How Much IT Governance Is Enough?

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

Just how much governance does an IT shop need?  This is definitely one of those “How long is a piece of string?” questions.  Clearly, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to deploying an IT governance framework within an organization.  Certainly the size of the organization, the velocity of change, complexity of the application suite, geographic dispersion and more play a role in shaping how much governance is needed over the investment in and protection of information technology assets.

Oddly enough, the approach to IT governance is easier for large businesses than it is for small to medium sized ones.  Big organizations have the complexity, size, volume, velocity and monies needed to implement things like ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) and other industry standard frameworks whereas many small to medium sized organizations, while faced with many of the same challenges, don’t always have the means nor the sophistication to do the same.  

For these organizations the challenge is to deploy enough governance and oversight to protect stakeholder interests but not so much as to impair agility, flexibility and cash flow.  For example, a Fortune 1000 company has no problem implementing disaster recovery hot sites, but a $500 million company may find the deployment of a disaster recovery hot site …

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