Some call it a selfish Band-Aid solution. Some call it the only way to get things done.
But no matter which side of the argument you’re on, the ever-growing phenomenon of shadow IT – the term for unauthorized makeshift IT solutions to problems corporate IT isn’t seen to be solving – continues to serve as a secret weapon, a back-door, and a way to find success for new and mature companies alike.
Whether a company garnering new business through workers fed-up with the software their company makes them use, or those workers, innovating outside standard procedure, here’s a look at six companies benefiting from shadow IT:
Procter and Gamble
The household brand giant has a corporate policy of letting staff use any tool they need to get the job done. A few years ago, P&G started using project-management tool Huddle. Huddle doesn’t even sell directly to company IT departments but rather teams within companies unsatisfied with their existing tools.
The single-service company boasts 100% of the Fortune 100 and more than 95% of the Fortune 500 as customers, but all of them signed up individually. Company officials insist they don’t primarily do group sales or work with purchasing departments or IT. As of recently, the highly-successful company didn’t even have a sales department.
Salesforce got its start selling to sales departments who needed a solution that IT wasn’t having success providing. Essentially, the company has found success showing that loads of Fortune 500 companies will buy into a single piece of software (instead of just an impressive themed suite of programs) if it’s the most useful program for their needs. In the end, though, corporate IT has started to work with shadow IT to implement Salesforce solutions officially for a greater long-term benefit for all.
The micro blogging giant is expanding into general enterprise social networking but started out working primarily with non-IT business units unhappy with their companies’ internal IT solutions. Nowadays, the company is brought in much more often by IT departments to help augment their in-house abilities.
The success of this staff/customer feedback software company has largely been driven by shadow IT via business units unhappy with the larger idea management packages installed by IT or included as part of another system.
Odds are that shadow IT is here to stay as a natural progression towards more efficient IT solutions.
Perhaps the most dramatic example of this is Google, whose tools such as Google Docs and Gmail, are used by thousands of large companies despite being corporately-mandated to use other software.