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A Practical Approach for IT Governance

Archive for June 2012

Using the Technology Capability Framework as a Guide

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A useful context for understanding the overall IT governance requirement for medium to large IT organizations can be found in the following Technology Capability Framework.

The framework helps enterprises better understand the objectives of IT governance and the associated IT leadership orientation and capabilities for 3 major maturity levels of governance in an orderly progression. Once this framework is understood, IT Leadership can conscientiously plan and take actions that build an IT governance capability that provides ever-increasing value to the business.

The Service Management maturity level is focused on efficiency in handling a variety of user requests including help with user technical problems, requests for new capabilities and services such as setting up a new employee with the required hardware and application services or in managing IT incidents and delivering solutions to restore services. Service Management can also help with application deployments as well as tracking and managing the configuration of deployed resources and assets. Emphasis is on quickly resolving requests with solutions that work the first time and controlling the impact to achieve a known condition. Reporting against SLAs for problem response is provided along with a variety of user defined dash boards reporting on active requests by priority, tickets created by category. Also trend reporting, response time/trends and days to resolve by priority are a few of the views that are useful. User satisfaction input at the completion of a problem resolution is helpful along with periodic user satisfaction surveys for both the direct users and their management. A good service management process framework is based on ITIL best practices and reduced process variation is a key objective.

IT leadership orientation for this level of IT governance is focused on developing processes in conjunction with business users for such processes as on boarding new employees, acquiring hardware and software for employees and standing up infrastructure for new locations. IT leadership must develop relationships and interact with the business unit management to understand its needs. In addition IT leadership focuses on standards, processes and training for technical IT resources to ensure an efficient service management operation that meets the enterprise needs.

The Project Management maturity level is focused on justifying, planning and executing major project and IT technology initiatives that involve significant costs and resources and inherent risks. Capabilities for this level include easy to use standardized project plan construction, understanding and visualizing resource and infrastructure constraints to achieve on time results. In addition the governance application must help users understand and visualize resources and estimated costs at completion and measure the changing direction of risks. It is also important to highlight problems and constraints for timely resolution so it is clear to the user what action is required to address the issue.

End users and management users of the project management governance application must be able to see and understand projects with related dependencies. The application should help users understand and visualize total portfolio resources and costs and understand and visualize categories and enterprise impact as well as aid in project/initiative prioritization and rejection or postponement. The governance application should allow for a classification of the project and enable a clear linkage back to the core business requirement(s).

IT leadership orientation for this level of IT governance is focused on working with business management and building relationships. IT leadership interacts with the business unit management to understand their needs and define approval and review processes, ensuring the appropriate business unit participation in the project/initiative and fostering PM skills training and best practice disciplines through well understood PMO structures. IT Leadership works with business management to determine user discretionary spending limits and other thresholds and incorporates these into the application work flow and user authorities. Connectivity to mobile devices is also required for users of the project management governance application.

The Resource Management maturity level is focused on enabling the longer term business blueprint and enabling major impacts that can transform the organization. Deep and powerful analytics are central to achieving this goal. At this level, IT management works with the prioritized project portfolio to determine budget needs for the current operating budget and capital needs over the planning horizon. The resource management governance application helps the IT leadership understand and visualize the flow down of business requirements into IT requirements. Project lists and dashboards help both IT leadership and business management understand and visualize the total enterprise portfolio associated cost and resource requirements. Summarized views of resource requirements help ensure adequate management of the resource demands by resource type and help avoid project/initiative slowdowns due to resource shortages. Dashboards are based on business intelligence and use data analytics to help assess how well IT is performing. This includes assessing ROI of IT investments, managing a portfolio of projects, conducting IT assessments, and maintaining an IT Balanced Scorecard as a benchmark of the value created by technology investments.

In this maturity level of governance, IT Leadership has a “Seat at the Executive Table” and participates in business planning and strategy. The capability of dashboards and the analytical capability to understand data and causal relationships promote new and powerful understanding of the business dynamics. IT Leadership takes the lead in this type of information discovery and presentation for the benefit of the executive team. IT Leadership becomes a trusted member of the executive team to provide fact based analysis that can be trusted for critical decision-making.

 

Written by Jeff Crowell

June 8, 2012 at 9:39 am