Steering Committees Logical Starting Point for IT Governance

Ann All
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14 Tips for a Successful ITIL Implementation

Tips on completing a successful IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) initiative.

Most of us have probably heard the old chestnut about the impossibility of achieving a high-quality deliverable both quickly and inexpensively. According to conventional wisdom, you can produce something quickly and to a high standard, but it won't be cheap. Or you can produce something quickly and cheaply, but the quality will suffer. Or you can produce something with high quality and cheaply, but it will take a long time.

 

This is especially true of any type of process improvement effort. Organizations that aren't willing to invest time and money in process improvement will probably be disappointed in the results. Despite this, organizations tend to scale back on process improvement in tough economic conditions, preferring to focus on investments that yield quicker and more direct returns.

 

So John Longwell, VP of research for Computer Economics, wasn't too surprised to see organizations increasing their investments in asset management systems. Computer Economics just published its IT Management Best Practices 2011/2012 study, in which it assesses the maturity levels and growth rates of 15 of 15 IT management practices, including the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), IT project portfolio management and use of IT asset management systems.

 


While Computer Economics has seen strong growth in ITIL, project management offices (PMOs) and IT asset management systems over the past four years, Longwell told me asset management was the only one of the three practices that showed year-over-year growth:

Right now everyone is focused on short-term objectives and there is not a lot of room for big initiatives like ITIL. Strong asset management systems, on the other hand, can provide immediate returns.

Still, Longwell said, the growth in these three practices over the past few years indicates a more mature focus on processes and procedures and an increased acceptance of IT service management concepts.

 

The use of IT steering committees was the most mature of the 15 practices, with nearly 80 percent of the organizations surveyed by Computer Economics saying they have them and 60 percent saying they make full use of them. This practice "experienced steady growth through the recession," Longwell said, which I found heartening given it seems to represent a vote of confidence for IT governance. Said Longwell:

Ensuring that IT investment and resources are being aligned with business priorities is always important and it becomes especially important when resources grow scarce.

The steering committee is also one of the practices in the survey that seems to clearly call for more direct involvement from business colleagues in IT decision making. I've written numerous times about the importance of business involvement in IT governance. A steering committee provides a great starting point for a governance program, but incorporating a best-practices framework like ITIL or Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT) can provide valuable guidelines for creating a governance structure.



Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Sep 7, 2011 2:37 AM TheGrumpyProjectManager TheGrumpyProjectManager  says:

I find that too often ITIL etc. are seen as a luxury and cost, not as an advantage and tool.

Without a steering committee decisions are made by IT experts or even vendors according to their own interests. When a steering committee is established, decisions are made by the steering committee members according to their own interests. It takes some time and determination till the decisions are made based on the real interests of the company.

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