Decentralised 'shadow IT' giving CIOs room to evolve security, creativity: BT

So-called 'shadow IT' – technology solutions, often cloud-based, that are purchased by individual departments without oversight from central IT organisations – has proved to have a silver lining, with CIOs finding that departments' increasing IT autonomy is giving CIOs more time to focus on creative IT strategies and solutions, a new survey has found.

The ability to step away from hands-on technology management has seen Australian CIOs spending 18 percent more time, and more budget, on security related issues, BT's Art of Connecting: Creativity and the Modern CIO survey found.

Shadow IT solutions now account for 20 percent of Australian organisations' IT spend, compared with 25 percent globally. And, despite the common notion that such proliferation requires a technology-led security crackdown, the 955 surveyed CIOs found that the shift had given CIOs more presence in the corporate boardroom – and changed the nature of their job responsibilities.

Some 51 percent of Australian CIOs reported that they now have a much more central role in the boardroom compared with two years ago. Their key performance indicators (KPIs) had changed as a result, with 84 percent of Australian respondents saying they are now judged more on business outcomes than technology outcomes.

“CIOs are perfectly placed to nurture creative uses of technology throughout their organisations while keeping a strategic view,” said Luis Alvarez, chief executive officer, BT Global Services, in a statement. “Indeed, our research shows that the board expects nothing less.”

The Australian figures varied from global results, with 56 percent of Australian respondents saying the board recognises the need for a “much more creative CIO”; globally, this proportion was 64 percent.

Yet CIOs in Australia were more ready to think differently in their jobs, with 75 percent saying innovation and creativity was the best part of their job but 69 percent agreeing with this statement globally.

Mobility (56 percent), cloud (63 percent), and unified communications (65 percent) were named as the three technologies most likely to help channel their creativity into evolving the role of CIO and the application of technology within the business.

All require security issues to be addressed, and all will benefit from the additional time that CIOs report they have as a result of the redistribution of IT responsibilities thanks in part to shadow IT initiatives.

“I’ve been a CIO and to me it feels as if we’re on the verge of a renaissance of the profession with greater opportunities than ever before,” Alvarez said. “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.”

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

Read more: Cloud-enabled ‘shadow IT’ driving imperative for IAM reinvention: Ovum

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