IT Governance Presents a Nagging Challenge for Today's Chief Information Officers

CIOs must be skillful innovators, creating competitive differentiators using technology, but they are also responsible for any business risks that technology introduces. This influential position requires vision for roadmapping and providing internal thought leadership. Regrettably, unnecessarily complex governance procedures stand between CIOs shifting from skilled risk managers to enterprise visionaries.

The Fight for Lean Governance

Governance procedures established even five years ago have failed to meet the changing needs of IT and the lines of business they support. Risks have increased, demand for fast delivery has skyrocketed, and resources are being stretched thin. Governance, however, remains unchanged. Continuing to leverage “heavy” documentation and manual approval processes, while focusing on cost containment and cost reduction can cause other areas of the business to circumvent well-intentioned governance practices.

Not only are IT leaders responsible for keeping IT running smoothly, they face the highest level of scrutiny from their management team colleagues, boards of directors, and even government regulators. Strategically, IT governance is supposed to align corporate and business unit goals. Tactically, IT governance provides enterprises with guidelines for five key areas: Utilizing existing resources, incorporating new technologies, organizing/ reorganizing personnel, managing risk, and measuring performance.

To support this evolving role of CIOs, organizations must become highly responsive. An enterprise must undergo a “digital transformation” simply to keep up.

How it Used to Work

When IT governance procedures are either ineffective or ignored, the ripple effect can be significant. Consider a situation where Marketing wants to utilize a new marketing automation system. IT is asked to assess the system. The evaluation is time-consuming and further elongated because of scarce IT resources.

If this assessment takes too long, Marketing may unilaterally decide to implement the system. As a standalone solution, the system can be implemented quickly. A vast array of issues arise, however, once marketing needs to fully integrate the new solution with existing systems. A tremendous business opportunity quickly becomes an operational headache that requires the immediate attention of managers, DBAs, and software engineers. Significant time is wasted on one-off fixes, re-work, and maintenance.

If governance is made more lean, approval processes can be streamlined and alternatives can be provided for solutions that work at an organizational level, not for just individual user groups.

Becoming Highly Responsive

A highly responsive IT organization must address the demands of internal users, meet the expectations of new and existing customers, and adapt to the ever-evolving state of technology in order to remain competitive. They must also be prepared to support their CIO as a roadmapper and visionary for the business.

While many enterprises seem to be investing in “Digital Transformation,” there is a fundamental disconnect in what this truly means for an organization. Digital Transformation doesn’t and shouldn’t mean simply investing in new technology. IT leadership must establish a strategy before purchasing software to really achieve digital transformation.

The strategy should help to formalize decision models and challenge existing governance practices. To succeed, however, the strategy needs to contemplate ever increasing uses of technology across the enterprise without a commensurate increase in personnel. The strategy should be centered around building a highly responsive organization.

What Highly Responsive Really Looks Like

Embedding Lean IT Governance into a CIO’s digital transformation framework builds an organizational structure for accelerating future system replacements, expansions, or upgrades. Focusing on incremental value while supporting a long-term strategy creates enduring flexibility and scalability which is essential to digital transformation.

By following this process you will be able to reduce the time between project phases and roll out new solutions faster. With an accelerated time to market, your enterprise will be more responsive and competitive. You will have the freedom to expand and innovate in ways that do not seem possible under the old governance model. When you become highly responsive, you’ll be able to support integration requirements within a timeframe desired by your end-users. You’ll also be able to spend less time focused on security because you’ll know where new additions are coming from and will have vetted their fit with the enterprise.

Accelerate Your Transformation

If you are on the cusp of a digital transformation and you’d like some additional guidance, Acumen Solutions is the expert in enterprise IT strategy and optimization. Our work has facilitated the success of our clients through adding capabilities, increasing capacities, and driving new economies of scale unimagined previously. With our guidance, CIOs can embrace driving vision throughout their organizations. Contact us today to get started.

About Acumen Solutions

Clients choose Acumen Solutions for one simple reason: our experience delivers success. Joining forces with our clients, our teams of strategists, subject matter experts, and engineers solve problems that can’t be fixed by technology alone. We are a Salesforce Global Alliance Partner with exceptional customer satisfaction ratings in the Fortune 500 and public sector. Our clients achieve increased revenue, streamlined operations and improved productivity, proving that our experience delivers success.


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