The “easy in” of cloud-based computing and especially SaaS-based applications has numerous advantages, but also has many pitfalls too. On the plus side, getting up and running can be quick and painless compared to an on-premises application implementation. At the same time, the pay-as-you-go approach means that finding a capex budget to pay for the application can also be avoided.
Unfortunately, it is these “plusses” that can cause a major issue. The ease of getting started means that SaaS is an enabler for what has come to be known as “shadow IT”. This is when unsanctioned, unauthorised, sometimes unbudgeted IT applications get adopted into the workplace via people that often have no responsibility for implementing technology within their companies. In other words, this so called shadow IT is generally any application or transmission of data, relied upon for business processes, that is not under the jurisdiction of a centralised IT or IS department.
So what’s the problem with this? If people are getting the cloud-based apps they want and able to do so without the help of the IT department, doesn’t that help everyone? In short, the answer to that is a resounding no.
With no thorough pretesting carried out, it can often prove that the SaaS-based app does not meet all requirements that may be needed in the long term. Budget can become a problem. What started out as free can become very dependent if the line of business comes to rely on the SaaS app and has to scale it beyond where they first thought. Duplication is also a problem. When implemented in silos, companies can find different departments using different apps to achieve the same aims. The list of potential problems with shadow IT is long, but hopefully you can see the issue.
Given the pitfalls, why do people bypass company rules and their own IT colleagues to subscribe to cloud-based services? Typically, this happens because cloud-based and SaaS-based offerings offer quick ways to get new modern-day functionality that lines of business need to transform. Whether it’s customer portals, marketing or sales analytics, market intelligence or online databases, cloud versions seem cheap, easy to implement and offer business functionality that non-IT departments are desperate to get their hands on.
If these same people have experienced “old school” IT departments with fixed legacy IT, then they have become accustomed to hearing things like, “My people are too busy to get to that right now”, “I will consider it and put it in next year’s budget requests”, or “We will have to wait until we upgrade my systems before we can cope with that request.”
In short, shadow IT develops because when line of business needs new types of applications, their internal IT takes too long to deliver and at too high a price, so they turn to the “easy in” option of cloud-based services.
By investing in modern software architecture, IT can take back control. In many use cases, modern servers are proving to enable internal IT to deliver cloud-like services to their users at lower TCO than public cloud or SaaS offerings. Modern server management is automated and simple, meaning that IT can focus their efforts on building, testing and implementing new applications at speed, rather than having to focus on operational tasks.
By using modern server technology, like that offered by the current wave of Fujitsu Intel Servers, IT departments can build a foundation for IT transformation that facilitates digital transformation. If the sales, marketing and operations people are getting that kind of support from internal IT, they will be unlikely to look into the shadows for outside assistance in the future.
For more information on their servers, click here http://www.fujitsu.com/global/themes/infrastructure/