Information Technology governance is a field that deals with IT systems within companies in order to help them discover their full potential. COBIT offers a company various procedures and practices in Information Technology that will help them grow and expand their horizons. IT governance and COBIT work hand in hand to make sure that the company is able to open new doors of opportunities in many ways. Companies should not shy away from exploring the potential that can be gotten from these systems. IT governance has been able to help many companies around the world. (Volders n.d)
Information Technology Governance commonly known as IT Governance is a branch of Corporate Governance that deals with Information Technology (IT) systems, their functions as well as risk management. Corporate governance involves a set of procedures, customs, laws, management policies and associations that determines how an entity is dealt with. It mainly involves all sectors between stakeholders that are involved in order to work together to achieve the objectives of the company in an efficient way. Well defined corporate governance gives the organisation an opportunity to oversee all functions in its business so that they can arrive at the required goals. In this way all the necessary measures are exploited to achieve the required objectives within the stipulated time. (Goessl n.d.)
Information Technology governance main focus is information technology systems, how they work and the risk management. The main objective of IT governance is to make sure that the investments in IT are profitable, by alleviating any risks related with IT that may affect the business. This is mainly achieved through an organisational structure and elaborate functions that will take care of information, business procedures, appliances as well as communications. IT governance is how IT has a lot of importance in the whole Corporate Governance Strategy in the company but it is not considered as a discipline in itself. This however, is very essential in that it helps all the stakeholders contribute to the decision making procedures of the company. This brings out the concept of shared responsibility and thus makes sure that all the IT decisions are carried out by the business. This concept of shared responsibility ensures that informed decisions are made within the company, thus playing a great role in the success of the business. (Volders n.d)
The structure and management of IT Governance makes sure that the projected profits are achieved in an efficient and well detailed manner thus ensuring that the business will be successful. The work of IT Governance is the responsibility of the board of directors and the senior management. This is a very essential part for the business management that practices leadership and organisational constitution that ensures that the business is able to expand and fulfill all the laid down objectives. IT Governance also ensures that processes are put in place to guide the business in such a way that it adds value to the organisation while at the same checking the risks involved against IT benefits. (Oliver 2008)
IT Governance also is responsible for the various decisions made and thus accountable for all the decisions made while at the same time ensuring that there are acceptable behaviours while using IT. Governance does not deal with just decisions but rather who makes the decisions and the procedures used to make these decisions. It is all about ensuring that once individuals are assigned the authority for a business, IT will play a major role in their management, examining and controlling of the business. The procedures used in applying IT will have a great impact on ensuring weather their objectives will be achieved or not. In its quest to ensure that success is achieved and elimination of risks IT Governance ensures that positive change is also achieved. This change which is also refereed to as “business transformation” enables new business models in private and public sectors. Business transformation can bring a lot of benefits and at the same time has a lot risks that can interrupt operations bringing about serious consequences. This poses the predicament on how to weigh the risks and benefits while using IT to ensure organisational change. (Goessl n.d.)
The Control Objective for Information and related Technology (COBIT) is a set of processes for Information Technology organisation that is developed by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), together with IT Governance Institute (ITGI). COBIT presents managers; IT specialists and auditors with essential procedures and practices to assist them exploit the available resources using Information Technology and come up with the suitable IT governance in a business. The main aim of COBIT is to study, create and promote well defined international standards of IT control objectives that are supposed to be used by managers and auditors in their daily activities. They gain in so many ways from the use of COBIT since it assists them in better understanding of IT systems. In this way they are able to make decisions on the security and controls mechanisms they need in order to protect their organization through IT governance approach. (Oliver 2008)
COBIT has been put into operation in many companies. AllState, the major openly held property and injured persons insurance company, is such a company. It is located in United States and commenced using COBIT since 2000 up to date. They have used COBIT for a wide range of functions such as to scale and prepare audits, in their communication systems as well as evaluating the various tasks carried out by the company’s appliance group. The company realized that while insufficient controls render a company into many risks that can be destructive, continuous use however helps secure success in managing a company. AllState has confidence that COBIT has helped them attain stability. (Volders n.d)
The managers are able to make decisions more effectively since COBIT helps them put forward good IT plan thus being able to achieve results faster. COBIT helps define the information architecture while at the same time getting the required IT hardware and software to implement an IT plan. It also makes sure that there is continuous service delivery while examining how the IT system works. The IT users are able to enjoy the functionalities of COBIT because they are guaranteed of security, as well as process governance that are provided by COBIT. The auditors are able to recognize IT control mechanisms in a company’s IT communications. They are also able to corroborate their audit results. (Oliver 2008)
The COBIT framework contains a number of components. In order to make good business decisions, one has to be on time, with the required and precise information. COBIT Executive Summary is mainly developed for the executive managers and supervisors. It contains a well defined overview in which there is detailed information and understanding of COBIT’s main ideas and guidelines. A summary of the structure is also incorporated in order to give more comprehensive information on these ideas and opinions. The Executive Summary is also able to classify COBIT’s four major fields; Planning and Organization, Acquisition and Implementation, Delivery and Support, Monitoring and Evaluation among other IT procedures. (Goessl n.d.)
The other basic COBIT component in its structure is framework. For a business to excel, concrete structures of data and information must be put into place. The framework describes how IT practices deliver the necessary information that the enterprise requires in order to reach its goals. This delivery is managed using 34 high-level management goals, each with its own IT process, found in the four categories. The framework then checks the seven practices in sequence criteria which are; effectiveness, efficiency, integrity, availability, compliance and reliability that will help make the business successful. It also checks IT resources; people, applications, information and infrastructure to determine which will be suitable for the enterprise. (Oliver 2008)
The other component in COBIT structure is control objectives. In order to achieve and maintain profits, in a fast changing world of technology, control maintenance is important. COBIT’S Control Objectives offers a significant approach required to define clear guiding principles and excellent processes for IT controls. They also incorporate information on the desired results when the processes have been implemented. This ensures that the right decision has been achieved to help the company move forward. (Goessl n.d.)
Management Guidelines is another important component in the COBIT framework. In most cases, to secure and maintain a successful business, a company should be able to maintain a balance between the business practices and the information systems. Management guidelines consist of Maturity Models which helps to establish the right stages and prospects controls in order to balance them alongside business customs. It also consists of Critical Success Factors which help recognize essential measures of attaining control above the IT practices and processes. It also has Key Performance Indicators to determine if an IT control process is achieving it required goals. All these Management Guidelines help the organization come to terms with the various issues that require urgent attention as well as deal with everyone who have contributed to the success of the company. (Oliver 2008)
The other issue in COBIT structure is IT Assurance Guide. In order to be sure that the control goals are being accomplished, it is important to evaluate various controls associated with them. The Assurance Guide comes in to help by making available the various tools that are needed to evaluate the controls in any possible manner required, from their design to the end result. The guide also ensures that the assurance program arrangement and scoping consistency are in the best way in order to make sure that the enterprise and IT can be evaluated in the same structure. (Volders n.d)
Well designed IT governance system allows businesses to come to terms with various issues including e-commerce, security, reliability as well as information. Applying IT governance programs allows companies manage and achieve success. COBIT on the other hand helps put in order and sustain IT governance procedures in a company as well as advance IT related structures within the company. Many companies have been able to implement these systems to success and this gives the others the green light to follow suit. IT systems are the one that are giving companies great dividends annually and thus all companies should consider this advancement in technology within their own companies. (Goessl n.d.)
There are many companies and businesses in the world that need to advance but have no idea on how to do that. COBIT has succeeded in helping many achieve success through IT governance. COBIT allows organizations the power to implement common metrics. Though there are many risks involved organizations and individuals should give it a chance so that its potential can be fully realized. Control objectives and goals should be thoroughly examined to ensure that no critical areas have been ignored. In order to have success while using COBIT an organization has to ensure that its employees are well equipped. COBIT will allow the organization make great profits continuously since it gives the company an opportunity to advance in all IT areas.
Goessl, L.n.d. Benefits of using COBIT framework for IT governance, 2010, Web.
Oliver, D.2008.Implementing IT Governance using COBIT, ISO27001 & ITIL, Web.
Volders, G.n.d. IT Governance—Practical Case Using COBIT, 2010, Web.