One of the most valuable assets of today’s companies have is information. As the digital era’s oil, data has become the world’s most valuable resource. However, without governing information appropriately, it can increase risk. It’s the reason why U.S. businesses spent an average of $8 million per data breach in 2018. Aligning your IT with your business strategy is essential for reaching your company’s business and financial goals and protecting its IT investments. That’s where IT governance comes in handy. IT governance is the formal foundation or core process to ensure your IT aligns with your business goals and strategy and a crucial component of corporate governance.
IT governance matters because it ensures your company is using its IT resources and assets effectively and efficiently to achieve the desired outcomes of your enterprise’s goals. It’s also crucial to implement IT governance to comply with laws and industry regulations, including privacy and data protection laws. But when you don’t update your IT governance in this age of digital transformation, you risk the protection of your enterprise’s and consumers’ data and privacy, facing lawsuits, and, ultimately, hurting your bottom line. That’s because sound IT governance prevents adverse situations, such as data breaches. Thus, it’s important to understand the principles for creating a successful foundation for IT governance.
Traditionally, IT governance has been seen as the responsibility of the CIO and executive leadership. However, IT governance success calls for a shift from CIO-dedicated ownership to ownership of a wider audience of organizational leadership. The board must determine the objectives that everyone in the organization needs to achieve. It allows for radical decision-making and is necessary for keeping pace with digital transformation.
A large part of modernizing IT governance requires a mind shift from enterprise leaders. That’s why it’s important that enterprise leaders update their views on IT governance. Traditionally, enterprise leaders view IT governance as a set of restrictions. But if you want to modernize your IT governance, your enterprise leaders need to think beyond restrictions. Instead, leaders need to understand that good IT governance is a digital enabler.
A modern IT governance foundation considers more than fixed processes. Instead, good IT governance focuses on outcomes. That’s because outcomes provide proof. Leading digital enterprises exhibit an IT governance capability that focuses on outcomes. These outcomes require flexibility to change as often as necessary when specific situations arise. With a 47 percent hike in data breaches in the second half of 2018, ensuring the outcomes of the processes you implement is essential to protecting the business objective of securing user data and privacy. Thus, it’s critical to not only limit the focus to processes but to consider if these processes achieve the desired outcome.
Adhering to IT governance is a challenge for traditional IT governance compliance. It’s hindered innovation due to inefficient allocation of capital and puts enterprises at risk for falling out of compliance. However, modern IT governance leverages automation to promote governance adherence. Thus, it’s critical that your IT leadership and team takes advantage of the same technologies that are automating the workflows of businesses and apply them to IT processes. By embracing automation, you can encourage adherence to governance.
Each company’s goals and needs differ. Moreover, time, industry trends and economic factors can change the business’ goals at any time. When this occurs, an outdated IT governance framework may not achieve your current, specific goals. That’s why it’s vital to customize your IT governance to your company’s current and unique needs.
There are several governance frameworks that leaders update to address the needs of the enterprise. Some of the common frameworks for IT governance include Factor Analysis Information Risk (FAIR), COBIT, COSO, Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) and ITIL. While these frameworks provide a foundation for establishing objective measurements and outlining important factors that take into account stakeholders interest, it’s important to choose a framework that works for your business’ needs and adjust the framework as the need arises.
Modernizing IT governance requires adjusting the framework more frequently than in the past. While experts note that no formula exists that dictates the best times to refresh your governance program, they do advise adjusting your program whenever your organization evolves or its principles change. Facebook had to adjust its IT governance structure after the Cambridge Analytica data leak. From promising to cut off dormant apps from accessing user data to disclosing information about advertisers, the social media tech company has moved to adjust how it handles data governance to provide transparency for its users and protect user data.
There is no doubt that IT governance is a crucial part of any modern company in today’s digital era. But if you want to modernize IT governance, you have to put a few effective strategies in place. From extending the responsibilities of IT governance from CIOs to IT leaders to adjusting IT governance frequently, there are several key strategies you can implement to update your IT governance program. By using these key principles, you can set up your IT governance framework for success.