IT: Cobit Models of Governance

Ricardo Pérez. Professor. Instituto de Empresa

26 September 2005

Many companies have been slow to appreciate the benefits of coordinating business strategy and technology management. But those who have succeeded at integrating the two have succeeded at boosting their competitiveness.

An important question facing many companies today is the role technology management should play within their corporate strategy. This matter should not be tackled as "just another task" but rather it should be considered a priority given the degree to which technology can help boost competitiveness. The direct link that exists between technology and competitiveness is becoming increasingly evident everyday. However, companies have not always considered information systems to be vital to their corporate strategy. Rather the issue has been left to management committees who often fail to appreciate the importance of including a systems expert in their decision-making process. As a result, information systems have no bearing on corporate decision making. Nor is there any relation between the needs of business and the technology used to meet those needs. Companies that have proven most successful with technology are those that have set up departments or committees devoted to coordinating decision making and information systems. These groups have both information system specialists and business people on their staff.

CobiT

Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (CobiT) is a collection of best practices in IT governance management designed to create specific risk-control and decision-making systems.

CobiT has devised a scale (0-5 ) based on standardised and perfectly processes that is uses for measuring IT governance excellence. Its main aim is to enhance IT excellence and help companies attain the IT and information resources they require by involving both business executives and the IT department in the decision-making process. The team then establishes a series of indicators that enables it to plan, implement, support and control the information systems that operate throughout the organisation, as well as to delegate responsibilities and decision-making tasks. These standards were developed in 1992 by the IT Governance Institute and have become among the most respected standards in the world today. Using them requires efficient and elaborate planning and a clear idea of a company’s technology needs and expectations, as well as the ability of putting in place the mechanisms to achieve these goals. The ultimate objective is to help companies manage their IT investments.

Integration with other standards

One of the main advantages of a 'high-level' model such as CobiT is its capacity for integration with other more specific models such as those highly specialized in security or in the supply of services. Many technology-based companies have already adopted these standards. Now it is the turn of those companies eager to enhance their competitive strategies. Business leaders and IT departments now depend on technology to assess the expectations and gauge the results provided by information services within companies.

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