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IT Governance Consultancy – Moving from Control Focussed to Growth Focussed Approach

By Rajendra Deshpande, Chief Information Officer, Serco Global Services

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Rajendra Deshpande, Chief Information Officer, Serco Global Services

Serco is an international service company works on improving the quality and efficiency of essential services across the world. Rajendra Deshpande, the Chief Information Officer at Serco Global Services, with more than 30 years of expertise in delivering complex projects across multiple verticals, has held several key roles in Intelenet and the erstwhile Serco Global Services.

With IT becoming an increasingly integral part of business operations, IT governance has taken on a larger role in most organisations. For larger organisations, IT governance is an unavoidable component that is responsible for greater management of risk and delivery of tangible and sustainable stakeholder value from IT-related investments. IT governance determines how the IT function caters to demand, delivers value, and defends against risk. There are several elements that are involved in keeping IT governance running. The vast nature due to these several elements of IT governance can lead, among leaders, to loss of focus on essential elements, thus reducing the overall impact.

From relative anonymity a few years ago, several factors have emerged today that make formal IT governance a must have for practically every company Earlier, governance was control centric focusing on reliability , risk ,  standardisation .This was due to the fact that most of the infrastructure was on premise and CIOs focus was on building in-house capabilities.

However with the evolution of SMAC stack, technology started taking front seat in digital strategy. The approach moved from Inside-out to Outside-in. Cloud capabilities improved traditional governing parameters such as reliability, availability etc. However additional focal point took priority in IT governance such as   business growth, Focus on Customer retention, value addition and customer centricity, cyber governance etc.

Nevertheless, there are several factors that make implementation of effective IT governance a challenge for several organisations. These factors vary from organisation to organisation and are dependent on their individual environmental, political, geographical, economic and social issues. These factors, if not addressed in time, can put IT projects at a higher risk of failure.

While on one hand good IT governance results in increased productivity, higher quality and improved profits, poor IT governance can lead to lower morale, lower profits and programmatic waste.

The need for an IT governance framework has been mooted by several IT governance practitioners for some time now. IT governance frameworks offer the advantage of ensuring that best practices are followed and a clearer path for risk management and value addition. Several companies have now started using frameworks such as Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (Cobit) and IT infrastructure Library (ITIL) to assist with their IT governance implementation.

Another important aspect that companies must consider to ensure best practices in their IT governance module is the engagement of IT governance consultants.

An experienced IT governance consultant can help implement practical and proven strategies to formulate an IT governance program and road map.  There are several companies that struggle to find value in IT governance in terms of business value and ROI. A good IT consultant can effectively engage senior management in adopting essential IT governance practices in the company and ensure their implementation across the broader organisation.

Ideally, a company should have a set of core internal consultants to drive IT governance within the company. However, external consultants are a boon in cases of specific problems. The idea is to use these consultants to the company’s advantage as they can offer solutions to specific problems and also share knowledge on the latest technologies and trends that the industry is adopting.

One of the challenges that most companies face in ensuring implementation of IT governance best practices is that internal resources just do not have the time. The ideal solution for any company to ensure good IT governance is to use both internal and external services. While internally, someone can own the process; an external resource can support the internal resource and make the process easier.

At Serco, we have devised the 8Cs – Commissioning, Connectivity, Capacity, Compliance, Continuity, Cost, Care and Creativity – which focuses on everything from the turnaround time for a project to the value assessment and IT impact within the company. These parameters have been devised internally and have helped us meet success and make business more productive through IT governance.

In my opinion, IT governance will make a gradual shift from control and risk mitigation to growth centric approach. IT governance is the DNA and utmost requirement of any company in today’s age and hence engaging with IT governance consultants has become a must for most companies.

Even as Gartner puts it, when formal governance is introduced into the enterprise, the process is unclear, inflexible and cumbersome. Hence, it is important that every company sticks to a strategy and framework to ensure that IT governance is not a cumbersome task.

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