Building IT governance with an eye toward future investments

Many executives I speak with are keenly interested in building IT governance, but they struggle with beginning the process and maintaining focus. Of course, like many things in business, how you begin and who you involve is important. But just as...

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Many executives I speak with are keenly interested in building IT governance, but they struggle with beginning the process and maintaining focus. Of course, like many things in business, how you begin and who you involve is important. But just as important is how you choose your investments and measure their success and benefits to the company.

Good IT governance prepares your company to seize new business opportunities by supporting your organisation’s business needs and goals. It also helps you to identify where and how you should invest. Remember, there will always be more demand for technology projects and applications than there is available funding. But every cloud has a silver lining and this may be to your benefit as it makes it easier to focus on the most business-critical investments and free up funding for future technology investments.

I emphasise that building your IT governance to align with your corporate structure is key. By prioritizing your IT investments, you not only will align yourself with your greater budgetary structure, but you will keep an eye toward future growth.

In fact, aligning your governance to your investments will free up the funding you need for future projects. This allows you to see what is most important to the business and use that information for your technology investment decisions.

Once you’ve begun building your IT governance platform, how do you measure success? There are, of course, tangible and intangible methods to measuring the success of your IT governance. You will get an informal sense of how the initiative is progressing by speaking to those involved in the process as well as reviewing who is using your technology. Users and stakeholders will speak honestly about what is working and what may need improvement.

In terms of tangible benefits, there are two ways to track metrics involved in projects:

  • General metrics, such as costs, progress on key initiatives and service uptime help track progress by examining your IT strategy performance in a way that produces tangible, if informal results.
  • An IT scorecard, which delves deeper into the progress and success of your initiative by taking a more in-depth look at the numbers, stressing issues that measure IT contribution and IT operational excellence. The scorecard looks at issues that drive IT costs, such as employee and sponsor satisfaction, whether benefits are being achieved and general and specific IT expense.

These results show you tangibly whether your investments are on the right track. Remember, though, that you don’t have to get it perfect on the first try. You just need to make the decision to begin building your IT governance structure and then review what technology your business needs. Because it will evolve over time, prioritizing your needs can be one of your most important decisions. Focusing on your investments up front and reviewing how they affect your business will get your process off the ground.

Blog post by Bob Kress, executive director of Business Operations at Accenture

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