June 29, 2010, 7:22 AM — by Bob Kress, Accenture - Who needs to know about your IT strategy? In short, everyone. It’s not actually that simple, of course, but if you begin your IT governance process by including as many relevant people as possible, you will be on the road to success. It is far better to pare down after you compile a list of possible stakeholders and participants than to scramble to add people to the mix later on down the road. That’s not to say you should include everyone who will be touched by an IT decision. But keeping the focus on all relevant stakeholders will lead to effective decisions that will benefit the company as a whole while ensuring a strong IT foundation.
So how do you decide who to include in the IT governance process? Here are three practical steps:
1. Define the level of leadership you need involved in your decisions. Of course, involving the most senior leadership is key, and not just from a budgeting standpoint. When executives at the most senior level participate in the IT governance process, they bring knowledge of the business and will understand the benefits of business-led IT initiatives. They will also influence those driving the IT projects to target the areas in which they are needed most.
2. Beyond senior leadership, it is important to involve the key business sponsors as well. These are not just IT people, but those who know the ins and outs of the business and can speak to the benefits to their business cases that each IT decision will bring. When the business sponsor has a stake in the success of the IT organization as a whole, the executive can better see what the company needs to succeed, both in terms of overall IT and on a project-by-project basis.
3. Finally, once the specific executives and business leaders are identified you must consider when and how to share ideas with them. One way to effectively do this is by establishing an IT steering committee. This committee can evaluate each project based on the needs of the individual business unit and those of the company as a whole.
Involving the proper leadership in your IT decisions will earn buy-in from those in-the-know, helping ensure the success of your IT project.
-- By Bob Kress, executive director of Business Operations at Accenture
More on IT governance from Bob Kress is available in the book, IT Governance to Drive High Performance: Lessons from Accenture, available here.