IT Departments are the ones that tell a CEO what they can and cannot do. And so from the iron fist of IT we have seen the rise of "Shadow IT". I can almost hear the IT crowd shudder at the mere mention of the term.
For those not in the know, Shadow IT is where IT solutions are built and used within a line of business without approval from IT and the organisation.
While the term is a little ominous, it is easy to see how it happens. Lines of business are closest to the needs of employees (HR), customers (sales and marketing), and processes (operations).
They know what they need to make a real difference, and when 'computer says no'. They go rogue and make it happen themselves. Shadow IT is an increasingly real problem, particularly in the mobility space.
This makes sense, as so many of us have an interest in applications and mobile devices. We use them as consumers. We know what they are capable of. We want to use them in our business and for our business.
This can cause enormous problems for the business, as it creates multiple, unsupported, unsecured, un-managed applications operating in the business and in the hands of employees.
Take for example E-Signature and Digital Transaction Management solutions (DTM) - a fancy way of describing a service that digitally manages document based transactions.
DTM can improve any number of processes - from replacing paper customer consent and contracts for sales. It can also help streamline employee on-boarding, to making ordering and procurement more efficient, with the benefits appealing to many.
When DTM is implemented solely by IT:
- A business process is effectively and securely digitised. But why just stop at DIGITISING a business process when you can TRANSFORM it!?
- Without really understanding the business process in the context of the end user, their needs, requirements, culture for technology adoption, it is very difficult to make a transformational shift to the way they work.
When DTM is implemented solely through LOB:
- A few trial licenses are typically trialled by a LOB in isolation to test the functionality, and then it dies a slow death.
- Without support from IT, it is very difficult to roll out a fully operational solution that is integrated into existing platforms.
You need to have a match maker that can bring IT and LOB stakeholders to work together. Someone with the technical nous to make sure all elements integrate, operate and function (basically to make sure they just work) from an IT perspective.
They also need to have professional service capabilities to work with the business to identify the best use case, build the business case, articulate the ROI, build an implementation plan, understand and define what success looks like.
We encountered similar challenges ourselves when we implemented DocuSign, a global leader in DTM and E-Signature. IT had the challenge of where to start in a behemoth like Telstra, with its many business units and departments, each with their own requirements and priorities.
It takes a consulting lead approach to really understand the processes, where they are broken, how they can be improved and what is required to transform them. When this is done, the results speak for themselves!
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