Introduce a thin layer of governance to enable cost optimization and market share growth at the same time.
With the decline of the global economy, companies are more pressured to deliver more with less. I have heard many corporate leaders claim “flat is the new growth”. Sales and revenue driven organizations are increasing the visibility and accelerating the frequency of measurements. Back-office operations are taking costs out as quickly as possible through automation and the elimination of redundancy. Now, more than ever, companies need to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of their corporate assets.
Enter change management and IT governance. If you are responsible for “change management” in your organization, either as a formal role or as a leader, you deal with the concept of “efficiency and effectiveness of corporate assets.” So, how are you and your company addressing these concepts? Chances are that your ability to defer this topic is challenged due to the current economic environment. Much has been written about leadership and how to lead through tough times, what types of leadership skills are needed in declining times, or what leadership traits are most important in times like this. Leadership and having the right people to lead through these times is hard to argue against. While leadership and having the right people is required, I propose that IT Governance is an organizational capability whose star is rising and one that you and your company should exploit to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of you corporate assets.
An interesting set of opinions on this topic can be found at CIO Magazine. Few people debate the need to change in times like this. The question of “why do we need to change” is fairly apparent. The debate of change frequently centers on “what do we change into”, “how do we change”, “where do we change first”, and “how do we fund change”. The capability and techniques of IT Governance help company’s address these exact questions. There are several industry models and frameworks available like CobiT and Val IT, to name a few. Don’t invent your own, tailor existing thought leadership.
Based on my experiences, IT Governance makes a difference. In difficult times, it can serve as the conscience of the company by moderating the focus of the company’s change across the “impulse buy” decisions, and the strategic direction. Further, maturity of IT Governance is important but not necesarily critical to provide returns to the business. Few companies will heavily invest in IT Governance right now, and that is OK. Focus your leadership of change through a thin layer of the IT Governance and show returns to the business. In this case, “some is better than none”. Get a light weight IT Governance capability in place, ground it within a framework that is appropriate for your business domain, and grow it over time by increasing the discipline and capability where the business and IT need it. Remember, you can always add complexity later. That’s easy. To take complexity out is the hard part, and that is part of the role of IT governance.