UPFRONT : LETTERS Local Courage

Everett Johnson’s piece “Performance vehicles”, on page 70 of your September issue highlights topic which is very relevant for New Zealand senior executives and boards. We have several of our own examples of expensive IT projects failing to deliver all or part of their promised benefits.
The cause of these failures has often been identified as failure to adequately manage the IT investment and development process. Projects have not been aligned to the enterprise’s business goals and there has been lack of an effective IT governance structure at the highest organisational levels.
Often in the past, the cart has been before the horse and much hyped IT solution has been applied to an ill-defined business problem with the inevitable disappointing or even disastrous result.
There are very few enterprises at any level these days which do not have to make some investment in IT to ensure they are able to deliver quality products and services in timely and efficient manner. This investment can be expensive but the benefits IT can deliver are often essential to competitive advantage or even survival. Therefore ensuring your enterprise gets maximum value from its IT investment is imperative.
Everett Johnson’s article outlines sound process for ensuring that enterprises are able to maximise the value of their IT investment. Having identified the current IT issues within the enterprise and assessed the level of maturity of their current IT governance process, boards can then begin to implement an effective IT governance process. The process Everett Johnson describes is the result of extensive research by the ITGI and its effectiveness is borne out by the improved performance of those enterprises which have put such process in place.
The solution to this longstanding problem is known. We now need the nous to acknowledge it and the courage to implement it at the highest levels of the enterprise.

Alisdair McKenzie, president, Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) Wellington & Frank Van der Zwaag, president, ISACA Auckland

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