Building an IT Governance Foundation

By Adam Nelson  |  Posted 2008-11-26 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

While organizations have similar goals such as controlling costs and achieving data consistency, IT departments across government, corporations and nonprofits operate differently. IT management needs an overarching governance model like CobiT, ITIL, CMM and Six Sigma to ensure that investments in technology generate business value and mitigate risks.

Information technology governance defines the overall structure, policies, processes and relationships necessary to provide the desired level of standardization and consistency across an IT organization. It encompasses systems, performance measures and risk management procedures, helping organizations make informed decisions about their operations and investments. While organizations have similar goals—such as controlling costs and achieving data consistency—IT departments across government, corporations and nonprofits operate differently.

Even after a rigorous focus on compliance initiatives—and the widespread acknowledgment that large-scale, complex, strategic IT projects commonly progress beyond scope and budget without due attention—standardization around IT governance models is still being sought.

When organizations are examined and the use of best-practice disciplines are polled, a number of frameworks and standards for varying aspects of IT operations are found. These frameworks typically include:

  • IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), developed by the United Kingdom’s Office of Government Commerce, focuses on service support and service delivery.
  • ISO/IEC 27001 (ISO 27001) consists of a set of best practices to implement and maintain an information security program.
  • AS8015-2005 is the Australian Standard for Corporate Governance of Information and Communication Technology.
  • Capability Maturity Model Integration focuses on software engineering, people and implementation.
  • Balanced Scorecard is a strategic planning and management system used to align business activities to the organization’s vision and strategy.
  • Six Sigma is a manufacturing-based system focusing on quality assurance.

IT management needs an overarching governance model to ensure that investments in technology generate business value and mitigate associated risks. The model should also provide a common language for IT and users, enable more focused planning, and create a level of standardization, consistency and predictability.



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Adam Nelson is director of management and IT consulting at Keane, a global IT consulting firm headquartered in San Ramon, Calif.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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