Growing shadow IT practice offers opportunities for Singapore CIOs

Businesses in Singapore are spending 22 percent of their IT budget and 17 percent more time on security as a result of shadow IT, reveals survey, which notes this enables CIOs to add value.

Organizations in Singapore are setting aside 22 percent of their IT budget as well as other resources to address the increasing presence of shadow IT in their environment.

The figure isn't far from the global average 25 percent, according to a study released Tuesday by BT, which polled 955 senior IT decision-makers in eight markets including the Australia, Brazil, the U.S., and Germany. Some 82 percent of CIOs in Singapore said shadow IT was present in their organization, somewhat higher than the global average of 76 percent.

Conducted by market researcher Vanson Bourne in November 2014, the survey described shadow IT as the "practice of departments such as finance or marketing buying their own IT solutions". Its increasing use has presented opportunities for CIOs to add value--rather than worry about loss of control--as well as evolve their role in their organization.

"The growing confidence of departments in buying their own IT solutions is shifting the CIO's focus away from hands-on support to a more strategic role centred on advice, governance, and security," BT said.

The survey revealed that Singapore CIOs were spending 17 percent more time and budget on security as a result of shadow IT, compared to the global average of 20 percent.

BT Global Services CEO Luis Alvarez said in the report: "CIOs are perfectly placed to nurture creative uses of technology throughout their organisations while keeping a strategic view. Our research shows that the board expects nothing less."

The study indicated that 74 percent of Singapore respondents felt the CIO had a more central role in the boardroom compared with two years ago, significantly higher than the global average of 59 percent. Correspondingly, 84 percent noted their board's expectations of IT heads had increased over the same period, compared to 68 percent globally.

In fact, 88 percent of Singapore respondents said their key performance indicators (KPIs) now contained more business than technology-related metrics. The global average was 81 percent.

Some 78 percent in the island also believed the management team now recognized the importance of a more creative CIO able to operate across the organization and deliver strategic business outcomes. In addition, 72 percent said innovation and creativity were the most positive strengths in their role as IT heads, compared to the global average of 69 percent.

Some 76 percent, 84 percent, and 71 percent of Singapore CIOs pointed to mobility, cloud, and unified communications, respectively, as catalysts for their creativity, the BT study further revealed.

De Beers CIO Craig Charlton said in the report: "Without creativity, you will end up with a role focused on transactional services and traditional IT, rather than looking to the future.

"It feels as if we're on the verge of a renaissance of the profession with greater opportunities than ever before. In this new environment, CIOs who can adopt a creative, imaginative and visionary mind-set, and look more to their IT partners for innovation and fresh thinking, will thrive."