IT Governance Best Practices for Enterprises

TABLE OF CONTENTS

The information technology (IT) department is the backbone of any business, providing core infrastructure and services that keep everything running smoothly. IT governance ensures the organization's projects, programs, and operations are completed on time, within budget, and meet strategic objectives.

The key to success is to have a formal IT governance plan. It determines your ability to change and add value to your business constantly. If your goal is to find out how to create more profitable IT strategies, do not miss out on these IT Governance best practices.

What is IT Governance?

IT governance is a part of corporate governance—a structured approach to managing the various aspects of IT services. It is the set of processes, policies, and standards that the IT teams use to govern the overall IT operations in an organization.

The main goal of IT governance is to increase efficiency in IT operations, reduce risks, minimize costs, and maintain better compliance with the changing business requirements.

Role of IT Governance

The role of IT governance is to:

  1. First, determine the objectives, goals, vision, and mission.

  2. Ensure that all projects and changes are planned, budgeted for, authorized, scheduled, and monitored.

  3. Design and implement the IT governance framework.

  4. Finally, manage risks and liabilities in all IT projects.

Why is IT Governance Important?

 IT governance is important because it is the backbone of a company's success:

  • Governance through information technology can help a company predict its performance and risks.

  • It ensures that IT supports business objectives.

  • It ensures optimal use of information technology for meeting company goals.

  • It governs the effectiveness of investments made by a business in the IT department.

  • It acts as a link between the people who manage technology and those who develop it.

What are IT Governance Frameworks?

What are IT Governance Frameworks

Organizations that leverage IT to gain competitive advantage need to develop a framework for managing their systems and applications. To realize the benefits from IT Governance, it is best to establish an IT Governance framework. A framework can help you implement policies and procedures to maintain the program year after year.

Several frameworks have been developed in recent years. Below are some examples of IT Governance Frameworks:

  • COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology)

  • ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library)

  • COSO (The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Trade Way Commission)

  • CMMI (The capability Maturity Model Integration)

  • FAIR (Factor Analysis of Information Risk)

IT Governance Best Practices

To oversee the delivery of specific projects, deal with change management, and ensure that the processes are executed correctly, you need to adopt certain IT governance best practices

  • Make IT Essential to Business Strategy: SEMrush, a MarTech SaaS platform, found that 84% of small enterprises use at least one digital platform to share their products. In addition, nearly 79% of them use digital tools in their business, and 55% of small businesses report technology as a means for their customer interaction.
    Our own research shows that the use of SaaS apps has grown in the last few years. On average, a company with 500 employees uses more than 500 SaaS apps. What IT heads are now realizing is that most of these, as high as 90%, come under shadow IT

Company Size vs Number of apps

The data shows how businesses have become more technology-driven. With everything shifting online, making IT essential to business strategy is unavoidable. 

IT infrastructure should be given top priority; it will help you maximize your existing resources, strengthen your digital transformation strategy, and reach the organization's objective.

  • Put the Right Team in Place: Introducing IT to your business strategy is only the first step. Selecting people with the desired skill set and talent turns out to be a game-changer.
    Putting the right team in place requires proper planning and implementation. You can start by setting up a panel of experts who will be in charge of recruitment. 
    Additionally, a business can run for decades only when it recreates and innovates with time. Thus, while recruiting IT talent, you must try to choose people who have the ability to innovate. The past projects completed by them should demonstrate their ability.

  • Monitor IT Performance: Monitoring is one of the best IT governance best practices. Selecting a team for IT governance isn't enough. You must have someone to monitor to determine whether things are working well or not. Someone who can right the wrong and constantly improve the existing strategy. 
    Naomi Oreskes once said, "Scientific monitoring is going to be terrifically important because whatever steps we take, we will have to monitor those steps in order to know if they are actually working." 

  • Define Roles and Responsibilities: Because of the importance of IT to an enterprise, there is a growing trend for companies to create governance committees for their IT departments. IT governance committees come in all shapes and sizes.
    Still, they have the same purpose at their core: to oversee the IT function and make sure it's operating as efficiently and effectively as possible. So the challenge with IT governance committees is making them effective.
    Without the allotment of roles and responsibilities, it becomes difficult to make decisions, provide oversight, and determine accountability. To accomplish that, IT governance needs to define its role, scope, and processes clearly.


Check the Role of an IT Asset Manager in this post.


By clearly setting expectations for each member of the IT governance committee, you can maintain a productive group that keeps your business moving forward.

  • Highlight Integrity: There is nothing more frustrating than a lack of clarity on priorities. It is vital to make each member responsible for oversight and management of the policies and procedures.
    The best way is with a compelling vision statement, which defines your program's highest priority concepts and values. Also, include a mission statement that clearly states how you will achieve those goals.
    And have a set of objectives, so people know how they fit into the larger picture. Finally, make members responsible for oversight and management of policies.

  • Don't Forget About Compliance: Data is a company's most precious resource. As companies collect and handle more data, it is more important than ever to monitor security measures carefully and ensure that their data remains safe. Most of the security breaches occur due to poor security policies. Thus, it is crucial to review your security policies and follow compliance standards.

Don-t Forget About Compliance

Effective IT governance helps your organization implement security policies and ensure every member follows all the security compliances. These compliances include developing security policies and security audits. Future business decisions might impact organizations' liabilities.

  • Prioritize Effective Risk Management: It is not just about knowing and tackling the threats, and it is also about identifying and managing the risks. To do so, you need to know what those risks are in the first place. Then, you can start your risk assessment and mitigation process.
    The IT governance team needs to regularly identify and assess reputational, operational, financial, regulatory, and legal risks. It has to consider the company's size, processes, and technologies while doing so.
    The IT governance team can mitigate risks by designing compliance, evolving processes to make compliance an integral part, and co-experiment which work best for your company.

  • Make Employees' Education a Priority: The ultimate risk to any organization is not losing data due to a hardware failure or accidentally erasing something important. The top threat is security breaches due to human error.
    Employees can be taught how to prevent phishing attacks and stop them from happening. Without proper education, employees might feel like an easy target for hackers. And that feeling can lead to a decrease in employees' morale and productivity.
    The best way to do this is by providing comprehensive training on how to recognize phishing scams. This IT Governance best practice emphasizes accentuating education, providing training to handle sensitive data, and using devices carefully while working.

Getting Started With IT Governance

There are many factors to consider in developing an IT framework for your business. To get started, analyze your concerns. For example, are you more concerned about data breaches, data security, the tool's performance, or anything else? Where is your current IT infrastructure lacking?

Secondly, you need to consider your organization's key objectives. It includes the investment you will need to put your IT Governance best practices into action. What are the right tools and policies for your organization?

Think about what you would need to achieve data security, moral support, or a strong team?

Lastly, IT compliance involves system monitoring and analysis: what will you measure, and what will your next step be if your governance program fails? These insights can help you map out IT Governance best practices and bring more benefits for you.

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