Bringing Business Value to IT Governance

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Summary:
For some organizations, IT governance is just another set of standards that is stated yet with few (or no) compliance expectations, little actual verification occurring, few or no metrics to indicate compliance, and even less use of the results by senior management to run their organization. Without support for standards, including practices, policy, verification, metrics and management’s commitment to use the results to manage the organization, IT governance, like any other standard, will only be perceived as yet another item that has little management support and is lacking value in the organization.

While having IT governance standards and framework for support is important, it is more important that the business objectives drive IT governance that improve organizational
efficiency and competitive advantage. Cost cutting can also be a driver, but if you are cost cutting without gaining efficiency or competitive advantage, then this may actually hurt an organization since the wrong areas are unknowingly cut.

Strategies for Linking Business Value to IT Governance
Often times, organizations look at IT and IT governance as simply managing the computers in the workplace. It is basic administration where costs must be managed. This is a very small part of the true value of IT and IT governance. It can often be challenging to identify how to link business value to IT governance.

It takes an IT savvy CIO to understand how IT can be used to expand business, bring additional value to the organization, and make an organization more competitive in this highly IT structured world. It is the way that IT is being used that will ultimately determine its value to the organization. So where to begin? An organization should consider strategies that integrate business objectives with IT. Since initiating IT Governance can be challenging, then strategies should introduced at the level the organization is able. Some strategies include:

Prototyping and Piloting
An early IT governance strategy can be introducing the notion of IT prototypes and pilots. This helps evaluate the solution utilizing a very small investment to determine if it meets the established business objectives. While prototyping and piloting are not new concepts, they may not always be conducted in support of business objectives.

Therefore, prior to introducing a new technology, consider prototyping the possible solution. Prototyping validates or allows testing of the idea prior to investing larger amounts of money into the business idea. A prototype can allow internal people to get their hands onto the idea. This allows people to better estimate if the idea is worth the cost.

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