Information Technology Governance

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INTRODUCTION

Large companies are often complex in themselves, however even with the best of circumstances, influences both internal and external frequently wreak havoc upon the organization itself. Patchwork fixes, quick workarounds and modifications can often leave systems unruly and vulnerable. This more often than not results in unnecessary and cumbersome trials to not only maintain the existing system but also to ensure the add on does not adversely affect the surrounding systems. In addition to this, data is regularly moved from one place to another and consequently may be fractured or corrupted.

In times of volatility such as the recent global financial crisis, companies must put into perspective the necessity of altering their strategies and their long-term goals. Information technology can play a pivotal role in facilitating such changes in the way that the business operates and brings products or services to market. As these companies plan their strategies to weather the difficult period, they should in turn, also consider the possibility of utilising this time for change to amend their information technology infrastructure in a way that can promote innovation and ingenuity targeting new areas for growth.

When being audited, looking solely to the information technology department to cut costs can often turn out to be a fruitless endeavour. A combination of information technology input and business direction can achieve a greater level of efficiency and ultimately produce greater savings over simple budget cutting. By bringing together leaders from both information technology and other business areas, communication is increased, existing issues are brought to attention and solutions can be collaborated on to find better outcomes than just cutting existing costs. Whilst simply removing expenses may help in the short term, increased flexibility, accelerated entry of products into the market and increased efficiency and effectiveness will not only assist with surviving a market downfall but will also improve business performance once the market begins to stabilise. Whilst most companies will dive into disaster control mode to see themselves through hardship, companies that take on an approach to improve performance rather than severe a limb will not only see their way through the hardship but will also align themselves for a speedier recovery.

Information technology is not mutually exclusive to the core of the business. It should not be considered a separate entity to be controlled and maneuvered by the ‘tech team’. It is a vital component of the business and its operations and as such requires active governance. Just as the dependence on a solid information technology infrastructure increases, so too does the increasing potential for catastrophic failure if not properly managed. Similarly there is evidence to suggest a swelling in the level of investment being injected into the information technology area and as this inflates, accordingly, the potential for financial loss also increases with the threat of a failed investment. Encompassing this, information technology governance practices must be incorporated within the business in order to give effective consideration to both the business targets and the information technology business enabler.

This subsequently demands a degree of privacy, legislation and compliance surrounding the information technology data management and information security processes, which are becoming exponentially more and more complex. The frequency of information technology breakdown continues to increase however it is often found not to be due to flaws with the technology itself, but more often it found to be the lack of due diligence and business regulations surrounding the appropriate accountabilities and answerabilities. increase

BACKGROUND

Most companies will have information technology architecture implemented, however very few of these companies posses an...
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