Future challenges of leading and managing information and technology across local places, multiple organisations and sectors make governance all the more important as an issue for CIOs and Heads of ICT.
Sad as it
may sound but, right now, my mind is never far away from Socitm Futures' work in
compiling a Local Public Services ICT Strategy! Here, at the Gartner Symposium
2010, I am attending an early morning session addressing governance. "Boring!"
you may say. Yet, Tina Nunno - Gartner Analyst, argues (rightly in my view)
that good governance is a fundamental prerequisite for effective business
change driven by information and technology.
Local CIO Council meeting, last week, we debated a draft Strategy document that
I had pulled together from contributions made by teams drawn from Socitm
Futures and beyond. Governance is one of a number of areas identified as
needing to be addressed before we release the draft strategy for wider input.
rationalising, decommissioning, realising benefits and capturing savings all
will require good governance processes. But, how do we determine what is
that governance should be viewed as a leadership tool, rather than just a means
of oversight.Her session covers the
elements of good governance, sources of weak governance and how these can be
introduces three components of good governance that focus on decision-making,
or to put it another way - who has a say and who gets their way?
benefits are clear. Gartner research shows that firms with good governance, on
average, havea 20% higher return on
investment compared to those without.
that good governance is about 'control'. My mind takes me back to Andrea Di
Maio's session yesterday on social media. How does 'control' square with
letting-go and allowing space for social data/media to flourish? Tina qualifies
her statement by saying that good governance is about applying an appropriate
amount of control, not being out of control, but how do we know what is
distinguishes between standing governance mechanisms for cyclical activities -
use as few as you need, and project governance - time limited. The big problem
is prolonging programme and project governance that saps resources and undermines
capacity to do other things.
about different metaphors for 'role, brick (structure) and mortar
(communication)' perspectives on governance - Dutch (I think she means Flemish)
bond, dry set (stone), reinforced steel , veneer, and a sheep creep - hole in
wall - all of which she argues may be appropriate in different sizes/types of
organisations and cultures.
assumption is that we all assume that decisions made by a governance group will
be communicated by those in the room. Wrong! They are rarely communicated. So,
we need to take steps to communicate decisions to the relevant organisations
and their people.
Some more of
financial officer is a key, resource stakeholder. Look to them to provide the
money, then leave!
non-stakeholders have no information or resources, but they have plenty of
time!! So, don't involve them.
those with relevant information and/or resources and go back and map
stakeholders in your governance groups. It could be revealing!
governance to the cycles, including financial cycles in your organisation. (I
reflect that this will be a particular challenge in governing across places and
term 'steering committee'. It is a vague term - just because you have your
hands on the wheel does not mean that you make decisions or advise.
contribution by Tina's team is a soon to be published dashboard for presenting
business cases, which she offers as suitable for the public sector with a minor
change - substitute what she calls 'mission enhancement' for' topline revenue'.
Ah, I hear you say, but whose mission?
she says that a good governance process may kill innovation because it asks the
wrong questions! So, you need to build in exception processes for innovation into
your governance arrangements.
Tina presents a governance maturity model that allows you to assess your
governance arrangements based on six key factors, including decision-making and
leadership styles, and approach to risk.
does this tell us about governance of information and technology in places? A
'statement of the bleeding obvious' or is there more to it? Few of us would
argue that the governance arrangements for information and technology that we
have in place in our organisations are ideal. The trick is to put in place the
right governance processes for the problem to be solved with clear roles,
structures and communications built-in.
lighter note, our Rentokil Initial presenter muses, later in the day, about the
changing habits of men visiting the lavatories maintained by his cloud-based company.
Always on, anywhere, anytime - he suggest that he should build in small shelves
above the urinals for the iPad fraternity!