Q: Should technology decision makers (TDMs) evolve from fighting “shadow IT” to accepting—even embracing—the fact that LOB and users make purchase decisions on their own?

A: Yes, but … Look, the business/department heads understand their business and their jobs well. They understand the drivers of success, as well as the areas which are holding them back from achieving that success. The IT team has many masters and each department (business unit) is competing for these finite resources.

To feel that the LOB should wait for IT to find them a solution to a critical need seems selfish on our end — and in the age of consumer-facing technology, a very slow approach. I would encourage the business to find, vet, cost out, and recommend solutions. Give them some general guidance on the items we will not bend on (security, data integration, etc.) and set them lose with the understanding that any recommended solution requires a final signoff from IT, but not our day-to-day involvement in the analysis nor implementation of that solution.

A recent example of areas where our business ran with the analysis and implementation of a software solutions was with the implementation of an Investor Reporting Portal. Our job from an IT stand-point was to stay in the loop but stay out of the way.

Q:  How are you balancing employee demands for fast and seamless access to apps against rising security threats?

I’m interpreting apps from a mobile stand-point. Plain and simple, if the app accesses or stores Waterton data in any way, it must be used/accessed from our MDM (Mobile Device Management) sandbox. As a Registered Investment Advisor, we take security very seriously. Mobile devices have been fantastic from a user interface and collaboration stand-point. We have no issues with employees downloading apps, but we do have issues with exposing our data insecurely.