IT Governance decisions are supported both tactically and strategically.
The tactical support discussion could get a bit complicated as there is a high dependency on your IT department organization structure. I will try to keep it simple by referring to a typical centralized organization structure with IT relationship and program management maintained within the business. (Please feel free to reach out to discuss if you are operating under a decentralized or federated support model.)
Most commonly, an Information Technology (IT) department is organized by functional area. The IT department provides tactical support for governance decisions as exampled by the illustration below:
This is just an example of a decision support structure. The critical point is the need to articulate the roles and responsibilities of the various support groups. This effort goes far to provide clarity of decision making authority.
Now that we have outlined the tactical, lets move forward to the strategic.
The strategic supports start with the creation and maintenance of the IT Strategy. The purpose of the IT strategy:
- Helps to ensure that IT investments are aligned with Company’s most important strategic business goals.
- Provides the guidance and direction for the IT operating model, organizational changes and leadership.
- Provides long-term perspective resulting in efficiencies and cost savings.
The expected outcome of the strategy is to ensure alignment to business goals and provides the structure and guidance to realize the benefits of IT investments. The IT Strategy is developed by aligning IT business strategy and imperatives to IT programs and Roadmaps as illustrated:
The Company’s IT Strategy is developed by the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and IT Leadership Team (ITLT). (A suggested rule of thumb is to build the strategy on a three year cycle based on my experience of the most common rate of technology and business strategy change) This annually updated, rolling three year roadmap outlines the plan for IT initiatives and investments across the Company and should be the basis for annual operating and capital budgets for IT functions.
The IT Strategy has many uses in the governance process.
- It is used by the CIO to communicate the IT plan to achieve the objectives set forth by the Company President and Executive Team, as well as to gain business approval and support. It is used to support the annual capital and expense budgeting process.
- Domain IT three year roadmaps are developed based on the IT Strategy.
- The IT Strategy is refreshed annually followed by the refresh of the Domain IS and Enterprise IS roadmaps. Detailed annual plans are subsequently developed.
- Having a consolidated view of proposed projects allows the CIO of MedImmune to address issues of timing, commitment, staffing, potential leverage of resources, tools and assets, audit requirements and corporate initiatives, on a timely basis.
- Modifications are thoughtfully made throughout the year as business drivers dictate.
That last point is pretty important. An IT strategy is a key component of the IT governance management process. It is a living document, not one to be created and collect dust.
The next time I will share “How are the decisions managed”. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out with clarifying questions or thoughts on the topic to date.
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