Business benefits from good IT governance: US surveys

The two go hand-in-hand, according to analsyt firms. Randal Jackson reports

Recent US surveys by firms Gartner and Forrester show a growing focus by CIOs on IT governance but, in the Gartner case, a “disconnect” between the CIO view and business management’s view of the role and importance of such governance.

Gartner’s survey of CIOs, published in October, shows that IT governance is among the top ten concerns of CIOs and that the correct management of it will benefit business and IT management. The perceived benefits include:

IT spending could be focused on those investments that best support business strategy and produce the best return.

The processes could act as a quality control point for the effectiveness and practicality of business planning.

Visibility could be provided into the progress of projects, minimising the impact of changing conditions or requirements and exposing business risks.

The value of IT to the business could be enhanced by focusing IT where it would have the greatest effect, with a minimum of wasted resources.

Gartner says the major reported root causes of business – IT misalignment regarding IT governance include lack of commitment, accountability and full engagement by business management. Many respondents also indicated a lack of understanding and awareness by business management of the importance of IT governance.

The report says good governance practices result in improved IT performance, an enhanced perception of IT by the business and improvements in business performance. Poor IT governance practices result in the forfeit of these benefits and waste of money, time and resources, accompanied by lower morale and higher turnover in IT management and technical staff.

CIOs did not see a distinct difference between IT governance and line operating responsibility of senior business and IT management (80% of respondents said they overlapped). In fact, IT governance was seen as a broad senior management operating responsibility.

Forrester’s April 2005 survey of 135 US decision makers involved in IT governance practices found that while governance was getting a lot of attention, only 55% of respondents had a formal IT governance framework in place.

The survey found that effective IT governance must be part of enterprise governance, so it was critical that IT-

initiated governance frameworks were

at some point integrated with overall enterprise governance.

Other findings included: CIOs are the main IT governance leaders; IT governance takes time to implement (31% said more than a year); it is mostly a custom effort, and is best enforced via committee, which spreads accountability.

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