The quality of information and its related systems revolves around the use of technology. It is an integral part of the SMB’s business and is fundamental to support, sustain and grow the business. The process of governing Information Technology (IT) in Small to Mid-Sized Business (SMBs) has a significant impact on the ultimate value that can be derived from technology. The challenge is to deliver high quality which requires sound processes without sacrificing nimbleness and flexibility.
The scope of IT governance includes all technology components (IT infrastructure, telecommunications, software applications) and resources (IT personnel, user-IT teams) necessary to effectively develop and manage technology initiatives and resources. The principal objective of the governance process is to enable the SMB to achieve its business objectives.
Six principles should shape the governance process:
- facilitate the alignment of information technology with the business,
- deliver value to the business units,
- manage risks effectively,
- develop a governance process that is flexible and can be easily updated to meet emerging business needs,
- implement integrated governance that involves the orchestration of policies (including delineation of roles, responsibilities, and authorities), processes, and tools for successfully meeting SMB’s requirements, and,
- create governance structure, controls and transparency at a level that appropriately fits the personality and readiness without injecting onerous processes that can stifle productivity.
IT governance includes IT policies that establish the rules and guidelines formulated and adopted by the SMB to manage IT demand and resources. These policies are implemented by a set of operating procedures which express the IT policies in action in day-to-day operations. These procedures are also termed as Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). These SOPs are supplemented by Standards which specify the technical specifications for implementing the SOPs.
IT governance must cover User/Support Management, IT Infrastructure Management, IT Applications Management, IT Audits and IT Procurement. Measuring the effectiveness of IT governance is very subjective. IT Steering Committees and Governance Teams usually help ensure that the governance process is effective and meet the SMB’s needs.