Demystifying IT Governance

Demystifying IT Governance author Webmaster1 On: 03/18/2009 Views: 7049

Sometimes we walk long distances without really looking at the trail or the trees along the way. Very often our journey, indeed its entire purpose, is profoundly affected by the two. But that issue - or tragedy - is minor compared to the fact that quite often we do not have a destination in mind. We just do it!


Sometimes we walk long distances without really looking at the trail or the trees along the way. Very often our journey, indeed its entire purpose, is profoundly affected by the two. But that issue - or tragedy - is minor compared to the fact that quite often we do not have a destination in mind. We just do it!

One such journey is our pursuit of IT Governance. For we expend a lot of energy on this long walk to, well sometimes, nowhere. Depending on your circumstance, this might be "nowhere" in particular or of meaning or of value. The net of it is that if we want to have meaningful governance, we must understand the objective, imperative and the process. The big picture, if I may.

This article might well be your first step in the long walk towards effective IT Governance. To get meaning out of it, please check your current knowledge about the topic at the door. We are threatening to think outside the box and it doesn't help to carry the box while doing that.

What is IT Governance?

Many a pundit has provided definition of IT Governance. Wikipedia's definition - it is on the internet so it must be true! - is "IT Governance or ICT Governance, is a subset discipline of Corporate Governance focused on information technology (IT) systems and their performance and risk management."

Really?

Besides being completely incorrect - IT Governance has as much to do with IT systems as Corporate Governance has to do with company buildings - there is a fundamental flaw with this definition. I am not sure about you but I like my definitions to have meaning (please refer to http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/definition for a definition of definition!).

The definition of a horse: "An animal with four legs that can run fast" How clear is this?

More importantly, this "meaning" cannot come until there is resulting action. Not just any action but that focused on meaningful results. Otherwise we are engaged in an academic exercise that is interesting but impertinent to our objective of good governance.

What action, if any, can I take based on this definition of IT Governance?

And the drivel on IT Governance - in Wikipedia and elsewhere - continues from that point on into more meaningless alleys and byways missing the great big paved highway that will take us home.

So let us devise our own definition of IT Governance.

IT Governance is a process used to monitor and control key information technology capability decisions - in an attempt - to ensure the delivery of value to key stakeholders in an organization.

Here are the key points in this definition:

  1. IT Governance is a process. It is not a point in time event. It is not a committee. It is not a department.
  2. The objective of IT governance is to ensure the delivery of business results not "IT systems performance" nor "IT risk management" - that would reinforce the notion of IT as an end in itself. To the contrary, IT Governance is about IT decisions that have an impact on business value.
  3. The process therefore monitors and control key IT decisions that might have an impact - positive or negative - on business results.
  4. The concept of governance is meaningless without the recognition of both ownership and responsibility. The key stakeholders in an organization have an "ownership" stake in the organization. The management is responsible to these stakeholders.
    1. We must recognize the ownership stake of not just shareholders but also of the other stakeholders such as customers, vendors, employees etc.
    2. The "management," i.e. the people entrusted with making key decisions, is responsible to these stakeholders.
  5. Therefore, the objective of IT Governance is not just the delivery of risk optimized business value but also to engender the trust of the key stakeholders in the people who they have entrusted their money and/or livelihood!
    1. One can argue that this trust results in more business value. No doubt. But the fact remains that it is a means to that end and must be recognized independently as a motivation for IT Governance.
    2. In a sense, IT Governance acts upon the old adage of "trust but verify!"

Now, let us ask the same question we asked of the Wikipedia definition: what action can we take based on this definition?

  1. Devise a process for IT Governance
  2. The process monitors and controls key decisions
  3. This process measures and tracks business value not IT value or anything else
  4. This process involves key stakeholders in its organization and delivery

Much better!

In the next article we will dive deeper into the background, imperative and other "big picture" issues related to IT Governance.

About the Author:

Sourabh Hajela is a management consultant and trainer with over 20 years of experience creating shareholder value for his Fortune 50 clients. His consulting practice is focused on IT strategy, alignment and ROI. For more information, please visit www.StartSmartS.com. Or feel free to contact Sourabh at Sourabh.Hajela@StartSmartS.com



Related Topics



Related Articles


A Practical Guide to IT Governance

A good discussion on information technology governance - what is it - IT governance defined? why is it important? what to focus on in a sourced environment? what are the items on an audit checklist?

An Overview of IT Governance

What is the connection between IT Governance, IT Strategy, IT Value...? Wonder no more! An excellent presentation on IT Governance that connects the dots...

Auditing IT Governance

This presentation provides a definition and discusses the key objectives, structure, challenges, barriers and auditing of Information Technology Governance.

Developing an Information Technology Risk Management

This in-depth presentation provides a step by step guide to implementing an information technology risk management program

Distinguishing Governance From Management

This paper discusses seven questions that can help distinguish governance, i.e. the role and responsibilities of the board, from management.

Information Technology Governance Plan Example

This information technology governance plan example details how an organization responded to the mushrooming IT groups with overlapping roles and responsibilities. This IT Governance plan example can be used as a template to create your governance st...

Introduction to IT Governance

Introduction to it governance - what is it ? why is it important? what are its components?

Introduction to IT Governance

 This sample chapter provides an overview of Information Technology Governance.

IT Governance

 IT governance best practices implementation guide

IT Governance 101: CIOs Guide to IT Governance

This whitepaper discusses the role of IT Governance in creating enterprise value, and introduces a framework to implement IT Governance. CIOs can follow the structured advice, and the framework to implement in their IT Organizations.

IT Governance Best Practices

 This paper discusses best practices in IT governance and alignment.

IT Governance Capability

This paper defines IT Governance and provides a case study on IT governance with a set of lessons learnt in creating IT Governance capability.

IT Governance Guide

This practical guide provides in-depth overview of Information Technology Governance aka IT Governance for company directors and corporate executives.

IT Governance Guide

This presentation provides an in-depth introduction to information technology governance. What is IT Governance? Why is IT Governance important? What are some common IT Governance definitions? How to implement IT Governance? How to audit IT Governanc...

IT Governance Implementation Plan Example

This paper details the structures, processes, framework, and methodology for IT Governance gleaned from a study of government organizations. The paper also discusses the issues faced by these organizations as they related to IT Governance and details...

IT Governance Leadership Training

This presentation provides an in depth discussion on creating an IT Governance capability in the enterprise with a focus on security, and risk management. It also provides guidance on the role of leadership in implementing an effective IT Governance ...

IT Governance Plan Example

This document details the information technology governance plan to create a federated governance model for the IT organization. The challenge was to develop a model of governance that enables effective enterprise IT solutions at reduced cost. In res...

IT Governance: The Ultimate IT Weapon

Bombastic claims rarely pan out. But this is a good article to read...

MIT’s IT Governance Framework

This paper presents an IT governance framework on one page.

Primer on IT Governance

A very good introduction to information technology governance (IT Governance) - definition, justification, benefits, frameworks, implementation considerations. MUST Read! 

Seven Undeniable Truths about IT Governance

 This presentation answers the question: "Why IT Governance" with case studies of companies that gained business value by successfully implementing IT Governance.

Technology Governance Board

 This presentation discusses the formation and composition of a "Technology Governance Board" to manage IT investments.

What is the Difference Between Governance and Management?

This paper looks at the structural and functional differences between governance and management using the "plan-do-check" framework.

Why the growing interest in IT governance?

 This presentation defines Information Technology Governance and lays out a case for its use to increase IT value.



Signup for ThoughtLeader









Subscribe


CIO Index

What every CIO needs to know

CIO Index is the world's largest professional network for CIOs - of the CIO, for the CIO, by the CIO. 

Over 60,000 CIOs and other IT Executives use CIO Index to Learn, Network and Share.

 

Cioindex, Inc.

  • (+1) 800-309-3550
  • Mon - Fri 9:00am - 5:00 pm
  • 115 Franklin Tpke, Mahwah, NJ 07430
Copyright 2015 Cioindex, Inc.