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I have seen some Excel files from end users which grows into a whole application. The users wanted more functionalty and didn't get through all the management levels to reach someone from corporate IT and just start doing it by themselve with the tools they know and develop from Excel to Macros to VBA to VBA with SQL Database (because they have a standard process in the company to request a new SQL Database and the data was to big to be just in the Excel file directly). And then the company have this whole mess of "application" which is already business cricitcal because a lot of other users just use it as the fastet way to get their job done and the person who develop it is the only one which someone knows to handle it and maintain the application.

At some point in time the original person isn't available anymore and whole setup will have troubles because of upgrades of the basis (e.g. Excel) or just performance problems. They are even consulting companies specialize in optimizing or migrate to new Excel version for such kind of applications.

The corporate IT have to pick up the users early to help them to solve their current problem or help them to be more efficient with IT. If nobody helps they will develop their own solution which the knowledge/tools the have.

Agreed, 'shadow IT' is very real in the Enterprise. And I don't think it's the user's that are to blame - corporate IT departments just make everything so bureaucratic, expensive and difficult. Meeting after meeting, and all the time your department's budget is getting hammered for the hours, long before any development even starts.

I worked for a few years in enterprise app development at a Fortune 500, and our bread and butter (probably 75% of new code written) was making replacements for people's homegrown "apps" build on top of Excel or Access that had grown so large that they needed a real SQL back end.

I say this not to disparage those apps (though they were often horrifying to us as devs) but to point out that huge portions of your average large business probably run on stuff like that.

My wife use to work at a credit card company. Someone in their group had taken the Microsoft Access 'Northwinds' sample database, changed the labels, and reworked the processes to more or less fit the SQL/tables that existed. No understanding, beyond behavior, of what was underneath at all. There was much 'you got to be kidding' when the corporate mandated all database applications would be migrated to Oracle.

If it reaches that point it becomes an enterprise project with a budget and resources/time. If you try to kill every excel sheet in the wild you take on those projects without the resources to support them.

Any earlier commenter said Enterprise values process over outcome. It is true at the macro level but at the micro level bosses need to make decisions or your new work will receive no credit from above and will be used against you when it fails.

I think you misunderstood something here, corporate IT's main purpose is to prevent people from working efficiently.


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