IT Governance

IN TODAY’S WORLD OF EVER-CHANGING ECONOMIC CONDITIONS and increased regulatory activities, governance is becoming an increasingly important issue for all sizes of enterprises, whether public corporations, not-for-profits, or private businesses. Enterprise governance concepts consist of a series of broad areas of enterprise activity, starting first with management’s accountability and fiduciary responsibilities to its customers, employees, regulators, and all other stakeholders. This requires the implementation of guidelines and programs to ensure that management acts in good faith and that the overall enterprise is protected from wrongdoing or fraud. In addition, enterprise governance includes management processes and policies to promote strategic and economic efficiency. The management of economic efficiency involves how the corporate governance system intends to optimize results and meet its objectives. This promotion of strategic efficiency also calls for an enterprise to promote and establish public policy objectives that are not always directly measurable in economic terms but include such things as a strong ethics program, the promotion of quality, and employee welfare. Effective enterprise governance, of course, requires strong management skills to make important decisions and provide leadership. There is also a very strong requirement for information technology (IT) systems and processes in particular. This important area, IT governance, is the overall topic of this executive guide. In the earlier days of IT systems and processes, senior operations management often delegated many aspects of IT operations to specialists responsible for building, operating, and maintaining an enterprise’s IT resources. While there was frequent talk about engaging the management and users of IT systems with the specialists and developers of their IT resources, operations management often experienced disappointments. New IT initiatives often did not meet their planned objectives, were delivered late, had security and internal control vulnerabilities, or too soon became obsolete due to poor planning or assessments of management needs. To improve matters today, there is a need for better processes to manage and coordinate all aspects of an enterprise’s IT resources—the need for IT governance.

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