Governance and why it’s crucial for effective Software and Cloud Asset Management
As with any other aspect of effectively running a business, (proper) governance is an integral part of managing your on-premise software and cloud assets. Without it, you are not properly in control of your IT investments. It might seem like a bold statement, but ask yourself the following questions:
- Has your organization had to go through a software audit?
- Have you ever discovered software in your IT environment that was not procured and managed by the IT department (shadow IT)?
- Has your organization ever had to significantly increase costs for software licenses due to unforeseen developments in software usage?
- Has your organization ever suffered from a cyber attack caused by vulnerabilities in old or unmanaged software?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, the chances are that your current governance around software assets is not optimal.
Components of an effective governance framework
An overall Software and Cloud Asset Management strategy describing things like the overall scope, goals and objectives, strategic alignment with the general IT strategy, roadmap for any initiatives required and a communication plan.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
A set of measurable performance metrics to track the progress and efficiency of the strategic initiatives described in the strategy. I would recommend that you include operational, financial and strategic KPIs.
A set of guiding principles or rules intended to support decision-making and user behavior to ensure software compliance. The policies should be Precise, Clear, Trackable and Enforceable.
A set of processes describing the series of steps (workflow) required to achieve a desired result at any given time during a software’s lifecycle. The processes should include a high-level workflow diagram and a matrix of the roles and responsibilities of any stakeholders involved.
A set of easily understandable procedures describing the step-by-step instructions to fulfill an action in a process.
To improve company efficiency, building a governance framework like this significantly reduces the likelihood of the above-mentioned scenarios happening and provides you with a lot of valuable insight and control over your IT investments that can be used to make well-informed decisions now and in the future to increase predictability for more effective decision-making.
To get started building the framework, you must first assess your organization’s baseline of what is already in place and how existing governance elements can be integrated into the framework. I recommend this be done based on standards like ISO 19770-1, IAITAM best practices and ITIL to create a well-founded and industry-standard baseline.
Once the baseline is established, you can define the team and stakeholders involved to create a roadmap and start building the framework with a pragmatic approach to lay the foundation and gain fast results.
When the framework is created and implemented, it must be monitored, maintained and managed to ensure efficiency and create the desired value. This is done by regular reporting of the defined KPIs to relevant stakeholders so that any adjustments to the strategy, roadmap or other relevant aspects of the governance framework can be done proactively with no impact on the day-to-day operations.
I have personally witnessed how several organizations have struggled managing their software investments effectively by not having a proper governance framework. Having said all this, I would love to know what you think. Do you agree with this approach or have you done things in a different way?
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