In 2020, the challenges for effective IT governance are different than at any time in the past. The rate of change of technology and threats and the shifting world of governance are particular challenges to developing and maintaining good IT culture. 

So, what is good IT culture in 2020? I’m glad you asked. 

The key issues are: 

  • A strategic, rather than technical, focus 
  • Governance: information governance; security governance; operational governance 
  • Accountability and transparency. 

Having a strategic focus 

It’s a common problem: people who are focused on the technical rather than the strategic. 

The draw to get down into the technical layer is very strong. To fix and fuss and perfect. It needs to be resisted at all times. A good illustration is the trap of falling in love with the solution, rather than keeping the problem at the centre. 

We’ve done it ourselves. There’s a great widget for Office 365. It makes the whole platform more manageable and effective for every organisation. And it’s something whose value 99% of clients will disregard. 

Keeping that strategic focus is an everyday challenge. It keeps you looking at the organisation’s broader goals and how IT supports them: 

  • What are the strategic imperatives of the organisation? 
  • What are the challenges to achieving those imperatives? 

One major challenge is ensuring that there is a clear IT roadmap that aligns the strategic focus to the operational. In turn, that roadmap should be underpinned by governance. 

Governance, governance, governance 

Governance is a set of authorisations, policies and processes to ensure that your organisation’s IT operates as it should. 

There are three aspects to governance:

1. information,

2. security and

3. operational.

We will cover off information governance today and then next week look at security and operational governance. 

Information governance is a framework for how data is secured and handled within your organisation. Indeed, it needs to balance the security of information and its use. Information governance is not records management – at least, not in isolation. It is a coordinated approach to managing information across an organisation to support outcomes. 

The National Archives of Australia produced an excellent table that highlights why information governance is important:

Benefits of information governance  Consequences of poor information governance 

Enhances information quality and authenticity 

Data quality issues 

Improves integrity and reliability 

Unreliable information 

Improves findability and accessibility 

Information is difficult to findInformation is difficult to interpret 

Improves accountability and reduces risk 

Non-compliance with regulations and legislation Reputation damage 

Enables appropriate controls 

Security breaches 

A holistic approach for information needs that encourages opportunities and efficiencies 

Information silos, which exposes the agency to risk and limits opportunities 

Enables whole-of-government collaboration and innovation 

Difficult to implement machinery of government change and stifles whole-of-government innovation 

Next week: security governance, operational governance and the importance of accountability and transparency.

Until then, stay safe. 

Managed IT