2.6.2 What is ICT Governance?
Weill and Ross15 have published research on ICT governance that provides a definition and framework. This is useful to support an improved understanding of ICT governance and to illustrate how it can be used to better alignment ICT with institutional strategy.
They define IT governance as:
'specifying the decision rights and accountability framework to encourage desirable behaviour in the use of IT. The complexity and difficulty of explaining IT governance is one of the most serious barriers to improvement.'
They state that ICT governance is about who makes decisions while management is about making and implementing the decisions. They assert that effective ICT governance will answer three questions:
- What decisions must be made
- Who should make these decisions
- How are they made and monitored
The following are extracts and adaptions from Weill and Ross, IT Governance:
As part of their research Ross and Weill have put forward a generic framework showing the design considerations for ICT governance. The framework diagram illustrates the requirement for harmonisation of institutional strategy and organisation with ICT governance arrangements and the institutional performance goals.
The institutional strategy, ICT governance arrangements and performance goals are enacted through the ICT organisation and desirable behaviours, ICT governance mechanisms and performance metrics, respectively.
Weill and Ross suggest that there are five interrelated ICT decisions that should be considered together with the decision making structure and the following diagrams have been adapted from their work to illustrate a HEI governance framework:
|Key ICT Governance Decisions|
1 ICT principles
High-level statements about how ICT is to be used in the institution
2 ICT architecture decisions
Organising logic for data, applications, and infrastructure
These are captured in a set of policies, relationships and technical definitions
They ensure the desired institution and technical standards and levels of integration are achieved
3 ICT infrastructure decisions
Centrally co-ordinated, shared ICT services that provide the foundation for the enterprise’s ICT capability
5 ICT investment and prioritisation decisions
Decisions about how much and where to invest in IT, including project approvals and justification techniques
The institution is required to decide the governance arrangements for each key decision area. The harmonising of each decision making group will significantly affect the decisions and outcomes and is therefore able to effect strategy alignment. The groups or governance archetypes have been categorised as:
|Institutional monarchy||Senior institutional managers|
|ICT monarchy||IT specialists|
|Feudal||Each faculty, school, department or section making independent decisions|
|Federal||Combination of central institutional and faculty, school, department or section with or without ICT professionals|
|IT duopoly||ICT group and one other group (institutional management or academic/administrative people involved|
|Anarchy||Isolated individual or small decision group|
These archetypes are used below to illustrate an example governance structure:
|An example of the ICT governance decision making structure|
|ICT Principles||ICT Architecture||ICT Infrastructure Strategies||Institutional Application needs||ICT Investment|
|Federal||Federal||ICT monarchy||ICT monarchy||Duopoly||ICT monarchy||Duopoly||Federal||Duopoly||Business monarchy|
Examples of groups used by institutions are included as mechanisms for governance in the above diagram:
|SMT||Senior Management Team, Management Board||ISSG||Information Systems Strategy Group|
|ISC||Institutional Strategy Committees||AG||Architecture Group|
|CIO||Chief Information Officer, Director of Information Systems or equivalent role||AAH||Academic/ Administration, Deans, Head of School, Department, Sections|
In this way a governance framework for HE could be represented as shown in the following example: