IT Governance

I thought it would be valuable to add IT Governance as a category within this CTO blog – for 2 reasons:

1. Provide a framework, and some pros & cons, on a simple governance process

2. Based on that simple framework, provide suggestions or ideas on how to sell into an organization that has a governance process.

The Governance Process @ Westcon

Like most organizations, Westcon has an IT governance process.  Using that as a framework, we can walk through the key components of the process and then begin to identify the importance of understanding the inputs and outputs of each step from a “selling into a company that has IT governance” perspective.

Westcon’s governance process is made up of two key components with the internal names of Business Process Engagement and the Capital Committee.  The Business Process Engagement component of the governance process is built upon the idea that any IT initiative must be sponsored (and owned) by a non-IT business owner.  Each week a all the IT related activities for a particular subset of the company (Sales, Marketing, Operations, Finance, HR, etc.) are reviewed with the senior managers of the relevant areas of the business, globally.  New projects are submitted for approval – business owner to business owner – with IT cost estimates, and these projects are prioritized against the existing slate of initiatives for that portion of the organization.  The objective of this step in governance is to make sure that IT is working on the right priorities and that there is complete transparency into what that costs, benefits and status of every IT initiative.

The second step of the process is focused on the ROI aspect of the capital investment required for IT projects.  This group meets monthly at a minimum and more often if necessary.  The committee is a formal group of global Finance and IT executives and the objective is to manage the capital assets and investments required for the firm.  The committee reviews and approves new uses of capital, based on a fairly rigorous ROI process and additionally reviews previously approved initiatives to assess if those projects are achieving their stated ROI.

With this as an example framework for how IT decisions and investments are made, we will take time in our next post to talk about the challenges and opportunities that are presented when trying to “sell into” a traditional IT organization.

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