Real Story: When the Shadow System Goes Dark

Welcome to RSG's latest case study around technology selection.

We once worked with a consumer product goods enterprise whose IT department was slow to embrace workplace applications hosted in the cloud. When some employees wanted to collaborate a bit more openly than just traditional team workspaces, a group of went around their IT department and signed up for a SaaS-based social-networking service.  The service became wildly popular and spread quickly throughout the enterprise.

Ultimately, the IT department conducted a vetting exercise. When a security flaw and data residency issue were discovered, the enterprise had no choice but to shut off access completely. Thousands of employees were left upset and frustrated.

Important Lesson Learned

Lesson #1: Even if you have recourse to tools that solve near-term business needs, make sure that you involve your IT and security stakeholders in their selection. IT rules and procedures may be inconvenient but are often in place for very good reasons.

Lesson #2: Rather than blaming employees for "shadow IT," enterprises need to ask themselves why this happens.  Employees are trying to work faster, smarter, more effectively. If they're bypassing enterprise-sanctioned systems it's for a reason; find that reason and fix it.

Next Steps

If you're selecting marketing/engagement technology, be sure to check out RSG's hard-hitting vendor evaluation research.


Our customers say...

"Finally, a review of MarTech suites that takes a critical look at these tools. I found it essential to understanding the promise of these solutions -- as well as some important tool and vendor weaknesses."


Alexander Deligtisch, Founder, Spliteye Multimedia

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