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Posted by Christine Ferrusi Ross on December 24, 2013
Often I hear from clients or read in industry publications (including those by my Forrester colleagues) that the business is spending more on technology. They almost always refer to this spend as “rogue” or “shadow.” But this phrasing shows a perspective from sourcing and other IT professionals that is parochial and, worse, dangerous to their ability to collaborate with those business stakeholders.
Why? Because saying that the business’ IT spend is shadow spend implies that they are taking something from the IT group. However, the reality of the situation is that business buyers like CMOs are buying what they always bought – advertising, marketing tools, database list management, for example. The difference now is that all of those things are now technology-dependent. Any CMO or other executive buying these offerings has a very logical question when asked about bringing in IT – “what makes IT think they know more about this stuff than I do?"
Still not sure if the business is actually engaging in “shadow IT spend?” Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Rather than complaining that the business is spending money that you think belongs in your control, ask: "How well can I demonstrate that I can support those business users, marrying my expertise with theirs?" If you can swallow your pride enough to forget the idea that business users are coming into your sandbox, and instead understand that they’re likely concerned that you’re trying to get into their sandboxes, you can appropriately adjust the way you approach those users and move forward to a better collaboration. Some steps to do this include:
I’m kicking off research in 2014 to discuss how SVM professionals can help make technology a “direct spend” category, and make themselves more important to the business overall. If you have any ideas of examples of how you’ve convinced the business to work with you on sourcing technology-dependent business solutions, I’d love to hear them.
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