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Shadow IT: a CIO’s survival guide

March 2014

Philips’ Jeroen Tas on the steps CIOs can take to meet the challenge of business users purchasing their own IT.

For a video with English subtitles, please click on CC above or the appropriate subtitle icon during play.

IT organizations need to accept the inevitability of ‘shadow IT,’ and learn to deal with it. But that doesn’t mean giving a free rein to business users who are set on buying their own IT solutions.

As Philips’ Jeroen Tas highlights in our exclusive video, business-led purchases of IT come with some inherent risks that might not be obvious to those outside IT, and it’s up to the IT team to articulate those.

“If you give business users complete choice you expose the company to investments that will never give you a return, to security threats, to data that cannot be integrated, and to the fact that you don’t have a full picture of what you’re doing,” says Tas, who has led IT at Philips for the past three years and is now taking on new challenges as the company’s first CEO of Healthcare Informatics Solutions and Services.

The solution, he says, comes down to education and collaborative decision-making. “You’ve got to work very explicitly with the rest of the organization to explain why we [need to] make these decisions and commitments together.”

That might involve encouraging business users to do a pilot project rather than go directly for full implementation or looking carefully to ensure the technology choice is not leading down a dead end.

But in that way, IT acts to constrain the organization — but for very good reasons, says Tas. “You need to constantly remind people that building great systems is not trivial. It’s not something you just click and it will work. You have to integrate with your ERP systems, you have to collect data that you can share yet have security that’s sufficient to make sure that nobody compromises your data.”

Alongside that, IT teams should be tracking the technology needs of business users much more closely, he says. “People expect that they get the modern tools to do their work. And as an IT organization you’ve got to be out front and aware of what’s going on, and work with the business when they really want [something],” he says.

“So there are a lot of constraints around these solutions, but the more you discuss those, the better people will understand and the better together you can create tremendous solutions that really help a company move forward,” he concludes.

First published
March 2014
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About: Jeroen Tas
Group CIO at Philips for the past three years, Jeroen Tas took on a new challenge in January as CEO of company’s new Healthcare Informatics business — fulfilling a belief that CIOs are well-suited for wider business roles.

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