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IT governance and its importance

Businesses of all sizes and sectors rely on technology for virtually all aspects of business operations. All technology investments must be considered carefully, to ensure they provide the most value and enable businesses to achieve their goals for growth and success. 

While technology is essential, there is the potential for it to be underutilised or even abused, which can result in costly and serious consequences, such as loss of customers or stakeholders, business loss, and regulatory fines. IT governance can help to ensure organisations are benefiting from their technology investments while avoiding any potential issues. 

IT governance definition

IT governance is the alignment of an effective IT strategy with business goals to improve IT management overall, resulting in greater value from digital technology in business. 

The decision-making and oversight processes involved in IT governance include assessing, selecting, prioritising IT investments, implementing and managing IT resources, and measuring IT’s contribution to business outcomes. Industries often employ a predefined framework to determine how these processes should be carried out, although some firms prefer a hybrid approach or customise a framework to match their unique needs and objectives. 

Why is IT governance important?

A lack of IT innovation and strategic planning can be to the detriment of businesses and lead to their failure. An effective governance policy will outline the roles and responsibilities of staff members, set standards for data collection and retention, outline protocols for data usage and sharing, and include data privacy and security framework. A solid governance policy will also provide a framework for an organisation to adapt to changes in the external business environment, changes in technology, and changes in staff composition. 

How do organisations benefit from IT governance?

An IT governance program is a structured approach to how an organisation manages its information technology assets to achieve its business objectives. It allows the company to track its assets, set policies, and monitor risk. An IT governance program will have several components including risk management, compliance, asset management, strategic procurement, vendor management, and so on.

Benefits of IT governance include:

  • Ensuring unification of IT and business strategies and boosting existing business operations to enhance efficiency and processes. 
  • Promotes best practices in compliance and regulation, reassuring customers and other stakeholders of your aware business’s commitment to data protection and cyber security.
  • Enables greater insight into business processes and creates opportunities for new technology to boost productivity and drive growth.
  • Maximises investment return in your IT environment and ensures that no resources are wasted or offer inefficient solutions. 

IT planning

IT governance frameworks

A comprehensive IT governance programme requires a lot of time and effort to set up. Smaller businesses may only utilise the most basic IT governance procedures, while larger and more regulated organisations will choose a comprehensive IT governance program.

Following are the most commonly used IT governance frameworks, which can be utilised in conjunction with each other, depending on the need. 

ITIL 

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITL) is a framework for IT service management, and it aims to ensure that IT infrastructure supports the core processes of a business. ITIL comprises five categories of management best practices: service strategy, design, transition, operation, and continual service improvement

COBIT 

Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT) framework is less IT-focused and concentrates on regulatory compliance, risk and privacy management, and optimally aligning IT strategies with business goals. 

ISO 27001 

The globally accepted ISO 27001 standard supports the deployment of information security management systems (ISMSs). It provides guidelines and general standards for establishing, managing, enhancing, and operating information security management in businesses. 

FAIR 

Factor Analysis of Information Risk is a relatively new approach to quantifying risk. It focuses on operational risk and information security. 

Choosing the right IT governance framework

An IT governance framework helps organisations set up organisational structures, operational procedures, and policies to improve how IT is managed in the company. An IT governance framework will also outline the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders involved with the company’s IT, such as the CEO, board of directors, and IT department.

When deciding on an IT governance framework, ask yourself whether it seems to fit your business, your stakeholders, and your clients. Some frameworks work well together, and some organisations utilise them to suit their unique needs and objectives. An effective IT governance framework requires all the necessary components to establish and sustain it to be supported and implemented by all parties. The IT consultants at INTELLWORX can help your organisation by offering governance, risk, and compliance strategies and solutions that are tailored to your unique business needs. Talk to them today and move into the future of business.

Shane Maher

We passionately work on the IT Infrastructure of mid-tier businesses and support MSPs into cloud services. I have over 17 years of commercial experience that includes supporting and managing IT systems, developing infrastructure solutions, both onsite & in the cloud.

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