IT Governance: Asking the Right Questions for 2023

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Digital Optimization Strategy / Healthcare / IT Consulting / Process / Technology / Thought Leadership

IT Governance: Asking the Right Questions for 2023

IT Governance: A look back

It’s that time of the year for our annual ritual of reflection on 2022 and whether to set new or refresh plans for 2023.  One area that often gets overlooked is IT Governance.  I feel the visceral reaction to the “G” word, but before you move on, ask yourself these 4 simple questions:

  1. Did you and your teams honestly realize the planned value or benefit for your organization?
  2. No doubt a lot of work was completed in 2022, was it the ‘right’ work that most benefited your business partners?
  3. Did you appropriately identify and pre-emptively address the biggest risks?
  4. Are your stakeholders satisfied with the support IT provides in achieving the mission?

If you find yourself answering ‘not really‘ to any of these questions you are not alone.

Benchmarking for Health Systems

In a study by InfoTech, CIOs reported that 88% of governance steering committees did not think their governance framework was working.  Perhaps you have checked all the right boxes for what to have in your governance, but the big question remains: is your IT governance process driving the value and achieving your digital and IT vision?

Health systems are under the weight of fiscal challenges, labor shortages, and growing distrust from consumers.  More than ever the business needs fierce collaboration with IT to achieve optimal benefits from technology just to be competitive.

With more than half of the US hospitals operating in negative margins, waste and inefficiencies must be eliminated so having the right technology aligned to the business or delivery model and managing its return on investment is more critical than ever.   If IT is not consistently and efficiently enabling its stakeholders and the organization’s success, start first with a critical assessment of your IT governance.

More than decision-making

Not to be confused with management (which can be very effective and still fail miserably under poorly designed or executed governance), Governance is more than just the decision-making process.  It is a structure that encourages the behaviors necessary to continuously achieve the business objectives today and as they evolve tomorrow. It starts with evaluating the context.

Are your business partners leading in your IT governance?  What are the business needs, what’s changed or needs to change, what’s working, where are the risks, what is success and how do we measure it?

To make improvements, one must understand the current governance model, is it formalized following the COBIT framework or ‘as you go’ governance by default?  What is the culture and how good is your organization at managing change?  Do you have the right skills and not just technical skills? Apparent questions but when was the last time they were evaluated by IT and business together?

Meeting the moment

A governance model set up during Covid will not adequately support the needs of an organization in 2023 and may in fact be unintentionally working against your organization’s success.  Does your framework align with your business realities and can it flex with the market at the right pace (not always the leader but never the lagger)?  If you are in financial recovery, has the framework for decisions and prioritization of work been realigned to the overall good, or are your teams still trying to deliver on an old vision?

Once you understand the context, you can redesign and implement an effective framework for your organization’s current needs.  Monitoring outcomes, and truly applying the learnings is imperative to realizing value.  With an effective governance framework, managers can accelerate decisions and remove obstacles confident they have clear directions to execute.  Decisions can be made at the front line without creating chaos and fragmentation and employees feel empowered to explore innovative solutions.

Value realization

The value of IT governance models can also be monetized in terms of what IT is delivering to the businesses that are driving realized returns.  You can measure better alignment of resources to the projects or technology that is providing the value.  Risk avoidance and/or compliance improvements have monetary value as well.  Stakeholder satisfaction should also be measured and incorporated into your learnings.

Benefits of improved IT governance

IT governance is the process of establishing and maintaining the framework for the effective and efficient use of technology within an organization. It involves setting policies and procedures for the management, use, and deployment of technology, and ensuring that these policies are aligned with the organization’s overall business objectives and strategies. By implementing effective IT governance, companies can realize value in several ways.

First, IT governance can help companies to better align their technology investments with their business goals and objectives. By establishing clear policies and procedures for the use of technology, companies can ensure that their technology investments are focused on supporting the organization’s strategic priorities and driving business value.

Second, IT governance can help companies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their technology operations. By establishing clear roles and responsibilities for the management of technology, companies can ensure that technology is used in a consistent and coordinated manner, leading to better utilization of technology resources and more efficient operations.

Third, IT governance can help companies to reduce the risk of technology-related disruptions and failures. By establishing clear policies and procedures for the management of technology, companies can reduce the risk of technology-related issues and ensure that the organization is better prepared to respond to and recover from any technology-related disruptions that may occur.

In Summary

Overall, implementing effective adjustments in IT governance can help companies better align their technology investments with their business objectives, improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their technology operations, and reduce the risk of technology-related disruptions. This can help health systems in particular realize value from their technology investments and support the achievement of their business goals.

Don’t be afraid and in fact, encourage your team to ask the tough questions that will help you look critically at your IT Governance process and make the proper adjustments. The benefits will be well worth it and could help make all the difference in 2023.

If you need help in developing an IT Governance assessment strategy or comparing your process to cross-industry best practices, please feel free to reach out. Technossus specializes in recommending improvements throughout the entire patient journey and can help guide your business process adjustment strategy accordingly.

Melinda Wagner MBA, MS, BSN, FACHE

Sr. Client Partner – Healthcare Practice Lead

Technossus USA