Governance 2.0

governance (2)These days you can’t flip through an IT industry magazine without finding some mention of the phrase “IT Governance”. In fact, a quick search of the term on Google nets out over 7500 results of articles dated within the last 24 hours. Even with 2009 Enterprise IT budgets nearly flat or worse, several CIO and IT leadership teams are still investing resources in governance-oriented initiatives. So what exactly are they doing, and why?

For many IT employees, exposure to these concepts began back in 2005/2006. Right on the heels of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, governance initiatives gained IT celebrity status as an effective insurance policy for senior executives required to sign off on the controls surrounding public financial reporting. These first initiatives focused on ensuring adequate visibility into all IT activities impacting financial systems, and defining roles and responsibilities within the approval chain.

Three years later, what have we learned and gained? For the most part, IT has met its initial objectives of providing visibility and establishing controls. True demand for IT services and their resulting business benefits are now finally being captured and evaluated, while the advent and adoption of IT Governance and Management frameworks like COBIT and ITIL are allowing words like “process” and “standards” to become part of the lexicon of the company culture. So where do we go from here? What is the next generation of IT Governance initiatives? The answer is a maturation of the next set of IT management disciplines, or Governance 2.0

The newly established visibility provides an IT organization with the information it needs to make better decisions on financial investments, resource allocations, and strategic alignment of work with business objectives. Therefore, savvy IT leaders should now shift their focus to maturing their financial, resource, and portfolio management capabilities. Meanwhile, the adoption of performance-based behavior within an organization encourages continuous improvement of both project and operational delivery services. Therefore, these same leadership teams should look to extend their project and operational management capabilities to improve overall performance or reduce costs.

Recent Governance 2.0 engagements have met with great success. A large healthcare provider in the Los Angeles area engaged Acquity Group to enhance its existing IT Change Management capabilities in order to support the increase in demand from a recently deployed enterprise software package. By focusing on the improvement of these additional disciplines, IT moves one step closer to true integration with the business.

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