Highlight the role that the board of directors should play in bringing oversight to IT at IVK. What’s important about the board’s role?
Although IT became paramount to the business sphere, it remains the responsibility of IT departments. Nolan and McFarlan state that the majority of boards of directors remain negligent concerning IT strategies and funding. However, the board of directors should be aware of IT importance and participate in its planning. Thus, the new CIO of IVK, Barton, thoughts that the board and the senior management team of the company had to be “involved more deeply in decision making about IT matters, especially where there were opportunity and cost, or risk-reduction and cost, trade-offs” (Austin 104).
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Moreover, he suggested that the business units and the IT department had to take equal responsibility for IT implementation. However, such joint responsibility can be achieved with the help of attention to the issues of IT from the board members. It is important to involve the board in IT decisions and make them realize the responsibility. Also, since the boards define directions for the whole company, they should also be aware of the digital assets that are crucial for managing processes and the company’s resources or bringing together customers and suppliers (“Board-Level IT Governance. Research Project”). Thus, the attention of the board to the IT sphere is significant to provide control over digitized processes.
Drawing on theoretical ideas about governing IT covered in the readings, your own experience or those of others, illustrate how boards can be effective or ineffective at providing oversight to IT
The activity of boards concerning IT differs in various companies because there are no foxed standards for governing the IT-sphere (Nolan and McFarlan). Thus, the board meeting at IVK is an example of ineffective IT management. The presentation of IT was the last question on the agenda and the new CIO had only 30 minutes for the presentation. As a rule, the board members are tired at the end of the meeting, and their attention is focused on the following arrangements. Consequently, IT management as a crucial issue for most of the companies should be reviewed at special meetings dedicated to the problem.
Probably, a separate committee can be created to govern IT. The lack of oversight for IT issues from the board is dangerous for modern companies because many processes in business are digitized and need control. Another effective approach to providing oversight to IT is the transparency of IT policy. Both the IT department and the board should see how IT processes are executed. Finally, the board should be responsible for risk management in the IT-sphere of the company (“Information Technology Governance. The Role of the Board of Directors”). The shift of responsibility to the departments is an ineffective policy.
What questions should be asked and answered when deciding on the role the board should play when giving oversight to IT
Some questions have to be asked and answered concerning the participation of the board in IT governance. First of all, it should be defined if the board has enough knowledge to interfere with the IT-sphere. The board members can be successful in dustiness and efficiency in managing the company, but most of them do not have any IT education. Consequently, their excessive interference in IT processes can bring more harm than positive changes. Secondly, it is necessary to evaluate the importance of IT for the company.
In case the company can function successfully without much IT application, the board can pay less attention to this field. However, when IT is crucial for the company functioning, the board should take IT decisions. Finally, the question to ask is the financial side of IT. If there is no enough funding, the board should revise the strategic plans of the company and provide more financial support for the IT-sphere.
Austin, Robert D. The Adventures of an IT Leader. Harvard Business Press, 2009.
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Nolan, Richard L. and F. Warren McFarlan. “Information Technology and the Board of Directors,” Harvard Business Review. Web.