CIOs, IT Asset Managers Should Work Together on Shadow IT

IT asset managers should help CIOs adapt to the need for shorter, more flexible contracts to deliver short-term digital initiatives.

IT management and shadow IT

Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and IT asset managers can work together to ensure that shadow IT, systems and solutions sourced outside the direct control of the IT organization, are a benefit and not a threat to digital businesses, according to a report from IT research firm Gartner.

Gartner analysts developed a three-part IT asset management engagement plan for digital business, which suggests CIOs should determine how best to share costs with the business by identifying who should own the IT organization’s assets.

In addition, IT asset managers can help their CIO select digital business initiatives that will attract enough funding to cover their full contract or asset life cycle costs, and encourage lines of business to run pilots and experiment with digital innovation, ready for the CIO to scale and industrialize them when they prove suitable for longer-term adoption.

"Without a new approach, CIOs and their management teams can struggle to pay off life cycle technology debts left by failed or superseded digital technology initiatives," Stewart Buchanan, research director at Gartner, said in a statement. "IT asset managers must help CIOs select the most sustainable digital business initiatives, which will attract enough funding to cover their full contract or asset life cycle costs."

CIOs should also aim to become digital risk mitigators, leading a team that everyone in the business wants to consult for help and advice on digital business initiatives.

However, the report warns a successful digital technology initiative can prove even more dangerous than a failed one, as software licensing costs to process and store data from the Internet of things (IoT) could grow exponentially.

Gartner defines IoT as the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and interact with their internal states or the external environment.

IT asset managers should also help CIOs adapt to the need for shorter, more flexible contracts, where available, to deliver short-term digital initiatives, as well as to time the migration to lower-cost commitments for those that prove successful and can be made viable in the long term.

Through direct engagement with suppliers, the business sponsors behind each digital technology initiative can be assured of covering their costs, and as a result, CIOs can control and manage these services without ever taking ownership of their contracts or assets.

"Digital business implies an evolving financial relationship between an organization and its end users, one that involves a new IT business model that will be fraught with risk until new governance processes mature to guarantee adequate life cycle funding," Buchanan said. "IT organizations cannot afford to be exposed to additional digital business costs that cannot be covered by traditional IT budgets, which are already under pressure."