Developing IT Governance

IT Governance aims to adequately support management and to guarantee strong structures through transparent decision procedures, for example, in order to ensure that IT supports business goals optimally at all times, uses resources responsibly and manages risks.

Standardized methods and procedures as well as defined guidelines, regulations and measures are the most important components of IT governance. The components required by our clients are as varied as our clients themselves: The degree and complexity of each of these components have to be chosen appropriately to prevent an excess of bureaucracy and time delays for the client. At the same time, this is the only way to ensure target-oriented cooperation in an internationally distributed IT organization.

IT Governance as Support for Strategic Targets

The following chart shows a project example of the effects of IT governance on IT as a whole.

The client’s IT tended to steadily fall more and more into the role of a pure “tool provider”. Modern IT, however, should position itself as an efficiency deliverer and ideally a business enabler. Appropriate IT governance structures combined with effective leadership can not only stop the organization’s momentum but rather guide it to an optimal strategic IT positioning.

product governance

Best Practice Comparison Using the LEXTA Approach

One possible approach to repositioning IT governance is to execute a fundamental Best Practice comparison on the currently existing IT governance.

Here as always we would like to point out that The Project does not exist – depending on the client and the requirements, we flexibly adapt the process where necessary in order to deliver tailored results. However, the way to IT governance generally leads through the following four stages:

1. As-Is Analysis

Depending on requirements, this analysis can either focus on individual areas of IT governance, such as the control system for basic data protection regulations, project portfolio management or IT service management processes, or create an overall view of the level of IT governance.
Examples for a structured assessment are:

  • How heterogeneous are the demands on governance?
  • What specific process characteristics exist?
  • What KPIs are particularly important?
  • What degree of governance is customary in the company, what are the regulations in other shared services (for example Purchasing or Human Resources) within the organization?

With questions like these, LEXTA gains insight into the current structures and their strengths and weaknesses. At the same time, the results of this phase paint a clearer picture of the demands on governance structures.

2.Strengths and Weaknesses Profile

Whilst the first phase is dedicated to collecting, consolidating and evaluating internal information, the following phase focuses on comparing this to companies with similar requirements. The benchmark companies are selected based on their regional spread, existing business dynamics and size, among others.

In this phase, we define the internal IT governance’s strengths and weaknesses and refine them with regards to specific key figures.

This phase aims to define a meaningful strength and weaknesses profile both compared and adapted to the market to form a basis on which the leaders involved can clearly recognize and understand improvement potential.

3.Deriving recommendations for action

In the penultimate phase the project team discusses which conclusions the client can draw for his IT governance and in how far the best practice approaches can be applied to the client’s situation and structures.

Once possible changes to governance have been defined, discussed and specified, all results are classified according to the benefit-cost-relationship in order to develop final recommendations for action by IT management.

4.Implementation

As soon as measures have been agreed with management, the last phase focuses on one thing in particular: Bringing about acceptance and support for the changes!

Even the best IT governance can only be genuinely effective when it is lived by within the company and discussions about the new methods and regulations are limited to as short a period as possible.

Therefore, implementation measures are defined in coordination and ideally in consensus with all relevant stakeholders. Combined with monitoring the achievement of targets, this ensures that IT governance is accepted and thus creates sustainable added value.

In this phase, our consultants’ own management experience is particularly effective. As resistance towards change is easily and quickly expressed, this effect can be met with a broad market view as well as a wide range of real examples.

Our consultants’ experience also helps to avoid long known stumbling blocks and delays in implementing the measures. A critical external view dampens the organization’s momentum and helps maintain the pace and effectiveness of change, even if compromises have become necessary in the meantime.

Optionally, the changes made can be reviewed after 1 to 1.5 years. This ensures that IT governance has not become a paper tiger but a real part of daily IT management.

product governance process