IT Governance must change to avoid a state of ‘information anarchy’
Wed 11 Nov 2015
For Arturo Umaña, IT Governance Officer and Group Enterprise Architect at Vienna Insurance Group, there remains a critical misunderstanding about the area of IT governance and its role in a company’s corporate strategy.
In his address to the Cloud Expo Europe audience today, Umaña outlined three major misconceptions surrounding governance. He explained that business professionals often wrongly associate the discipline with the surveillance of IT operations and processes. So too, he added, do they confuse the area with the implementation of security measures and control practices. He said that it is also common for professionals to imagine governance as a key participant in board-level decisions. Although Umaña agreed that there are clear overlaps with these areas and that governance does help support these enterprise operations, he contended that it does not manage them exclusively.
“Doing things right,” was instead his definition of the field. For Umaña, governance is a key enabler for helping businesses realise their IT strategy, whether that be in terms of innovation, reacting to the environment or industry trends, or even guiding a company’s digital vision. He advised that an effective IT governance officer should establish policies, guidelines, and best practice in support of corporate aims, and enforce regulation appropriately in line with this progression.
As Umaña pointed out, we are currently entering a new, fast-paced world of technology with the introduction of mobile computing, social media, and most recently the Internet of Things and the development of self-driving cars, smart homes and wearables. He refers to this as the age of data democratisation, which has ushered a mass, voluntary interchange of information – a paradigm shift that is redefining how people understand privacy.
Umaña argued that facing this new trend, regulation and enforcement is simply not sufficient and that traditional governance practice will head for an inevitable crisis should it not evolve with the times. He urged that IT governance should not stand in the way of the revolution, but must move quickly in support of the advancements to avoid what he warns may inspire “information anarchy.”
Raising awareness around data quality and sensitivity is critical, said Umaña, adding that training via effective campaigns, videos, and face-to-face meetings could help support this objective. Concluding his session, Umaña reiterated that IT governors must grow with industry developments – evolving from a traditional ‘police force’-style department into a body dedicated to informing colleagues and supporting a wider business agenda.