Everything-as-a-Service: from Shadow to Bright IT

ServiceNow’s Knowledge15 annual conference in Las Vegas last week was once again very inspiring and invigorating.

While attending the great keynotes from Frank Slootman, Fred Luddy, Dave Wright and Dan McGee about how to manage, enable and operate everything as a service, I remembered one recent reply from Rodrigo Flores reacting to a tweet referring to Shadow IT:

Twitter, no shadow IT


While many articles are being published with the “5 best tips to fight Shadow IT”, I realize most of them  are looking at this phenomenon from an IT eye, not from the business perspective. What IT identifies as shady initiatives impacting the IT mission, business has probably a very different reading of it, rather seeing those renegade cloud products being deployed without the IT department as survival initiatives.

The Darth-Vader-IT

The word alone Shadow IT gives the impression of a Darth Vader squadron hidden in the confines of the business, ready to strike and rebuild the Empire. Shadow IT confuses and hides the real underlying problem: in this new digital era, companies cannot afford to wait months for IT. The new digital economy, driven by a company’s ability to improve customer experience through digital disrupters such as mobile devices, social media, and the cloud are fundamentally rewriting the competitive landscape forever.

A survey, conducted by the Harvard Business School in September 2014, showed significant interest from the business in IT’s ability to deliver fast responses to all users. Yet this survey also highlights that many IT organizations are not currently structured to support increasingly shorter solution delivery cycles.

The new era of Bright IT

What about, instead of putting resources and budget in monitoring, controlling and fighting Shadow IT, we take all this energy to enable Bright IT? The business is not the enemy, the real enemies are email, spreadsheets and lack of automation.

ServiceNow’s new promise of changing the way people work by enabling everything as a service and establishing a true system of engagement with a service-orientation toward the activities, tasks and processes in the enterprise will make up our day-to-day work life, boosting productivity and addressing the business needs in a timely and efficient manner.

If we think about it, ServiceNow’s portfolio includes already quite a lot of out-of-the-box processes that can help the business (not mentioning any ITSM processes on purpose, list would be too long):

  • HR-as-a-Service
  • Facility-as-a-Service
  • Legal-as-a-Service
  • GRC-as-a-Service
  • Finance-as-a-Service
  • Marketing-as-a-Service
  • Project-as-a-Service
  • Vendor-as-a-Service
  • Demand-as-a-Service
  • and so on..

But that’s not all. With ServiceNow platform’s capabilities and the CreateNow Developer program, developers are provided with free content, technical resources and tools, and even a free development instance! Last but not least, the new ServiceNow Store will also contribute to the adoption and acceleration to Bright IT! The possibilities are limitless, and Sky-as-a-Service is no longer an utopy.

Shadow IT is dead, long live Bright IT!

Michel is one of the co-founders of Aspediens (acquired by Fruition Partners in 2016) and now CEO, Europe at Fruition Partners. As a serial entrepreneur with strong experience in innovation, product management and solution delivery, he spots trends and writes about the future of Service Management.
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