analyst firm ZapThink from 2001 to 2013, Mr. Bloomberg created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011.

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting), and several software and web development positions.

Latest Stories
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, is an accomplished digital business executive with extensive global expertise as a strategist, technologist, innovator, marketer, and communicator. For over 30 years across five continents, he has built success with Fortune 500 corporations, vendors, governments, and as a leading research analyst and consultant.
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Announcing Poland #DigitalTransformation Pavilion
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
For far too long technology teams have lived in siloes. Not only physical siloes, but cultural siloes pushed by competing objectives. This includes informational siloes where business users require one set of data and tech teams require different data. DevOps intends to bridge these gaps to make tech driven operations more aligned and efficient.
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors!