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You've seen it by now. Seven guys in a basement or in front of Chick-fil-A dressed in anything from loincloths to giraffe costumes. There's music blaring and people jumping around. Hilarious right? Disclaimer: We came. We saw. We Shook.
Of course, this isn't the first trend to go viral. There are countless examples, none of which I care to recall at the moment because my current revelation is this: the Harlem Shake and Shadow IT are distant dancing cousins. Here are three ways I know they're kin:
No. 1: It's pervasive.
Internet crazes are all the rage, and this one is no exception. Everyone is doing it, has done it or wants to do it, and is recording and sharing it with all of their friends.
Getting in on the fun is easier than ever. All you need is a smartphone and a YouTube account.
As easy as it is to shoot that video, it might be just as easy to discover which departments have jumped past IT and into the world of "covert" SaaS apps. Check office cubicles for SaaS vendor swag - pens, sticky pads or screen wipes. Those are the employees that might be licensing apps for their departments without IT as the gatekeeper any longer.
Anyone with half an IT pedigree knows SaaS apps that aren't wired into current enterprise security are a major risk. You know the saying, "More money = more problems?" More SaaS apps mean more identity siloes, more risk. Single Sign-On thrives in a centralized, secure and IT-controlled environment where enterprise policies are enforced and respected.
No. 2: The people participating are living in the moment.
Having fun is a birthright! So is buying what we need to get the job done.
In an age of quick and vicious competition, there's a battle to go faster to get ahead, and current technology makes it easier to do a Google search than to find an answer through the vetting process of IT.
Departments have equal access to SaaS apps and the budget and freedom to license at will. They aren't thinking long-term; they have "right now" needs for getting and staying ahead. IT will always have a watchful eye, but you cannot manage what you cannot see.
No. 3: This trend might actually stick, so Shake and make peace with it.
The trend that feeds Shadow IT does not look like it is going away. SaaS applications and the cloud are becoming more of a reality. In fact, IDC predicts that between now and 2020, 90% of IT industry growth will come from the 'third platform': big data, cloud services, mobile broadband, and social business. (Source: IDC Top 10 Predictions 2013)
The other reality: line of business executives will be involved in 80% of new IT investments. (Source: IDC Top 10 Predictions 2013). Which means IT may want to start thinking of ways to make life easier for employees and lines of business while also ensuring app adoption and use is secure and simple.
Don't be the department that always says "no." Reinvent yourself; be the department that says "no problem."