Throughout an organization, individuals make decisions daily that influence the need for and the value received from information technology. A simple one-page framework can help companies allocate IT decision rights and accountabilities so that individual IT decisions align with strategic objectives.
Every enterprise engages in IT decision making, but each differs considerably in how thoughtfully it defines accountability and how rigorously it formalizes and communicates decision-making processes. Without formal IT governance, individual managers are left to resolve isolated issues as they arise, and those individual actions can often be at odds with each other. Our study of almost 300 enterprises around the world suggests that IT governance is a mystery to key decision makers at most companies. On average, just one in three senior managers knows how IT is governed at his company. (See “About the Research.”) In this case, ignorance is definitely not bliss. When senior managers take the time to design, implement, and communicate IT governance processes, companies get more value from IT.
While the research did not identify a single best formula for governing IT, one thing is abundantly clear: Effective IT governance doesn’t happen by accident. Top-performing enterprises carefully design governance.