A few weeks ago, I contributed my time and energy with nine other global ISACA experts on the development of our position and contributions to the emerging governance standards as part of the ISO liaison task force. The task force was established to focus on various ISO standards, including ISO\IEC 38500 ICT Governance, ISO\IEC 20000 Service Management and the ISO\IEC 27000 series of security standards. Our ISACA involvement in international standards has been increasing in line with the global adoption of standards and the importance our members are placing on them (more on the outcome of the meetings soon).
One of the key discussion points surrounded governance, its evolving definition, and how to effectively collaborate and communicate within the general community. Within ISACA, and especially in the development of COBIT 5, we have become aware of the growing concerns regarding risk and value, expressed not in IT terms but in business terms. This is a clear reminder that both public and private enterprises fundamentally exist to deliver value to their stakeholders. To deliver value, an organization must operate with a risk and value posture that is acceptable to the enterprise and leverages resources appropriately (i.e., “smart” spending and saving), especially in this agile world.
Interestingly the topic of agility seems to be cropping up at many recent conferences, but what most people are really talking about is the idea of failing quickly. I asked one of these speakers this week, “How do you know you are failing and when to stop the initiative?” The speaker immediately dodged the question and commenced discussion about the number of initiatives that had launched.
Now, we need to be agile and we need to drive value, but this is not an excuse to circumvent an effective decision-making process. In this agile world, timely decision making is at a premium, which means quick reactions to change are essential. Decision-making accountabilities must be shared among many people—and when accountability must be shared, governance should also come into play. Successful enterprises ensure that they have implemented an efficient and overarching system of governance that facilitates the achievement of their desired outcomes, both at the enterprise level and at each level within the enterprise.
I speak with governance professionals globally, and even for those of us in the field, “governance” still continues to be a misunderstood term, particularly with confusion around the definitions of governance and management. I was recently reminded of the Taking Governance Forward web resource launched late last year. It’s meant to be a forum for the communication, education, debate and contributions to governance.
This initiative, led by the IT Governance Institute, is designed to help clarify the complexities of governance by delivering a platform for discussion and collaboration to help advance enterprise governance. The web site provides significant education and guidance through practical tools, including the innovative “governance on a page” concept offering clear guidance for implementing effective governance.
- Discussion forums
- Common agreed-to definitions
- Mapping details
- Diagrams to illustrate the concepts
Don’t get me wrong—agility is critical in this evolving business environment, and what we need to do is evolve our governance processes to be relevant, efficient and effective. This requires an understanding of governance coupled with your contributions to take it forward.
Let me use this opportunity to encourage you to check out Taking Governance Forward and get involved in driving governance!
Note: This post originally appeared in Robert Stroud’s CA Community blog here.
Robert Stroud, CGEIT
Member, ISACA Framework Committee
Vice President and Service Management, Cloud Computing and Governance Evangelist, CA Technologies
We welcome your comments! Please log in using the Sign In button at the top right of this page and then leave your comment in the box at the end of the post.
To view all blog posts, please click on the ISACA Now button in the blue box on the left.