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Governance Implementation Framework

June 12, 2008

Structures involve the organization, and location of the IT function, the existence of clearly defined roles and responsibilities and a diversity of IT/ business committees. Processes refer to strategic decision making, strategic information systems planning (SISP) and monitoring, control, and process frameworks. The relational mechanisms finally complete the IT governance framework and are paramount for attaining and sustaining business-IT alignment, even when the appropriate structures and processes are in place. These mechanisms include business/IT participation, strategic dialog, training, shared learning, and proper communication. The next sections will further elaborate on these three necessary elements of an IT governance framework: structures, processes, and relational mechanisms.

Each of these practices serve specific or multiple goals in the complex IT governance challenge. However, dividing the complex IT governance problem into smaller pieces, and solving each problem separately does not always solve the complete problem . A holistic approach towards IT governance acknowledges its complex and dynamic nature, consisting of a set of interdependent subsystems that deliver a powerful whole. The necessary set for a successful IT governance implementation framework therefore consists of a mix of structures, processes and relational mechanisms (Figure).

When designing IT governance for an organization, it is important to recognize that it is contingent upon a variety of sometimes conflicting internal and external factors. Determining the right combination of mechanisms is therefore a complex endeavor and it should be recognized that what works for one company does not necessarily work for another. For example, larger companies often have a broader budget to implement IT governance mechanisms compared to smaller companies, or need to have a richer mix of mechanisms because of organizational complexity. Industry can also be a determining factor. Organizations in the finance industry are more dependent upon IT compared to a cement factory, which probably requires the finance industry to have a more solid IT governance framework. Finally, geography can also have an impact. This means that different organizations may need a different combination of different structures, processes and relational mechanisms

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