Information and technology (IT) governance is a subset discipline of corporate governance, focused on information and technology (IT) and its performance and risk management. The interest in IT governance is due to the ongoing need within organizations to focus value creation efforts on an organization’s strategic objectives and to better manage the performance of those responsible for creating this value in the best interest of all stakeholders. It has evolved from The Principles of Scientific Management, Total Quality Management and ISO 9001 Quality management system.
Historically, board-level executives deferred key IT decisions to the company’s IT management and business leaders. Short-term goals of those responsible for managing IT can be in conflict with the best interests of other stakeholders unless proper oversight is established. IT governance systematically involves everyone: board members, executive management, staff, customers, communities, investors and regulators. An IT Governance framework is used to identify, establish and link the mechanisms to oversee the use of information and related technology to create value and manage the risks associated with using information and technology.
Various definitions of IT governance exist. While in the business world the focus has been on managing performance and creating value, in the academic world the focus has been on “specifying the decision rights and an accountability framework to encourage desirable behavior in the use of IT.”
The IT Governance Institute’s definition is: “… leadership, organizational structures and processes to ensure that the organisation’s IT sustains and extends the organisation’s strategies and objectives.”
AS8015, the Australian Standard for Corporate Governance of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), defines Corporate Governance of ICT as “The system by which the current and future use of ICT is directed and controlled. It involves evaluating and directing the plans for the use of ICT to support the organisation and monitoring this use to achieve plans. It includes the strategy and policies for using ICT within an organisation.”