In many organisations, the IT budget is regarded as a cost centre. Something that adds little value and diverts budget from other more ‘deserving’ or ‘important’ areas.
While the specifics of IT vary between organisations, IT provides the information systems that support service delivery. It is an investment in the organisation’s ability to do its ‘job’ – it enables the rest of the functions.
Without appropriate investment, IT cannot be that enabler and cannot provide an organisation with robust IT governance systems.
It is imperative that your organisation uses the IT budget to protect IT governance? Every organisation has to balance competing demands when it comes to budget time. Each department wants to prioritise its budget allocations.
It is important for you to ensure that the IT department is effective in communicating to your leadership and department heads the direct link between IT budget and governance outcomes. And the enabling role of IT in every part of the organisation to achieve its objectives.
There are two key elements to establishing this narrative as a compelling rationale:
- The importance of IT governance for the organisation
- The importance of IT to each department’s objectives and day-to-day operation.
We talked last week about the need to educate people on the importance of IT governance. To highlight the fundamental threat to overall governance the IT governance framework is not robust and effectively implemented. Again, part of the effect of that education is to raise the visibility and profile of IT governance in the organisation.
The first element can be considered a ‘top down’ approach: highlighting the threats to the organisation’s wider mission from insufficient IT governance. The second element is ‘bottom up’, in that it is about appealing to the departments’ self–interest. It requires IT to be compelling in explaining to the other departments the direct consequences of insufficient investment in the IT budget.
How long can the finance department operate with access to the accounting software system? Or all departments without access to email? How long will stakeholders suffer delayed responses because the confidentiality, integrity or availability of information is not sufficiently protected?
This is less about education than highlighting that if IT is not effective, it is a ‘me’ problem not an ‘IT’ problem.
This isn’t about building up IT’s primacy over other departments. It is very much about helping everyone understand that investment in IT is, in effect, investment in them. That they are reliant on IT for them to be effective. That IT wants them to be effective and achieve their objectives but it cannot do that without appropriate budget.
So, you and your IT department need to take people on a journey with you. To educate and increase their awareness and understanding that what you are saying is not just correct but important to the organisation and to them. Your IT manager needs to be an effective communicator and engage with all people across the organisation.
In next week’s blog, we will look at how to build governance investment into the IT budget and position your IT department to advocate effectively for increases to that investment over time.
Until then, stay safe.