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IT Governance – 5 Myths to Break This New-Year

IT Governance or Governance of Enterprise IT has now become the buzz word during every corporate discussion. This is not surprising considering the fact of economic recession and global meltdown.

People tend to relate Governance as an element of bureaucracy/executive control that adds additional layers of approval and processes to tighten screws.
It is imperative to understand as Employees / Staff in the Organization to understand and break some common myths to fully support Governance Initiatives and this article is first on the series aimed at providing those insights before your start on the IT Governance Journey.

Myth 1: Governance is Top Leadership`s Business and Bureaucratic

While it is true that IT governance is the responsibility of the board of directors and executive management,  it consists of the leadership, organizational structures and processes  that Organizations IT sustains and extends  the organization`s strategies and objectives. The Whole Objective of Governance is to ensure that the entire organization is in alignment with the Corporate Strategy & Objectives and everyone has a role to play to ensure successful business outcomes. Bureaucracy does not pay off in the long run and the Executive Council & Board are candid of the fact to set the Right Strategic direction & leave it to the Steering committee to manage the implementation of effective Governance. 

Myth 2 : Governance needs a Formal Framework like Cobit to get envisioned results

Though Cobit provides clear guidelines and best practices for effective Governance, it all starts with the Overall Intent and approach of the Organization embarking on Governance
Best Practice Frameworks aid your Governance but not serve as substitute for the ownership/drive and commitment of the Senior Executive Management to provide seamless delivery utilizing optimum resources and managing risks to achieve planned business outcome.  So you need to have the Basic 4 elements 1. Leadership  2. Organizational Structure 3. Processes  4. Management of Organizational Change (MoC)
before deep diving into Best Practices.

Myth 3 : Culture of the Org can be taken for Granted once Leadership Buy-In is obtained

This is one fundamental reason that Governance initiatives fail miserably.  What worked for one organization might not suit the other (one size does not fit all) because of various factors like, Culture, Risk Appetite, Business Strategy & Leadership Style.  Substantial effort needs to be planned through a MoC (Management of Organizational Change) Program to ensure that all stakeholders understand the impact and are committed to contribute to the overall Organization`s strategy and objectives.

Myth 4 : It’s all about Metrics/ Dashboards and Surveys that the Executive Council is interested

Organizations are very good in meeting SLAs,  Operational Metrics & great CSAT ratings.  Gone are the days that meeting your agreed contractual obligations and prerogatives is sufficient to sustain momentum. Executive Board and Senior Management are interested on 5 major areas.  1. Strategic Alignment  2. Value Delivery  3. Risk Management 4. Resource Management 5. Performance Measurement.  So beyond the traditional Metrics and dashboards there is a shift of focus to Balance Score Card (BSC) &  Higher Internal Metrics for all governance areas  to continually improve and deliver agreed business Outcomes. The Ultimatum is not the numbers but achievement of planned business objectives.

Myth 5: Governance requires substantial investment & resources not aimed for Small or Medium Sized Business

Many organizations are not prepared to embark on Governance Initiatives claiming a simple reason “ Oh that requires huge investment & more resources which we cannot to afford as a small organization”.
Governance Initiatives is aimed to make your investments and efforts yield right business value and has to be embedded on your day-to-day practice. This can be done with the existing resources, leadership and org structure. It only requires the thought process to look at broader strategic objectives and how results affect various stakeholders (Customers, Shareholders, Employees & Vendors). Start simple with an Outline and then improve upon the maturity over a period of time. After all every big accomplishment starts with a single step.

What is your advice about the best way to perform IT Governance?