IT GOVERNANCE - What will guide our IT decisions?

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Continuing on with the IT governance discussion, let’s get started by defining principles.

prin·ci·ple ˈprinsəpəl  noun

Plural noun: principles

a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.


Synonyms: truth, proposition, concept, idea, theory, assumption, fundamental, essential, ground rule


With this we can agree that IT guiding principles are a related set of high-level statements about how information technology is to be used in the business. There is a clear trail from the strategy and operating model of the business to the principles that define desirable behavior in the use of IT tools and systems.

Examples of IT principles may include the following:

  • Ensure flexibility in our processes, systems and prioritization in support of evolving demand.
  • Promote technology innovation across all business domains.
  • Information systems guide product quality parameters to enable predictive science.
  • IT services and capabilities are aligned with industry and compliance frameworks
  • Solutions prioritize the use of industry standards, best practice frameworks, and a “buy vs. build” approach with interoperability across the enterprise being paramount.
  • Leverage existing technologies wherever viable and cost effective.
  • Use external partnerships for non-core capabilities.
  • Investment decisions driven by Return on Investment and Total Cost of Ownership analysis and standards.
  • Standard technology/infrastructure, leverage or re-use before acquiring new.
  • Optimize spend, eliminate waste and leverage existing contracts.
  • Protect the business’ license to operate.

IT Governance must align to and be supported by the organizations. IT policies under the authority of the CIO.  The scope of the CIO authority and accountability should be at the business enterprise level, not limited by the IT organization or placement of any IT related activities in any part of the organization.  In other works, the policy should ensure that any and all embedded (aka shadow) information technology and systems activities, are also subject to this governance.

The principles under the IT governance process should be designed to support all information technology and function decisions.   These principles need to be communicated to all staff, end user, and business unit management to ensure that all parties understand the proper role and use of IT across the business.   All other elements of the IT Governance Process flow from these principles.

Going back to IT Governance Framework described in the August 16 conversation - Principles drive IT Architecture that leads to Infrastructure. The infrastructure capability enables applications to be built based on business needs specified by the business process owners.  Finally, IT investments and prioritization must be driven by the IT principles, architecture, infrastructure, and application/service needs. 

Next time we talk about “Who should make these decisions and how these decisions are made?”  

In the meantime reach out if you have questions or comments!

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