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ITFMA Journal

Successful IT Governance

Brian Jeffery, Managing Director, International Technology Group

These are edited excerpts from Brian Jeffery’s presentation at the ITFMA Financial World of Information Technology Conference August 2010

What is IT Governance? We could not find a shared view on the definition of "IT governance”, but these are some definitions:

  • The overall methodology by which IT is directed, administered & controlled
  • The decision rights & accountability framework for encouraging desirable behaviors in IT
  • The leadership & organizational structures & processes that ensure that the organization’s IT sustains & extends the organization’s strategies & objectives
  • The strategic alignment of IT with the business such that maximum business value is achieved though the development & maintenance of effective IT control and accountability, performance management, and risk management
  • The organizational capacity to control the formulation & implementation of IT strategy and guide to direction for the purpose of achieving competitive advantages
  • A structure of processes that govern decision making around investment decisions, client relationships, project management & other important IT operational areas
  • Ensuring that IT does the right thing at the right time for the right reasons
  • IT governance is the process of...making sure that doesn’t happen again

The greatest success of IT governance has been:

  • In largely stable data center environments
  • Where focus is on IT operational practices &/or audit & control
  • Where implementation is focused on key practices rather than broad frameworks
  • Where planning is driven by ongoing objectives rather than immediate problem-solving IT environments & goals change over time – consistency needs to be balanced with flexibility
  • Most users "mix & match” practices from multiple sources; frameworks are defined internally and/or by consultants for organization-specific needs
  • Define your goal, e.g. improve service quality, standardize practices, and apply the 80:20 rule; focus on what is useful
  • Unless there are major change factors, most organizations can, and should, build upon their existing practices
  • Effective planning, education and change management are key to successful deployment and operation of all frameworks

"In our study of almost 300 enterprises around the world, we did not identify a single best formula for governing IT” – MIT IT governance study, 2004.


Copyright © 2011 by the IT Financial Management Association.

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