Abstract

Research on Shadow IT is facing a conceptual dilemma in cases where previously “covert” systems developed by business entities (individual users, business workgroups, or business units) are integrated in the organizational IT management. These systems become visible, are therefore not “in the shadows” anymore, and subsequently do not fit to existing definitions of Shadow IT. Practice shows that some information systems share characteristics of Shadow IT, but are created openly in alignment with the IT department. This paper therefore proposes the term “Business-managed IT” to describe “overt” information systems developed or managed by business entities. We distinguish Business-managed IT from Shadow IT by illustrating case vignettes. Accordingly, our contribution is to suggest a concept and its delineation against other concepts. In this way, IS researchers interested in IT originated from or maintained by business entities can construct theories with a wider scope of application that are at the same time more specific to practical problems. In addition, value-laden terminology is complemented by a vocabulary that values potentially innovative developments by business entities more adequately. From a practical point of view, the distinction can be used to discuss the distribution of task responsibilities for information systems.

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