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 managements commitment to use the results to manage the organization, IT Governance like any other standard, will only be perceived as yet another value-less item within the organization with little management support.
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.
If the prototype is successful, then a pilot can be conducted to further investigate the value of the new technology to the company. Piloting applies additional, but limited capital to the idea for establishing a working model to assess the performance of the design without actually going into full production mode. People external to the organization may participate in evaluating the idea to further determine if the idea is worth the cost and further to determine if external people see enough value and a willingness to pay for the business idea in practice.
Common Architecture Framework
As an organization grows and more products are built, it can be of great advantage to
establish an architecture framework that IT can align with. Because having products work together is critical, establishing an IT Governance strategy to ensure easy integration,
reduced maintenance, solid performance, while assuring data integrity are key aspects of architecture. One aspect is to identify common and reusable components in certain areas that all or most applications within an organization can use.
An example is to establish a high security single sign-on login component which all applications can plug into their application architecture. This reduces or eliminates complex integrations for login across application suites and decreases maintenance. Another step is to establish an overall architecture framework such as