Simply put, it’s putting structure around how organizations align IT strategy with business strategy, ensuring that companies stay on track to achieve their strategies and goals, and implementing good ways to measure IT’s performance. It makes sure that all stakeholders’ interests are taken into account and that processes provide measurable results. An IT governance framework should answer some key questions, such as how the IT department is functioning overall, what key metrics management needs and what return IT is giving back to the business from the investment it’s making.

Organizations today are subject to many regulations governing data retention, confidential information, financial accountability and recovery from disasters. While none of these regulations requires an IT governance framework, many have found it to be an excellent way to ensure regulatory compliance. By implementing IT governance, you’ll have the internal controls you need to meet the core guidelines of many of these regulations.

The discipline of information technology governance first emerged in 1993 as a derivative of corporate governance and deals primarily with the connection between an organization’s strategic objectives, business goals and IT management within an organization. It highlights the importance of value creation and accountability for the use of information and related technology and establishes the responsibility of the governing body, rather than the chief information officer or business management.

The primary goals for information and technology (IT) governance are to (1) assure that the use of information and technology generate business value, (2) oversee management’s performance and (3) mitigate the risks associated with using information and technology. This can be done through board-level direction, implementing an organizational structure with well-defined accountability for decisions that impact on the successful achievement of strategic objectives and institutionalize good practices through organizing activities in processes with clearly defined process outcomes that can be linked to the organization’s strategic objectives.