Seven Ways ERM Helps Reduce Shadow IT

Shadow IT—that is, non-IT workers building or buying business technology without the knowledge or approval of an organization’s IT function—can be costly. Circumventing IT in the procurement of workplace tech often results in redundant and wasteful spending, as well as introducing data security and compliance risks.

According to recent research, more than 80% of enterprise line-of-business workers “admit to using SaaS apps at work without IT’s approval.” Various sources say that shadow IT purchasing accounts for 20% to 35% of total enterprise technology budgets. Globally, companies on average now spend 20% “more time and budget on security as a result of shadow IT.”

How ERM helps with shadow ITBut shadow IT is often practiced (and permitted) for valid reasons. Business users need to be as productive as possible, and often turn to shadow IT because IT approval processes are perceived as too slow or because non-approved applications are seen better than the alternatives offered by IT.

An enterprise request management (ERM) strategy helps organizations address shadow IT both directly (by providing a common platform for service management across business functions and departments) and indirectly (by giving employees an easy-to-use platform for finding and requesting business apps, and automating back-end approval processes).

Here are seven ways the ERM approach directly addresses shadow IT within the realm of enabling employees to request any services, products or resources needed  to perform their jobs.

  • It gives IT one request management toolset (portal and back-end workflow automation software) to manage and support. ERM implementations often start with an IT service catalog, with the underlying technology later extended to other groups (HR, facilities/maintenance, finance,  etc.).
  • It improves security. ERM technology is designed to work with in-place identity management systems,  so it reinforces existing access security rather than supplanting (or worse, circumventing) it. This ensures that users only see options and features specific to their roles (for example, only managers can approve expenses or pay-rate changes).
  • Graphical workflow mapping tools make it easy for nontechnical managers and business process owners to build, test, optimize, and deploy their own service items and automated processes—with minimal technical assistance. There’s no need to wait for IT to do it for them.
  • The ERM approach leverages the enterprise and departmental software systems already in place. There’s no need for functions like HR, facilities, or finance to go through an expensive and disruptive “rip-and-replace” system implementation. ERM portal and workflow applications are designed to connect to and work with familiar existing software. It simplifies building systems of engagement atop in-place systems of record, using secure, IT-approved tools and methods.
  • Because ERM tools enable request-driven applications to be built on top of existing systems, it minimizes investments in new software (IT-approved or otherwise). And because it can be used to build solutions by nontechnical users across departments, it largely eliminates spending on redundant portal and workflow orchestration tools by different functional groups.
  • It’s easier for employees to use because it gives them one centralized portal to request any products, services or resources they need to do their jobs. Process owners will want their services to be part of the central portal in order to maximize employee self-service and minimize inefficient request-related calls and emails to their groups.
  • It eliminates “orphaned” systems. When request items across departments are created using a common framework and toolset, they leverage enterprise-wide knowledge. That makes it easy for a new process owner or manager to pick up the maintenance of an item or collection of services when the original developer moves on to a new role or company.

ERM is the best approach for managing service and resource requests across the enterprise. It speeds service delivery, increases routing and fulfillment accuracy, and lowers related costs. And as detailed above, it also reduces the data security risks and rogue spending associated with shadow IT.

But it’s also ideal from the standpoint of IT (giving them one request-related toolset to maintain, support and manage), business process owners (leveraging their familiar in-place systems) and employees. Giving workers one centralized portal for requesting virtually anything they need to do their jobs simplifies their work lives, increases productivity, and even helps with employee recruiting and retention.

To learn more about the tools required, download the white paper Enterprise Request Management: The Technology.



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