Study: IT governance catching on

More businesses worldwide are implementing IT governance practices or considering doing so, compared to two years ago, results of a new global survey show.

More businesses across the globe are stepping up their IT governance efforts, with North American and Europe leading the way, finds a new study.

According to the IT Governance Global Status Report 2008, some 34 percent of respondents said they were implementing IT governance practices, compared to 19 percent in 2005. Commissioned by the IT Governance Institute (ITGI) and conducted every two years, the study surveyed some 750 C-level executives from 23 countries between July and October last year.

The survey also determined that 24 percent of companies were considering plans to introduce IT governance practices, compared to 22 percent in 2005 and 18 percent in 2003. In addition, only 20 percent said their organizations were not considering implementing such practices, compared to 36 percent in 2005 and 42 percent in 2003.

By region, North America and Europe had the highest adoption of IT governance initiatives globally, where 50 percent of respondents from each of these two regions indicated they have already implemented or were in the process of implementing such processes and practices. Some 44 percent of executives from Asia reported similar plans, while 27 percent of South American respondents indicated so.

"The bottom line is that many organizations around the world are needlessly sacrificing money, productivity and competitive advantage by not implementing effective IT governance," said Lynn Lawton, international president of ITGI. "Well-governed enterprises have been shown to provide better returns to stakeholders, and the same goes for governance over information technology.

"Executives need to direct their IT for optimal advantage, manage IT-related risks and measure the value provided by IT," Lawton added.

The survey also found that the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), with the ISO 20000 standard, was used by 24 percent of organizations polled and is the most preferred framework associated with IT governance. The ISO 20000 covers the IT service management aspects under ITIL.

The ITGI-developed Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (Cobit) framework, on the other hand, doubled its user base. In addition, over 50 percent of respondents indicated they were aware of the framework, compared to 27 percent two years ago.

With regards to leading IT governance projects, the CIO (chief information officer) was cited as the ideal champion for the majority of respondents (40 percent). Some 25 percent said the CEO should be in charge, while the next frequently cited roles to head IT governance were the CFO (chief financial officer) and IT manager.

Compared to the 2005 survey, more respondents were able to identify organizations which can help their companies implement IT governance. Large IT services providers or consultancy companies were the most frequently cited, followed by audit firms and smaller, niche IT players.