IT Governance: User engagement

Case 1: The Finance team has fully implemented a SaaS platform to meet their requirements. Fiance team is happy as they are able to meet the requirement of compliance even though the new system does not integrate with any other platform existing within the organization. The IT team is not happy to support another new system which has suddenly appeared out of blue. The issue is escalated to CIO who obviously unhappy about his IT Governance model has proven ineffective.

CIO raises the issue with the CEO, rightly, with all his concerns on IT Governance framework and CEO is happy with the business outcome and regulatory compliance achieved by finance department. CIO and IT department are told to oblige, triggering an “us versus them” mentality between IT and finance departments.

Case 2: A company engaged in highway services wins a contract to start tracking accident and error reports for a state highway, they can afford neither the time nor cost of that “big picture” approach of IT Governance toward a unified system vision. What is needed for them is to get staffing, supporting software and databases and start honouring the project. “IT Governance processes and mandates will put them at risk of missing all critical deadlines”, feel the people engaged in the project delivery, “and IT Governance is useful in preventing unnecessary IT procurement but not in preventing silos.”


IT Governance is really about business governance. Whether it is a new project or a new platform or application to be implemented, the goals of organizations should have clear components of each business unit – IT or HR or Finance etc and IT being an enabling partner of the business, should focus upon realizing the business benefits. IT should accomplish this by collaboratively establishing an IT governance process by actively engaging the business users. The processes and policies, designed as a part of IT governance implementation, are to be adopted by all and not just IT. It is not just involving users when the policy is framed, it is critical to have business users outside IT to actively involve in the meetings of the ongoing governing body.

Creating governance without user engagement will spell disaster for IT governance process.Compliance requires buy-in and that means soliciting end-user opinions especially when specifying rules, regulations, policies, orders, demands, mandated sequential small steps that are actually big policy changes, and so on.

User engagement also include conducting regular awareness and training programs for users where the policy, procedures, business goals and requirements need to be effectively communicated to the users.