Business Technology Governance
By exercising strict governance over the strategic direction and tactical control of technology projects, you can maximize the business value of your technology investments. A portfolio approach gives senior technology executives a mechanism to align IT investments with overall corporate strategy and, where possible, exercise familiar dollars-and-cents control over the world of IT.
Business technology management (BTM) principles and capabilities ensure that technology executives maintain the same degree of control, accountability and fiscal responsibility that is expected of projects in the rest of the business. In this manner, CIOs can feel confident that the promises they make when communicating the value of technology to the business side of their companies come to fruition when put into practice. Some of the steps in this process include:
1.Develop your strategic and tactical governance capability, including board oversight. This capability prepares an organization to address what decisions must be made, who is responsible for making them and what process is used to make those decisions. Enterprises should have ready answers that are ingrained and automatic. This relates to the full range of business technology governance issues, investment decisions, standards and principles, and target business and technology architectures.
2.Understand government and regulatory requirements that must be met with regard to business technology initiatives, as well as the appropriate risk-mitigation strategies that must be in place. This starts with the compliance and risk-management capability, which should be supported by the board and disseminated to everyone involved in enabling business capabilities through the use of business technology.
3.Ensure that the board has the BTM knowledge and insight it needs. Answer this question for your own organization: How will you increase board-level understanding of these concepts? Consider that some boards have addressed this issue by appointing outside board members, including the CEOs and CIOs of well-regarded IT companies—executives who have a proven track record in BTM. Others have established business technology strategy committees. At a minimum, the CIO should prepare quarterly briefings for the board, to complement the deliberations of the technology strategy committee.
4.Determine how the organization will configure its infrastructure to facilitate timely access to financial information. What control systems and analytics are needed to detect vulnerabilities and fraud, and how will portals be deployed to provide appropriate dashboards? Devise a strategy to implement a control-systems architecture that balances concerns about completeness and timeliness with cost economy.
Faisal Hoque is chairman and CEO of BTM Corporation. BTM innovates business models and enhances financial performance by converging business and technology with its products and intellectual property. © 2008 BTM Corporation