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2014 outlook: Innovation agenda makes shadow IT OK

Ann Bednarz | Jan. 3, 2014
A rise in operational spending bodes well for hiring, which remains a bright spot in the tech industry. The biggest drivers of IT spending growth are cloud computing, mobility, big data and social networking technologies.

So-called "shadow IT," whereby users circumvent the IT department and procure apps and devices on their own, is rampant -- but not just among non-IT employees. In a new report from consultancy Frost & Sullivan and McAfee, 80% of respondents (which include an equal number of IT pros and line-of-business employees) admitted they used SaaS applications in their jobs without official approval.

"Stop trying to control it," Hopkins says. "Shadow IT is your friend if you know how to use it. It's an indicator of that demand that you're not meeting, or you can't meet and may never be able to meet."

AEP's Walsh has a similar view. "IT has lost its grip on technology, so we either embrace the new reality or we'll fail," he says. "IT has to position itself to help the users make smart decisions when they purchase products and services."

For the utility, that means operating closer to the front of the adoption curve than it has in the past -- it's adopted virtual desktops and is streaming applications to devices to give its end users what they need, for instance.

"Yes, the trend could easily undermine IT's perceived place in the company, but only if IT doesn't adjust and embrace the changes," Walsh says. "IT has been innovators since day one; this is just part of it."


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