Shadow IT Systems: Discerning the Good and the Evil

Daniel Fürstenau, Hannes Rothe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Shadow IT is becoming increasingly important as digital work practices make it easier than ever for business units crafting their own IT solutions. Prior research on shadow IT systems has often used fixed accounts of good or evil: They have been celebrated as powerful drivers of innovation or demonized as lacking central governance. We introduce a method to IT managers and architects enabling a more nuanced understanding of shadow IT systems with respect to their architectural embeddedness. Drawing on centrality measures from network analysis, the method portrays shadow IT systems as most critical if they hold a central position in a network of applications and information flows. We use enterprise architecture data from a recycling company to demonstrate and evaluate the method in a real project context. In the example, several critical and yet disregarded shadow IT systems have been identified and measures were taken to govern them decently.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationECIS 2014 Proceedings
EditorsMichel Avital, Jan Marco Leimeister, Ulrike Schultze
Number of pages14
Place of PublicationAtlanta, GA
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems. AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
Publication date2014
Article number9
ISBN (Print)9780991556700
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event22nd European Conference on Information Systems, ECIS 2014: Digital Work, Digital Life - David Intercontinental Hotel, Tel Aviv, Israel
Duration: 9 Jun 201411 Jun 2014
Conference number: 22


Conference22nd European Conference on Information Systems, ECIS 2014
LocationDavid Intercontinental Hotel
CityTel Aviv
Internet address
SeriesProceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems


  • Centrality measures
  • Design science research
  • IS architectures
  • Network analysis
  • Shadow IT systems

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