What is IT Governance, Simply..

Published on 07 Jun 2023 | 8 minutes reading


In today's world, businesses are more dependent on technology than ever before. IT systems and infrastructure are at the heart of almost every operation, from communication to customer service, supply chain, talent acquisition, accounting & billing all the way to decision-making support systems.

According to statistics published on Statistica,Global IT Spending have been double over the last 20 years to $4.6T in 2023, which means businesses have the responsibility of controlling those cost by ensuring that all IT investment have a clear and direct contribution to businesses goals and objectives.

That's where IT Governance comes in, if you come to think of it as a technical topic, it is really not. Governance its about ensuring the created value of IT rather than managing the technology itself.

Think of Governance like GPS system for your business IT Landscape. It helps focus your lens on what’s important in that landscape, prioritize your investment whether its time or money and , ensure they are optimized, risks associated are managed, and resources are utilized.

Dont just lead, Govern

While self management skills like Time Management, Communication Skills, Continuous Development, Self discipline are important skillset for everyone in life. When managing single team, skills like team building and development, task and may be project management, conflict management, decision makin, financial planning are critical to be successful manager..

But with a leadership position, where you manage multiple teams, skills like strategic thinking, portfolio management, performance management, risk management need to be framed in well-established tailer-made framework that been agree upon from Board to the lowest management level to ensure alignment and achievement at all levels.

Dont just lead, Govern. Evolution of Skills, Self, Manage, Lead, Govern

What is it?

If you look it up in a dictionary, you will find that it derived from the word Govern (verb), which means:

  • to rule over by right of authority
  • to exercise a directing influence over; guide 
  • to hold in check; control 
  • to constitute a law

and this applies to almost in every aspect of our life, you can find it in:

  • Games; like chess, foortball: rules are focusing providing a guide pieces should move to achieve a win, its not discussing tactics.
  • Personal life; where you declare values, principles and goals (i.e. code) that direct almost all your decisions in life. 
  • Social group; like a family or friends where you set responsibilities, expectations that rule those relationships.
  • Community; physical or online, communities almost always have code of conduct guiding what can and can’t be done.
  • Organization; whatever the form, bylaws and policies are in place to direct, control organization or a certain aspects like Finance or our focus here IT.
  • Nations; where there are establishments that govern, thus the word government, that rule over its people, entities, resources and relationship among these and other nations in the world.

Governance is the act or process of overseeing control and direction of subject matter, in our focus it is IT where IT Stands for Information Technology, an organization unit responsible for development, and management of technology, In all its aspects (People, Processes, Tools).

IT Governance pillars, Benefit Realization, Resource Optimization, Risk Optimization

Govern vs Manage

A survey conducted by MIT found that 58% of senior managers have difficulty on explaining how to govern IT, And in my view this stem from a confusion between Governance and Management, the figure details the difference from multiple aspects.

Core differnece of Governance vs Management

What it is NOT?

IT Governance is often confused with these:

  • It is NOT IT Management, for instance, while IT Management focus on planning, delivering, running and monitoring the Security state , Governance focused on evaluating the directing the function to achieve a control for organizational identified risks.
  • Is NOT Technology implementation, implementing GRC tool whatever advanced it is, it might help but but it not really governing, as carrying the required evaluation, monitoring and optimizationation those processes.. almost all attempts of governance that starts with software ends up on the shelf.
  • Is NOT a solely IT Job, while IT unit is important stakeholder of implementing governance, Almost all organization that tried to adopt it in IT silo, ended up with the same issues they started with.
  • IT Governance Does NOT require technology skills, think of IT like a car, you use the car to go to your destination, you are not required to be a mechanic to get where you want to go.

It is really important for business and IT leaders (or those who aspire to be) to understand IT governance practices and processed to ensure that use of IT is about achieving businesses opportunites according to what this organization is created to do.


It is really important for business and IT leaders (or those who aspire to be) to understand IT governance practices and processed to ensure that use of IT is about achieving businesses opportunites according to what this organization is created to do.

Did you find this article useful?