Sunday, November 29, 2015

CIO’s Digital Agenda VI: IT Governance as Fundamental Business Necessity

A simple definition of IT Governance is how to manage IT.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 1.1 million page views with about 2359+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom.

Governance is like steer-wheel (governance is "steer" in Greece), to ensure enterprise running in the right direction, and well head to the destination. Corporate governance is not only about governing operations and tactical efforts. It is or should be equally about governing the evolution of the company. Otherwise, the company, no matter how good the governance is, will fail because of a lack of vision and strategic direction. And IT governance is a subcomponent of corporate governance and a fundamental business necessity, how to manage it in an effective and holistic way?

IT Governance as Fundamental Business Necessity

IT Governance as a Fundamental Business Necessity: How to Get it Right?- IT plays a pivotal role in leading organization’s digital transformation. IT Governance is like a steer, to ensure IT running with the right speed smoothly. IT governance is no longer just a theoretical concept, it is a fundamental business necessity, and an iterative process which requires senior management commitment over the long term in order to see results. IT governance also shouldn't stifle innovation and performance, so how to get it right?

CIO’s GRC Management Agenda: Many factors influence a CIO's choice about where to position his/her information resources along with business continuum. These factors include: the organization’s risk appetite, regulatory environment, size, stage in lifecycle, market environment and current conditions, Board's attitude to risk and reward, core systems lifecycle, maturity of the Information Systems team & processes and, perhaps most importantly, the CIO's predilection for either risk aversion or risk taking, and his/her ability to influence decisions around this. As an IT Executive, CIO should focus on Data Governance, IT Governance, and Risk Management. These are some core strategies empower IT to use consistent data terminology, effectively plan IT roadmap based on business goals & objectives, and help the organization avoid taking unacceptable risks.

IT Governance Principles: Is Simplicity the Key? A simple definition of IT Governance is how to manage IT - "… the leadership and organizational structures and processes that ensure the organization’s IT sustains and extends the organization’s strategies and objectives." (Governance Institute). There is nothing simple about managing IT, you can wish the complexity away, but since the complexity is the result of human nature, wishing and achieving are two entirely different things. However, governing the delivery does not have to be too complex. So how to govern IT effectively, what are IT governance principles, is simplicity the key?

The Root Cause to IT Project Failure: Poor Management or Weak Governance? Every successful project has many parents; but the failure seems to be like an orphan, no one like to admit it. In fact, there are many causes to fail an IT project such as Scope Creep, Failure to obtain stakeholder commitment, inability to assemble a high-performance team, and failure to plan or execute well. So to dig through the root causes, more broadly speaking, is IT project failure caused by poor management or ineffective governance?

IT Governance Effectiveness: Consensus or Dictate? -IT governance is mostly associated with controlling and managing IT in an enterprise, so that specific rules that apply to how IT is deployed, serviced, sourced, implemented, etc. And IT governance is key to ensure the business vision is maintained throughout the entire delivery cycle of business change and project delivery. However, what’s the more effective governance ‘style”? Do you need to always reach consensus on approach and methodology with all key stakeholders, perhaps compromise the governance process too much? Or should governance be more by top-down dictate to ensure compliance.

The Holistic IT Governance? Digital IT is permeating into the very fabric or core processes in modern organizations, thus, IT governance is crucial to steering business toward the right direction and make effective business decisions. However, what is the best approach to begin implementing formal IT Governance specifically aimed at improving the quality of demand? How can the "competition" for finite dollars be structured so that the end game, best benefit for the enterprise, is achieved? How much of a decision-making body (vs. advisory or discussion forum) is the IT Steering Committee (ITSC) and how do they make those decisions? How does one keep the ITSC focused on WHAT IT should work on and not HOW IT accomplishes it ("If IT was more efficient at keeping the lights on, you could have more dollars to spend on new things")?

How to Evaluate the Success of GRC?-The purpose of the GRC is to improve business performance through the creation of value to shareholders and other stakeholders. Usually, the factors considered for evaluating or measuring the successful implementation of technology, either GRC or some other area, are always contextual and subjective, as GRC is more as a state of mind, and it’s multidimensional practices.

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