What is IT Governance?

Last Updated Saturday, October 30, 2010 10:18:35 PM


A definition of IT Governance provides many different answers even by doing a quick search on the Internet.  Thus there is no single definition for IT Governance. Different organisations and institutes have provided their own definition to the term IT Governance.

ISACA has deemed IT Governance as:

“IT governance is the responsibility of the board of directors and executive management. It is an integral part of enterprise governance and consists of the leadership and organisational structures and processes that ensure that the organisation’s IT sustains and extends the organisation’s strategies and objectives.” Board Briefing on IT Governance, 2nd Edition

Gartner being the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company defines IT Governance as:

A definition of governance is a good place to start. Oxford dictionary describes it as ". the act, manner or function of governing."

Governing is defined in part as ".regulating the proceedings of a corporation."

Gartner define Governance as "Assignment of decision rights & the accountability framework to encourage desirable behaviour in the use of IT"

In plain English, IT Governance is the rules and regulations under which an IT department functions. It is a mechanism, put in place to ensure compliance with those rules and regulations.

Search on Gartner’s Website

Wikipedia defines IT Governance to be: IT Governance is a subset discipline of Corporate Governance focused on information technology (IT) systems and their performance and risk management. The rising interest in IT governance is partly due to compliance initiatives, for instance Sarbanes-Oxley in the USA and Basel II in Europe, but more so because of the need for greater accountability for decision-making around the use of IT in the best interest of all stakeholders.

Although there are many definitions of IT Governances and rather then starting an argument, which is the correct definition. In every case the definitions involves the following:

  • Accountability of IT
  • IT compliance to rules and regulations
  • Satisfying the needs of the board and stakeholders
  • Manage IT Risk
  • Provide value to the business and control of work done

Once reading the various definitions my perspective is clear on the meaning of IT Governance. IT Governance is thus, “IT related risk is to be managed effectively and IT related business investments are to deliver sustainable value, governance must be effective, efficient and transparent.

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