A few months ago I run a lean inception to bring a software solution from the shadow to the authorized IT department ecosystem. Only then I realized the power and importance of shadow IT for large organizations.
At the same time shadow IT can be viewed as an outlier and unreliable solution, it embraces the innovative and can-do attitude of smaller business units. It is not about being good or bad, official or non-official. It is a common fact. If you are on a large organization, take a better look at the shadows. Either bring a flashlight or adjust your eyes to see in the dark. You will then recognize innovative ideas and solutions already near the business.
From the Wikipedia:
“Shadow IT is a term often used to describe IT systems and IT solutions built and used inside organizations without explicit organizational approval. It is also used, along with the term “Stealth IT,” to describe solutions specified and deployed by departments other than the IT department.
Shadow IT is considered by many an important source for innovation and such systems may turn out to be prototypes for future approved IT solutions. On the other hand, shadow IT solutions are not often in line with the organization’s requirements for control, documentation, security, reliability, etc., although these issues can apply equally to authorized IT solutions.” (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_IT )