IT Governance

The Holistic IT Governance

As organizations become increasingly digital endeavors, a proper steering of IT becomes synonymous with a proper steering of the business itself. That’s the idea behind IT governance. But according to Pearl Zhu, writing on the Future of CIO blog, if you want to know the terrain of IT governance it helps to have a bird’s eye view. Zhu advocates an agile governing approach to IT that is strategic, systematic, and holistic.

First: The Board of Sponsorship

Communicate the reality of limited IT dollars to the Board of Directors and officer team. Stress the need for IT to bring value to the business, while differentiating between basic IT (lights on) and the allocations necessary for specific projects.

Second: The Executive Team

Give the executive team the exact breakdown of how IT assets are being used, adding to that a list of requested projects that aren’t being funded. This will put pressure on other senior officers to properly validate what they are offering.

Third: Assess Holistically

Understand where the power in the enterprise is most centralized in order to understand the perspective and needs of those individuals – by way of CXO survey, if necessary. Determine the relative maturity of the IT outfit. Then identify where this particular IT unit is suffering. Is there a lack of innovation or perhaps too little involvement with the business end?

Fourth: Establish Governance

Identify the proper governance objective that fits the needs of the organization, whether IT Operations, Sourcing and Vendor Management, Security and Compliance, or others. Decide which governance practice best applies to the selected objectives and to the organization’s structure/culture. Governance practices can take the form of newsletters, gamification, or even audits. Lastly, one must align the overall framework of this approach with the relative maturity of the IT operation, immediate and long term business priorities, and the specific politics/decision-making native to that organization.  

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