As I mentioned, last week I had the opportunity to speak with representatives from the University at Albany's Center for Technology in Government, or CTG. The center is working with the New York State CIO/Office for Technology to determine whether and how an enterprise IT governance framework would be of value to the state's IT enterprise.
The goal is not to create an entirely new framework that agencies within the state government must implement, which is what I first thought upon reading the press release. Instead, the center wants to determine if there are elements of an enterprise IT framework that, if added to the framework that the various agencies already have in place, would add value, either by increasing efficiency or simplifying the decision-making processes. CTG Director Theresa Pardo noted:
The governance structure that may come out of this may be, in fact, a complement to what's going on within the individual agencies. The new structure, if in fact new structure is added, will not replace the current structure. The domain-specific governance structures for the different agencies will stay in place. The question that will be put before the community is what kind of capability for decision making and planning does it make sense for us to create at an enterprise level?
But bringing enterprise IT governance into the public sector is a challenge of sorts, program manager Donna Canestraro says. Many times, public organizations want to look to IT in the private sector for guidance on what is working and what is not in terms of governance. But that won't necessarily work. She said:
Because this is truly coming from the community, it's a collaborative effort, so it's a little different than what you would find in a corporation, where they have more of a top-down approach to things... Public sector is a different environment.
Research teams at the center have been looking into IT governance activities around the world, Canestraro and Pardo indicated, with the goal of putting before the project team members all the different options that are available for improving New York State's IT governance. But if none of them make sense in the context of what the different state agencies already have in place, then the project will not result in a new framework or capabilities.
In other words, if it won't add value, New York's IT enterprise doesn't need it.