Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The CIO as a Master of Both IT Management and Governance

With the exponential growth of information and often technology-led disruptions, IT has evolved significantly in running a high-performance digital business today.

The digital paradigm means hyperconnectivity, interdependence, integration, and diversification. Digital technology is often the disruptive force behind change and information is permeating into every core process in modern organizations. IT management and IT governance are interdependent disciplines.

The purpose of IT management is to optimize IT resources and catalyze business growth, enable the business to move forward smoothly; while the goal of IT governance is to ensure the business making the right decisions and steer the business toward the right direction. Thus, digital CIOs need to be the master of both IT management and governance in order to run IT as a strategic business partner and change agent of their company.

Assess IT performance and identify IT pain point: Neither business nor IT knows the full picture on the two pieces of the puzzle - management, and governance until they work together. IT management can be achieved not only via the strong IT leadership but also needs to have cross-functional collaboration and full support from the top leadership team.

It’s important for IT leaders make an objective IT performance assessment which should give a clear idea about the maturity of IT function (Sourcing Unit, Order Taker, Service Center, Solution Provider, Innovation Partner) It’s also critical to identify IT pain points (Delayed Projects, Cost Overrun, No Innovation, No business involvement, Rogue IT) So IT management can dig into the root causes and fix critical business problems smoothly.

Improve IT manageability and enforce the governance framework approach: To improve IT management effectiveness, IT management needs to address the underlying disparate tools and approaches to understand the holistic information management solution in order to improve management capabilities.

IT oversees enterprise-wide information which is the lifeblood in modern businesses. As such, IT also plays a significant role in overall business governance discipline as relevant topics are critical to warrant explicit board attention within the overall framework of business resources and governance in general.

The best approach for IT governance has been the one that has aligned the framework approach with the maturity of the IT function and the expectations business leaders have from ways of working, political equations among key leaders, and the decision-making approach in the organization.

IT leaders should have a seat at the big table to co-set digital policies: No process works without policy. A process in and of itself must be governed or it won't be followed and the best procedure or program cannot enforce it without policy. In practice, making good policy is actually part of governance discipline.

To improve IT leadership maturity, the CIO role must drive a model of governance supported by business policy, then the “why and what” will be effective. The worst thing to do is just about putting the policy in place to mandate it coming through IT since the business will perceive IT as not a real business partner, but a reactive controller to drag down the speed of changes. CIOs also need to reinvent their leadership reputation from an inflexible tactical manager to an insightful policymaker and a transformative digital leader.

Identify and understand the emerging opportunities and risks: Information Technology is at the current time the focus of immense market development and pressure and key aspects of organizational development and performance throughout the business cycle, including awareness of market developments and pressures, approval of plans, allocation of funding and tracking of outcomes. IT plays a critical role in strategy, data/IT governance, and risk management in the digital era. 

What it means is that the IT function should help the business leaders and BoD to identify and understand the opportunity, implications, and constraints arising from the organization’s IT deployment and the use of IT that occurs in its ecosystem. The best CIOs understand what current IT-driven innovations can add business value and transfer this to the business seamlessly. They get engaged in the investment process prior to the decision already being made, and keep IT running flawlessly at the prevailing level of digital sophistication.

With the exponential growth of information and often technology-led disruptions, IT has evolved significantly in running a high-performance digital business today, IT leaders are able to master both IT management practices and IT governance disciplines by listening to a wide range of opinions and approaches and understand the extent to which digital technologies enable people to develop a highly integrated business ecosystem of shareholders and operate as an effective and trustworthy business partner.


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