Business Magazine

Understanding the Board’s Role in IT Governance

Posted on the 14 May 2016 by Litcom

Today’s organizations rely on information technology (IT) as a crucial part of their overall enterprise strategy. As such, policies and practices that extend to IT are an integral part of this strategy- that is, IT should be governed by practices that help ensure:

  • An organization’s IT resources are utilized responsiblyWeb Development Litcom
  • Risks are managed appropriately
  • Information and related technology support and align with business objectives

IT governance is the method by which decisions are made around IT investments. The trouble arises when organizations continue to increase their IT spending but fail to see a return. Thus, the need for effective board-level IT governance in order to realize value from IT is becoming increasingly crucial.

The importance of Board Oversight

IT governance is typically the primary responsibility of the board of directors and executive management (including the Chief Information Officer). It is an integral part of enterprise governance and consists of the leadership and organizational structures and processes that ensure that the organization’s IT sustains and extends its strategies and objectives.

When it comes to IT governance, board members should oversee 4 areas:

  • Business-IT strategic alignment – The level to which the goals and objectives outlined in the business strategy are addressed within IT strategy;
  • IT value delivery – The measure of business value being delivered by the IT organization;
  • IT resource management – The method by which IT resources are being planned and managed;
  • IT risk management – The security of IT assets and privacy of critical business and customer data;
Roles and Responsibilities of the Board of Directors

Board members should aspire to evaluate and in certain instances, approve strategic plans, major programs/projects and establish priorities among competing requests for resources to ensure that everyone is aligned on those initiatives. They should also conduct formal periodic reviews of major initiatives, and operational service performance. Finally, Board members normally act as a final escalation point for major IT/business issues and their resolutions.

There are certain situations where the board specifically needs to consider getting involved in IT oversight, such as:

  • A strategic project that will leverage an emerging technology for competitive advantage
  • A major technology implementation project with a long installation period and substantial costs
  • Any initiatives related to information security and privacy

In such situations, senior level management should spend time discussing the organization’s technology initiatives. It is also critical for board members to discuss with management about the associated technology risks and how the organization protects sensitive information.

Making IT Successful in the organization

IT governance exists so that enterprise leaders can ensure that IT is successfully supporting the organization’s goals and mission. IT governance helps upper management to raise awareness and understanding among employees. Such governance also helps to provide guidance and tools to boards of directors, executive managers, and CIOs to ensure that IT is appropriately aligned with corporate goals and policies and that IT meets and exceeds expectations of the organization.


The Litcom Approach

Litcom’s professional team is equipped to provide comprehensive and efficient solutions for improving IT governance. For further information, please contact us at: info@litcom.ca

How can an IT assessment benefit your organization?

An IT assessment provides your organization perspective on the effectiveness of its systems, staff, budget, vendors, procedures and company policies. For more information, download our free guide or contact us at info@litcom.ca.
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