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Enterprise governance guide for CIOs and IT executives

An enterprise governance program is key to the IT success of many organizations. Learn how to properly govern IT assets and resources and align IT governance and compliance.

CIOs aren't merely technologists -- they're also often strategists charged with building the best governing structure for their IT organizations. Enterprise governance programs encompass both the day-to-day aspects of running IT as well as overarching enterprise planning initiatives. Governance plays an important role in the establishment of IT decision-making panels, determinations regarding staffing and resource allocation and the processes behind provisioning and maintaining specific technology projects.

In this CIO Briefing, learn how to find the best IT governance frameworks for your organization, how to establish an IT data governance strategy, how public-sector governance programs are saving states time and money, and how to align your IT governance and compliance approaches.

This guide is part of SearchCIO.com's CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance and advice that addresses the management and decision-making aspects of timely topics. For a complete list of the topics covered to date, visit the CIO Briefings section.

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  Finding the right IT governance frameworks
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As more focus is put on flexibility and agility in IT leadership circles, some CIOs are turning to the agile development methodology for software development. Agile methodologies help organizations respond quickly to market changes forcing them to spend their development time on features that will bring the most value to the business.

Companies in that camp include British Airways PLC, which converted to agile software development in 2007, and the $500 million Catalina Marketing Corp. (CMC), which adopted a hybrid agile/waterfall methodology for a business transformation effort after a pure agile effort failed.

"One of the key levers you can pull to increase productivity is speed," said Mike Croucher, head of software engineering at British Airways. "The second lever was the business. Seeing the market constantly change, we realized we needed a process to make quicker changes."

The agile development methodology emphasizes iterative software design, where business stakeholders and IT project leaders work together to hash out processes and design in short increments. Using agile, the development team can focus on prioritizing and implementing only those features that bring the highest value to the business, thereby eliminating waste and increasing productivity. Agile also allows for rapid change with any iteration.

Learn more in "Agile development methodology not easy but worth the effort, users say.” Also:

  Establishing an IT data governance strategy
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If an organization has data flowing across multiple systems and processes, it's time for a formal data governance program, according to data quality experts like Gwen Thomas, president of the Data Governance Institute.

"Do these organizations want rules to specify how the data should be structured, shared, accessed and used? Of course," Thomas said. "Do they want controls to enforce those rules? Of course. Do they want clear rules of engagement that show how stakeholders make decisions about these rules and controls? Of course. Now, in 2010, it's a given that organizations of a certain size want and need some form of formal governance."

Joseph Bugajski, research vice president at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc., goes even further. "In some cases, it is past time," said Bugajski, previously chief data officer at Visa Inc. "Almost every business has reporting requirements that depend upon reliable data at its source. To assert that the data is reliable requires governance. And in the simplest form, it means somebody owns responsibility for saying, 'Yea, verily, this data is accurate'."

Find out more in "Why you need a formal data governance program, and how to get started." Also:

  Learning from public sector governance successes
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Implementing an IT governance framework is increasingly important to public sector organizations as they seek to consolidate infrastructure and IT operations, cut costs amid strained municipal budgets and, above all, improve service to residents.

For example, the CIO of Massachusetts is restructuring the commonwealth's IT governance model, creating secretariat CIOs in eight government cabinets overseen by the governor. In California, the state CIO has created a series of councils to vet and implement IT initiatives.

These efforts are part of a larger trend in the public sphere toward integrated computed, according to Doug Washburn, an analyst at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. Washburn recently co-authored a report, Helping CIOs Understand "Smart City" Initiatives, that examines methods for municipal implementation of IT governance frameworks.

Better IT governance leads to better deployment of technologies to benefit municipal services, experts say.

Learn more in "IT governance framework helps public agencies boost service, cut costs." Also:

  Aligning IT governance and compliance
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Record-keeping irregularities have been at the heart of several high-profile cases that have resulted in corporate failures and economic devastation. It started in 2001, with the Enron/Arthur Andersen LLP fiasco, and continued through recent cases involving Bernie Madoff's $65 billion investor swindle, American International Group Inc.'s $3 trillion in credit default swaps, and risky mortgage derivatives that resulted in the housing collapse.

What went wrong in each of these cases is simple: Although these business transactions generated voluminous records, those records weren't necessarily accurate or useful, and the discrepancies weren't apparent. These organizations did not have effective information governance structures operating under clearly defined principles that would have ensured integrity, transparency and accountability in recordkeeping.

Until 2009, when ARMA International developed the Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles (GARP), there was no single set of principles to assist organizations in implementing records systems and policies that are the hallmarks of information governance. Effective information governance helps organizations succeed in operations, comply with legal and regulatory requirements, and avoid the type of catastrophes described above.

Learn more in "FAQ: GARP and how it helps you achieve better information governance." Also:

  More resources
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