A Sane Solution to Shadow IT

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It’s easy to understand why shadow IT became a problem. Historically, monolithic IT architectures created environments caused IT to be often unable to react to the rapidly changing business problems. With the advent of SaaS applications served in the cloud, increasingly tech-savvy lines of business can simply purchase the software they need, when they need it, instead of waiting for IT.

Case in point: the average enterprise IT team only supports 12 SaaS applications, but has over 600 apps that are being used by various teams around the company. This problem has been widely discussed, but there are few lasting solutions to shadow IT.

Despite the fact that shadow IT creates problems for data protection and governance in the enterprise, it’s time to accept that every team will (and should!) continue to buy software on their own. SaaS solutions are a highly agile, low resource way for companies to have software that meets their needs. With a few exceptions, a company that is solely focused on building a best-in-class solution for a specific problem is going to create a better product than the IT team of a company, whose main focus is something else entirely.

For this reason, unapproved applications will only increase in number. IT teams need to get on board or lose relevancy as business teams bring on their own shadow IT.

But data integration and security across these applications are very real problems with which only IT is well-equipped to address. The myriad of best-in-class point solutions need to have real-time access to accurate data as well as be secure and reliable.

So how can we have it all? How do we ensure data accuracy and security while still allowing any team to continue to buy the best SaaS solutions to their problems?

A Sane Solution

Current policies cause users to perceive IT as monolithic, unchanging, and dogmatic. And despite the status quo of the last decade, it is not IT’s responsibility to constantly hound the company on compliance and security protocol.

The sane solution to managing new SaaS is adopting a give-and-take approach, and making SaaS work for and not against IT. Lines of business will continue to buy new best-in-class software for their needs and IT should, in fact, embrace this transition to the cloud as it will make the entire enterprise more agile and meet customer needs faster.

In order to remain relevant as drivers of innovation, IT must seek solutions that provide value to end users, govern the security and reliability of the software being used, and create data bridges across these applications without being perceived as a bottleneck. And IT must provide this value at an increasingly fast pace.

So if every other team is buying their own software, where can IT provide value at a pace comparable to the swipe of a credit card? The answer lies in having a modern integration platform as a service (iPaaS) that connects it all.

The Solution is to Provide Value

After purchase, everyone wants their software to be more connected to other SaaS, databases, and internal microservices. IT is the natural hub where these systems can be connected together so that business teams can do their jobs better. By providing integration, IT becomes a partner to business innovation by creating cohesive customer experiences across applications and even building new apps for customers.

How will integration shed light on shadow IT and provide value at the pace that business needs? IT does this by connecting SaaS investments with systems of value like legacy databases, internal microservices, and to other SaaS. By doing so, IT gains visibility into undocumented apps and sheds light on dark data paths.

IT can utilize the integration platform as a service (iPaaS) to rapidly build connections that business users want and track their data flow. At a minimum, the right platform is built with IT security and reliability in mind, is easily usable by engineers to build new applications, and can quickly connect any microservice.

The strongest iPaaS options come pre-connected to SaaS and are intuitive enough so that any user can become a citizen integrator. This way, business teams can help themselves to the functionality they need without IT being a bottleneck. At the same time, IT can build new integrations at speeds like never before, and data passing through the platform becomes visible, secure, and reliable.

Making Good On Your Solution

A good deal requires give and take on both sides. Buying SaaS comes with problems, but they are excellent solutions that provide agility and savings on infrastructure. Build good faith by adopting an integration platform that gives end users the ability to integrate their purchased SaaS themselves.

In addition to the main goal of data governance, the benefits to this iPaaS approach are easing the load on IT resources from an integration perspective, eliminating third-party integration consultants touching your infrastructure (or becoming a burden on your budget), and empowering end users to become citizen integrators.

Let’s make SaaS work for and not against IT. The reality is we live with ever-changing technology and competitive needs. The best IT departments will innovate to create value, and the rest will get left behind. An integration platform can help.

nikhil-hasijaContributed by: Nikhil Hasija, co-founder and CEO of Azuqua, an integration platform connecting the applications, data, and processes that drive revenue for enterprises. Nikhil is a hacker at heart who is always looking for ways to innovate on the technology that is given to him. From customizing inventory management technology at Marriott to customizing Raspberry Pi; from building products at Microsoft to building process efficiencies for the US military, Nikhil never accepts software for what it is but what it can be.


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