The Infonomics Letter
The Infonomics Letter is also available in Spanish, thanks to the
Carlos Francavilla, in
Buenos Aires. From April 2011, the Spanish editions are available
direct from the Infonomics site as downloadable PDF files. Prior
editions in Spanish are available as part of
Carlos' blog on Wordpress.
The Infonomics Letter is also available in Spanish, thanks to the generosity of Carlos Francavilla, in Buenos Aires. From April 2011, the Spanish editions are available direct from the Infonomics site as downloadable PDF files. Prior editions in Spanish are available as part of Carlos' blog on Wordpress.
Hello and welcome to The Infonomics Letter on Digital Leadership and Governance of IT for April 2013.
It is sometimes said that one of the reasons we experience difficulty with information technology is that it is such a relatively young field. We simply have not had the time to learn about how to use and manage information technology. By contrast, in the fields of finance and human resources, we have had substantial time to learn and develop the roles and behaviours that are needed throughout the organisation. Debate is a key tool for learning, in which we explore issues from two or more points of view. Considering the reality that information technology is a critical resource for business, government and society today and into the future, it is important that we pursue debate on a wide range of matters that seem as yet unresolved in the way that we plan, build and run IT-enabled organisations.
This Infonomics Letter tackles three areas of debate.
Is IT the Information replays a conversation between me and Mark Smalley in which we look at how information fits into the governance guidance of ISO 38500.
Bad Habits builds on a discussion in which Gartner’s Mike Rollings sought to identify factors contributing to Australia’s IT talent shortage.
Out of Africa replays some of the debate that arose after I posted news of what the Government of South Africa is trying to achieve on a LinkedIn discussion forum.
The Queensland Government Health Payroll Commission of Inquiry looks like grinding on for some time yet. But the lack of formal findings to date is not stopping us from being amazed at some of the behaviour that is being uncovered. Nor is it stopping some commentators from drawing potentially useful inferences, pointing to how excessive reliance on a contract workforce can result in decay of essential management process and controls.
I’m holding over for a month with comments on the ICT strategy for South Australia, but that will give me time to also comment on a strategy update for New South Wales.
We ran a very successful ISO 38500 Foundation Class in Melbourne during April. Next confirmed item on the Future Events agenda for developing Digital Leadership and Governance Skills is at the end of August when I deliver three sessions at the ISACA South Africa annual conference in Johannesburg.
Please enjoy exploring the debates this month.
Marzo 2013 Edición: Breakthrough! , en español (gracias a Juan Pardo en Madrid para cerrar la brecha de traductor, mientras que Carlos Francavilla no está disponible ).
Hello and welcome to The Infonomics Letter on Digital Leadership and Governance of IT for March 2013.
It’s been five long years since ISO 38500 was signed off for publication as an International Standard, and eight years since the original AS 8015 was published.
We saw Sir Peter Gershon reference AS 8015 in his landmark review of the Australian Government’s use of IT and thought that would mark the first major adoption – but we are still waiting in that space.
Several nations have adopted ISO 38500 as a national standard. There have been spurts of interest in the guidance it offers from all over the world, but none of that has resulted in a major move to adoption. We know of organisations (we helped some) that use the standard to guide their own activities, but none of them will talk about it because it gives them a competitive advantage. A while ago, I found a small consulting company which has built its methodology around ISO 38500. More recently, I’ve come across independent consultants who use ISO 38500 and my book, Waltzing with the Elephant, to help their clients. One of them wrote a very nice endorsement for me on LinkedIn recently.
Then the Victorian Government adopted a new ICT strategy which mandates best practice governance of IT and mentions ISO 38500 in the same sentence. Perhaps this is a pointer to widespread adoption of the standard in Australia. But now we have discovered that South Africa is months ahead of Victoria! In what I believe is an immense breakthrough, the Government of South Africa has adopted and will implement, throughout government, a new model for governance of IT that has ISO 38500 at its core. There’s an extensive review of the published material in Clear, Specific Instruction.
Boardroom Skills tells of a plea for help from an academic researcher. We look at the potential negative impact of poor and outdated advice for directors about how they can govern the use of IT.
Strategy South Australia announces the opportunity to comment on a new draft IT strategy for the state.
Extended Reach announces that our Questions for Directors are being republished by a highly respected international journal.
Remember the Queensland Health Payroll debacle. The Commission of Inquiry is under way!
Don’t miss your opportunity for Developing Digital Leadership and Governance Skills.
Best wishes to those celebrating Easter and Passover. Until the end of April – enjoy!Febrero 2013 Edición: Más Liderazgo Digital , en español.
Hello and welcome to The Infonomics Letter on Digital Leadership and Governance of IT for February 2013.
We are so dependent on technology today, aren’t we? Take it away for even a few moments, and we are often helpless. We had one of those experiences at Infonomics on February 28 – the day we should have mailed out this journal. The tree wasn’t that old, really – maybe 25 years. It was tall and healthy. It had survived severe drought, and our recent dry spell. But this week it rained – long periods of steady, soaking rain that changed the soil from concrete-like hardness to something quite different – something that offered little resistance to any force. Then came the southerly wind – not strong, but persistent. There may have been a gust. That magnificent tree gracefully collapsed onto the high voltage lines adjacent, and at once the area’s residents were again reminded that nature has a way of prevailing. The working day ceased immediately, and production of the February Infonomics Letter deferred until today – with electricity supply restored.
Last month, I opened a new theme for The Infonomics Letter, and a new pitch for my work – with an increased focus on Digital Leadership. It’s becoming apparent to me that the organisations which are winning in the transition to the Digital Era are the ones which have a Digital-Savvy leadership team, and do not depend wholly on the innovative insight of their most senior IT specialist. In Digital Leadership and the CIO, I suggest that many IT industry commentators are barking at the wrong tree when they argue that the CIO is the prime mover for digital transformation.
One of our readers asked for some help this month. She’s confronted by a situation where her client’s senior IT person might be taking them on a dangerous journey, and a digitally unaware leadership may not see the danger signs. No Testing Required looks at the situation she raised.
John Beachboard and Kregg Aytes are doing their part to help build digital-savvy business leaders for the near and more distant future. In Peeling the Onion, I share my thoughts on their book of the same name.
Following postponement of the ACS Education Across the Nation series, it’s good to be able to announce a new ISO 38500 Foundation class for ACS Victoria members and friends. Developing Digital Leadership and Governance Skills also announces a commitment to speak on Digital Leadership at the ISACA Conference in South Africa at the end of August.Enero 2013 Edición: Liderazgo digital, en español.
Hello and welcome to The Infonomics Letter on Digital Leadership and Governance of IT for January 2013.
Well the world didn’t end in December as some had predicted – at least, not for all of us. But for HMV, an iconic brand known throughout the United Kingdom and some other parts of the world, the story is not so good. HMV succumbed to the changing times, unable to sustain itself in a changing market – a market that has seen new competitors and new forms of competition. HMV certainly isn’t the first – indeed it has a companion in the near simultaneous announcement that the UK arm of Blockbuster Video is also in trouble – and it won’t be the last. But there are some aspects of HMV’s failure that resonate, for here is a business which had plenty of early warning, yet its leaders chose to reject the warnings, rather than act on them. The same thing happened to the Fairfax publishing group in Australia. In HMV’s case, an insider’s blog reveals that it was the CEO who rejected the warning. In the Fairfax case, it was the board of directors. In both, the failure to recognise the warning signs and take action was, fairly clearly, a failure at the top – a failure of Digital Leadership.
Contrast this with what we have seen at CommBank (Commonwealth Bank). Over several years, that bank has undergone a total renewal of its business engine – the IT systems that manage its customer accounts, the systems that manage its assets and the systems that deliver its products and services to the market. On the back of the overhaul, CommBank has launched aggressive market campaigns trumpeting its superior capabilities. CommBank has transformed itself into a lean, mean competitor in the Digital Era, and its customers and staff can feel the difference. And while CommBank’s CIO has been prominently visible throughout the transformation, those with a keen eye have seen that the CEOs – first Sir Ralph Norris and now, Ian Narev – have been deeply involved in orchestrating the transformation. These two bankers have shown by their actions and in their words their understanding that leading organisations in the digital era focus on information technology as a core resource and enabler of business capability, and not something that should be isolated. They have given us an outstanding illustration of Digital Leadership.
So Digital Leadership is now a core theme for Infonomics. Digital Leadership embraces Governance of IT. It is time for governing bodies, executive teams and owners in all enterprises to come to grips with Digital Leadership. This month begin exploring aspects of Digital Leadership. We will continue to develop this theme in coming months.
Hello and welcome to The Infonomics Letter for December 2012. Some people thought that the world would end today, but perhaps instead we are on the threshold of momentous change, on many levels. I think 2013 is going to be a very significant year as the world continues to adapt to changes wrought by technology, and as new forces come to bear.
Social media has already wrought tremendous change, but many organisations are still struggling to come to terms with it. Recently, an Australian Institute of Company Directors member asked on Linked In “Should directors be trained in social media risk management and governance”? Social Media: Governance Opportunity offers some thoughts.
Much of the impact of social media comes from empowerment of the masses through ubiquitous connectivity, portability and accessibility of tools that enable unprecedented peer level interaction. This is giving rise to another phenomenon – mass rejection of unacceptable IT. We take a brief look in iDon’t.
Regular readers will remember how The Infonomics Letter reprised the governance failures documented in the Queensland Audit Office review of the Queensland Health Payroll project. Concern about the system, which still doesn’t work properly, and the process which created it continues and the new Queensland Government has moved to establish a Commission of Inquiry. See more in Deep Investigation.
Once again in 2013, it will be my pleasure to work with the Australian Computer Society on its Education Across the Nation (EdXN) program. See Learning Opportunities for the schedule and other details.
The Double Elephant Sale continues – don’t miss out on the opportunity to buy two (PDF) copies of Waltzing with the Elephant in English or Spanish, for the price of one. Give one to your boss, your CEO, CIO, CFO or even to one of your Board Directors.
One more thing: @LeadandGovernIT is slowly but
surely coming to life on Twitter.
I’m looking forward to a short break from now until January 7. I will be on hand to service elephant purchases, but otherwise focusing on home, garden and rest. And, as I wish all of my readers in more than 55 nations peace, hope, joy and prosperity for the Christmas season and the new year, I commend you all to give a thought also to the innocent lives lost to needless violence throughout the world, and especially twenty children and their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Hello and welcome to The Infonomics Letter for November 2012.
This month is dominated by the final instalment in the extremely popular Questions for Directors series. Already, the questions are being republished with permission in other journals, and savvy specialists are using them to both explore IT as well as build stronger boardroom skills. In this final instalment, we look at eleven questions to ask about operational performance and risk associated with use of IT. As you read them, ask yourself how well your organisation fits the desired profile.
The Spanish Elephant is on sale, and personalised copies are heading out the (email) door on a regular basis. We’ve just filled an order for 25 licenses from a university, giving some confidence that the next generation of Spain’s business leaders will be better equipped to govern that nation’s use of IT.
To help speed the Spanish Elephants, and to thank all Infonomics supporters from around the world, I’ve decided that for the month of December, all PDF editions of Waltzing with the Elephant sold through the New Infonomics Shop will double up – an unbeatable two-for-one deal. Look for the special deal from December 1st.
We’ve also enjoyed a new experience this month, of providing intellectual property for use by a major consulting firm. The Infonomics ISO 38500 Assessment Diagnostic was used by an experienced consultant with no other special training and just a little support from me, to explore how his client organisation goes about directing and controlling its use of IT. Of course, the request for the review was driven by concerns about the effectiveness of the organisation’s IT arrangements, and feedback indicates that use of the tool gave a very clear understanding of the issues and underlying behaviour. Of particular interest in this case was that the use of ISO 38500 was at the specific request of the client CEO, who had read the standard and considered it a useful framework in which to understand what was happening.
ISO 38500 has popped up a number of times recently. I’ve seen the ISO 38500 model in documentation for a new approach to governance of IT in a major Australian university, and in the draft ICT Strategy for the government of Victoria. A consultant in Queensland also reports using the standard to help frame new arrangements for governance of IT in one of his clients. Is this a sign of things to come? Where have you seen ISO 38500 being used?
Hello and welcome to The Infonomics Letter for October 2012.
It’s been a long time coming – and so I am extremely pleased to announce that the Spanish translation of Waltzing with the Elephant is officially on sale. There are new pages on www.infonomics.com.au that enable people who prefer to operate in Spanish to learn about the book, and to buy it. There’s more detail in Spanish Elephant.
Last edition’s Questions for Directors generated more than the usual amount of positive feedback. This month, we continue the three part series, looking at questions that directors might ask about the next stage in the management cycle – the implementation of IT-enabled business capability, or change.
I’m working on some “big fish” at present, so that’s it for this edition – not that it’s short on content or value. Look for something interesting in the November edition, when I will also complete the series on questions for directors.Agosto / septiembre Edición: Oportunidades de Aprendizaje en español
Hello and welcome to The Infonomics Letter for August and September 2012.
Yes, a combined edition for the second time this year! That’s because I’ve been learning some interesting lessons, like how long it takes to empty a property that has been home for 30 years and then integrate the paraphernalia of life from two homes into one. That experience was immediately useful, as my daughter sought help to transfer herself some 4,000 km northward into tropical far north Queensland. Along the way came a reminder that disaster can strike at any time, and often the most inconvenient, when a power spike blew through the surge arrester and trashed the inner workings of the primary Infonomics PC. The live test of backup came through with flying colours – no data was lost, but it still required time to acquire the replacement PC and reload the data and all the requisite software.
Given that it’s been a learning time for me, then, it seems apposite to put up some learning opportunities for Infonomics Letter readers. We begin this edition with the first of a three part series on Questions for Directors, posing seven questions which may help you in developing and evaluating a new or refreshed business strategic plan.
It’s been my delight during August to have received one of the Australian IT Industry’s highest awards – that of ICT Professional of the Year. This adds to the recognition mentioned in the July Infonomics Letter. Further Acknowledgment explains more and presents my thoughts upon receiving the award.
Two highly regarded colleagues are doing interesting things at present. In Advancing Thought Leadership, we introduce an exclusive event “Collaborate or Perish! Close and Personal with Zach Tumin, global Thought Leader” organised by Margaret Manson of InnoFuture. Then in Improving Information Security, we talk about how Kevin Fitzgerald has packaged his lifetime of rich experience as a pioneer and ongoing specialist in all aspects of information security, for transfer to the next generation of specialists.
Past thought leaders can also teach us a thing or two. Deming Revisited takes a lead from Basil Wood in New Zealand, to highlight Deming’s “five deadly sins of management” and six profound quotes from the grand master of quality.
Finally, we have some new group-based learning opportunities, all focused on Business Leadership and Governance of IT.Edición de Julio : Muchos retornos felices en español
Hello and welcome to The Infonomics Letter for July 2012.
Yes, I’m back, having largely recovered from the illness that struck while I was in Mexico City. It turned out to be a fairly severe dose of influenza which was happily incubating as I boarded the flight from Melbourne. Thanks to the help of a very skilled Mexican doctor, I was well on the way to recovery by the time I arrived back in Melbourne, though the secondary bronchitis has proven a little stubborn.
My return to Melbourne coincided with a very delightful experience – being named as the Victorian ICT Professional of the Year. Details of the award are in “It’s nice to be acknowledged”.
Registrations are about to close for the next round of Aligning Technology to Business seminars – see the foot of page 1 for details.
A past colleague recently said: “I know you are an expert in governance of IT, but what do you actually DO?” Hmmm – it seems like a good time to explain, in “How can I help you”.
Dilbert cartoons offer witty reflection on the stupidity which so often afflicts our use of technology. The strip from Sunday 29 July is a case in point (click the link – I wasn’t prepared to pay the license fee). It ties in very nicely to a brief review of Rob Livingstone’s very useful book, “Navigating Through the Cloud”. I spent some time with Rob recently, and our conversation is now available as a podcast – details are in “Dialogue: Governance and Cloud”.
An interesting trend seems to be emerging in the marketplace. It’s the real driver for the “many happy returns” tagline for this edition. Major companies in Australia and other parts of the world are turning away, at least in part, from outsourcing, and are bolstering their in-house IT expertise. We explore this emerging phenomenon in “Welcome Home”.
Success with IT seems as elusive as ever for many organisations, in all sectors of the economy. Yet analysts tell us that effective use of IT is a key enabler to productivity and therefore to improving economic performance. It’s been my view for some time that the reason for failure of so many investments in IT to deliver real value has less to do with the IT suppliers and a great deal more to do with the way business leaders engage on the IT agenda. Next month, we will explore this, “Business Leadership and Productivity” issue in depth.
Finally, Colm Baldwin, a researcher at the Innovation Value Institute in Ireland seeks people who have been involved in major IT projects to respond to a short survey – please respond by August 3rd.
Hello and welcome to The Infonomics Letter for June 2012.
This edition hasn’t worked out quite as planned. Many will remember my scheduled visit to Mexico City at the end of the month. The travel time was supposed to provide a great opportunity for some new content from me, building on some very interesting material just released in Australia. However, for the first time that I can recall in over 25 years of offshore ventures, I have been caught by a travel bug, and have spent much of the time in Mexico City flat on my back fighting off a severe bronchial infection.
Thus it was that I issued a plea to four points of the globe for thoughtful contributions on matters of success, value and business change.
Fortunately, I was able to mostly complete my obligations here. It was rewarding to speak about governance of IT to the 100-member conference in the Mexico Chapter of the Association of Enterprise Architects. Perhaps better was the investment of my hosts here, Dux Diligens, as they brought their local consultants and colleagues from Costa Rica and Colombia to learn about ISO 38500. With two academics from ITAM and three other consultants (including a senior gentleman from KPMG), there can be no doubt that Mexico has taken a giant step forward in its potential to improve performance of investment in IT-enabled business and change, through effective adoption of ISO 38500.
The Spanish Edition of Waltzing with the Elephant draws inexorably closer to completion and should be on sale by the end of July. And the education program continues with events in Malaysia and Australia during the coming few weeks.
And now, I invite you to enjoy articles from The Netherlands, Argentina, UK and Australia.
Hello and welcome to The Infonomics Letter for May 2012. As winter descends on Australia, the winds of change are blowing strong, on numerous fronts.
In Queensland, a new state government elected in a massive landslide has moved to seize control over the state’s use of IT. Like many other governments in Australia, Queensland has been remarkable for the frequency and extent of major problems with IT-enabled business. The 2010 Queensland Health Payroll debacle became one of our favourite illustrations of the consequences when the principles for governance of IT in ISO 38500 are ignored.
In one of her first decisive steps, Queensland’s new Minister for Information Technology, Ros Bates, has ordered a major audit of the state’s use of IT. In Queensland’s new Broom, we suggest that the audit needs to look at the context in which IT is used, as well as the IT itself. And to prevent problems in the future, we suggest that the Minister should also obtain a comprehensive picture of the behaviour exhibited by agency leaders as they make key decisions about the government’s use of IT.
Prompted in part by further questions now being asked regarding the Queensland Health Payroll, we seize the opportunity to look again at a topic that seems to vex many in the IT world – the relationship between Responsibility and Accountability. The new Queensland Premier wants to know who was responsible for the failed project, so that they can be brought to account (that is – made accountable). We don’t know what the legal advice says, but we wonder if it will lead to any financial settlement, given that there was clearly a massive failure in assignment of responsibility for the project, and with responsibility both wrongly assigned and unclear, it becomes difficult to understand who can and should be held to account. But perhaps the exercise can lead to better future practice with assignment of responsibility for future investments.
After a marathon effort by Juan Pardo Martinez in Spain and an eclectic team of reviewers from around the globe, we are greatly pleased to announce the Spanish Edition of Waltzing with the Elephant. The free download is available now.
The continuing Infonomics Events Agenda takes me to Mexico in June to speak at a conference and present an ISO 38500 Foundation Class, then around Australia in August to deliver another seminar series with Australian Industry Group.
Finally, Infonomics and its owner are On the move to a new home – and we thought IT projects were hard work!
Hello and welcome to The Infonomics Letter for March and April 2012. This is one of the rare cases where circumstances force a combined edition.
Some months ago, the Australian Institute of Company Directors embraced the online world through adoption of an established LinkedIn Group, which now has over 7,400 members. That’s a substantial percentage of the overall membership, and the group engages in wide ranging and lively discussion. More recently, after triggering vigorous response to a question about ongoing engagement in the development of standards for governance and management of IT, AICD created a subgroup – the “Company Directors’ IT Governance Community”.
My initial reaction to the new subgroup was one of despair – it looked like the IT topic was being pushed outside the mainstream of boardroom discussion again. But a rapid rise in membership to the current 315 indicated that I may have been wrong. More importantly, the discussion has again been vigorous and many useful points have been made. The challenge remains in respect of engaging the wider director community, but this looks like being a very useful step along the way.
To broaden engagement for those discussions, I’ve chosen to repackage here some of the posts I have made in the company director forums during the past few weeks. First we look at the distinction between management and governance, then at the way the board discerns IT, and finally at the proposition that all IT projects are really business projects.
The board view of IT has also been discussed in the April 2012 edition of the AICD magazine, Company Director. IT Under the Board’s Microscope looks at the advice provided in the article of the same name.
April has also seen the emergence of a new international community focused on Strategy and Enterprise Architecture. See inside the overview for details and your invitation to participate.
The “Events Season” is getting serious again. This month, you can see details of my forthcoming activities in Adelaide (ISO 38500 Immersion), Darwin (Company Director’s Conference), Korea (ISO meeting), and Mexico (conference paper), with more in the pipeline.
This edition includes a request for contributions to an international survey IT Service Management, an update on how I am now engaging in the ongoing development of standards for governance and management of IT, and a brief update on how and why Infonomics selected a new IT host provider.
Hello and welcome to The Infonomics Letter for February 2012. No, I wasn’t caught out by the leap year – but others were, and I decided to delay this edition and include that problem in the discussion.
Just for this month, I’ve also inverted the sequence of content in The Infonomics Letter. First comes the Infonomics Education Program. I’ve given it prominence this month because in March I will be on deck in three Australian cities, talking about governance of IT. I hope regular and new readers of The Infonomics Letter will give serious consideration to the small investment required for participation, and that you will also recommend the sessions to your colleagues and customers.
Late in 2011 I mentioned my interest in the work of the Innovation Value Institute, which is based in Dublin. Now I’m very pleased to announce in A New Partnership that Infonomics has signed up as a Contributing Member of IVI, and that I will be participating in their efforts to develop pragmatic and useful guidance on governance of IT.
Governance of IT is a significant issue for company directors. Efficient, effective and appropriate use of IT is fundamental to current and future performance of business – much more so today than when I first took on the role of representing company directors in the Standards Australia and ISO committees that developed first AS 8015 and then ISO 38500. As IT has become more deeply embedded as an operational tool of business, and as IT has become more significant in formulation of business strategy, it has become increasingly clear that the bodies which develop guidance on governance of IT must have an effective balance between the supply and demand side perspectives. Recently, Standards Australia has acted to revise the constitution of its primary committee in the field, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors has reconfirmed that it intends to have a strong voice on that committee. Company Directors Engage on Governance of IT provides some background, and explains why governance of IT must now be seen as a business leadership discipline, rather than as an IT supply discipline.
Good governance of IT should, among other things, ensure that business does not experience major IT-linked operational problems. Regulators Intervene in IT Issues looks at what happens when governance arrangements are not working well enough, resulting in business disruption and customer inconvenience. The discussion is driven by the fact that Australian regulators are, right now, beginning to intervene in problems with banking systems.
Hello and welcome to The Infonomics Letter for January 2012.
Casting an eye back over the corresponding edition for 2011 might cause one to wonder if we have made any progress in the past 12 months. Indeed, looking through the full set of 2011 editions we can see many more case examples of lessons provided through failure of operational IT disrupting business, and through failure of IT-enabled business change that renders the investment waste and denies access to potentially substantial benefits.
Current history – that which is too new to be yet dismissed as the folly of the past, continues to tell us that we must learn to do better when it comes to maximising the current and future business value of our investments in information technology, in the private and public sectors.
One person who knows all too well that we must learn from current history and adopt better practice is the Auditor General of Victoria, Des Pearson. Des has been a long-time champion of improved governance in the state’s use of information technology. Late in 2011, he and the Victorian Ombudsman, George Brower, co-authored a major report on Victoria’s less than satisfactory performance in delivering value from IT investments. That report was the focal point for discussion in the November 2011 edition of The Infonomics Letter, under the heading “A State of IT Failure”. It is my very great pleasure to now welcome Des Pearson as a contributor to The Infonomics Letter. His article, “A Victorian Public Sector Challenge: Delivering and Realising Value from ICT” adds further depth and guidance for government business leaders in particular, and includes useful guidance of all business and technology leaders.
Several other developments through late 2011 and on into this year give confidence that there is more attention now being given to learning lessons. In “Stepping Boldly Forward” I look across a range of developments, from a major business newspaper getting very aggressive in discussing the value of IT spending, to two universities investing significantly in research, and new behaviours emerging in Australian state governments.
Finally, may I share just one tiny example of how we can learn from experience? Today I am in a serviced apartment in Brisbane. The apartment has a broadband internet service. The desk is positioned near the door, but the internet access point is on the farthest opposite wall leaving a gap of about four metres. How does that meet the intent of the ISO 38500 Performance Principle, meeting business need?
Hello and welcome to The Infonomics Letter for November 2011.
The agenda for The Infonomics Letter is always dynamic. I maintain an ever-growing long list of topics that I would like to discuss, all pertaining more or less directly to effective governance of IT. Topics emerge from many sources, but the majority come from every-day press around the world. One that warrants attention is the demise, unsurprising to many, of the massive IT project at the UK National Health Service. Linked to this is the very interesting campaign (which Infonomics overtly supports) launched by the E-Health Insider for appointment of Chief Clinical Information Officers to provide clinical leadership on IT projects and use of information in UK National Health Service organisations.
Another is the announcement by the CIO at Australia’s Department of Defence that the department will be changing tack from massive projects to small ones – typically costing around only a million dollars.
But these topics have all been pushed to the background again by emergence of yet another well written, hard hitting report on failures of IT in government in Australia. In A State of IT Project Failure!, we look at the observations and findings arising from a review of ten major IT projects in my home state of Victoria. If there is a problem with the report, it is that it once again confirms the same types of problems that have occurred many times before, and recommends improvements that have been recommended many times before. What it doesn’t do is provide a new way for the lessons learned to be applied – indeed when one considers the responses from the most responsible agency, one wonders if there is any desire within the Victorian public service to actually do a better job with IT.
Presuming that there is an appetite somewhere for significant improvement, I take the discussion further – postulating that, as the report clearly defines a need for government agencies to improve their governance of IT, there is a need for an enabling agency that, instead of interfering in the IT decisions, helps agencies to put in place arrangements that assure them of good decisions on an ongoing basis.
It’s a great pleasure to let my readers know also that this topic is of considerable interest to my friends at Affairs of State. There will be a short article in the forthcoming edition of Letter from Melbourne, summarising some of the key issues from the new Victorian Ombudsman’s report.
I sincerely hope that you find this edition useful and look forward to your feedback.
Hello and welcome to The Infonomics Letter for October 2011. Life is becoming very interesting in the space around governance of IT. The fact that we need to improve control is becoming more and more tangible, but so too is the evidence that we are making some inroads.
There is a perception, seemingly wide spread in the market, that many company directors are reluctant to ask questions about information technology. As regular readers know, this journal and other Infonomics products, aim to help more directors deal with IT on their terms. This month, Technology in the Boardroom: Directors’ Attitude – Again! exploits a conversation I kicked off on LinkedIn during August to reflect diverse views on the topic. Perhaps most telling in the discussion is that fact that 85% of the people who participated are, according to their LinkedIn profiles, expert in information technology. One wonders where the non-technology directors were, and how to engage them in the conversation, which aims to help them be more effective in their roles.
Since the last edition, much of my time was spent in the UK and Europe. While there were a couple of disappointments, mostly the trip was a huge success. I’ll explain more in Mission to Europe.
During September, the UK Government announced the demise of the National Health Service National Program for IT. Launched in 2002, the program was intended to standardise the IT environment across the entire NHS in England. After nine years, and 12 billion pounds, it has apparently produced no tangible benefits, and while failing to even deliver many of the promised systems, has probably held back other IT advances in health care. Earlier this year, anticipating the demise of the whole program, I spent a little while browsing audit reviews of the project from the past few years. It struck me that the evidence pointing to the program’s failure has been there for a long time. Indeed, when sharing coffee with a friend in London just a month ago, I learned that consultants engaged to start the project had been denied permission to meet with the “clients” – the people who run the various health trusts for at least six months.
An astute director would have realised right then that the program would fail!Lessons about consequences of poor governance of IT continue. They are too numerous to explore in detail. Recent items include the global failure of Blackberry services and the extraordinary case of a person who reported a privacy breach and was promptly hit with a visit from the police and lawyers.
Hello and welcome to The Infonomics Letter for September 2011. Those who are paying attention will realise that there has been a gap: the August Letter did not materialise. Sometimes when operating as a one-man-band, circumstances crop up that just make it impossible to deliver everything, and when that happens, the freebies have to make way.
The Australian team that originally developed ISO 38500 is preparing a submission relating to its future work. Your thoughts will help guide that submission. Please give us a few moments now to respond on twelve points in the Survey on Governance Standards. There is a little more information at right, and more again in the introduction to the survey.
This month, we begin with Governance and Management: Further Perspective. Regular readers will remember that in the last edition I expressed disappointment about the draft of the COBIT 5 framework. COBIT 5 is a product of ISACA, an international membership organisation for IT professionals. ISACA was an early influencer in governance of IT and its COBIT framework is frequently referenced as a guide on governance and management of IT. In its latest incarnation, we had been led to believe that COBIT would align to and integrate ISO 38500. The outcome is disappointing, as explained in the July edition. Since then there has been a great deal of debate around the subject on various internet discussion groups. I have used some of that discussion to frame Governance and Management: Further Perspective, in a further effort to explain just how the concepts of governance and management are related.
Inexorably, Information Technology is becoming a topic of boardroom discussion. However, some of the discussion is not about the organisation’s use of IT – rather it focuses on the board’s own use of IT. The topic became newsworthy recently when the legal specialists at ANZ Bank asked its board to not use iPads, due to concerns about the handling of notes directors might make on the device when using it to read board papers and participate in the work of the board. Technology in the Boardroom: A Governance Perspective aims to answer some of the questions originally raised by a journalist exploring the issue for a future edition of the Company Director magazine.
Finally, I will be in London for the latter part of September, attending a meeting of the international working group on standards for governance of IT. In Thanks for the Help, I recognise those who are helping me get there.
Sorry - there was no August edition - there were too many other
Sorry - there was no August edition - there were too many other things happening!
Hello and welcome to The Infonomics Letter.
Last month, I mentioned the release of the COBIT 5 Exposure Draft. A brief scan had indicated some definite influence from ISO 38500. That, coupled with recognition of ISO 38500 in the COBIT 5 plans announced in 2010 had left me hopeful that COBIT 5 would provide a real breakthrough in practical guidance on how organisations might establish a comprehensive and effective system for governance and management of IT.
This month, having ground through COBIT 5: The Framework Exposure Draft, I am disappointed.
My concern is that COBIT 5 still does not align to the definition of governance provided in ISO 38500. If anything, it goes further down the wrong path of entrenching management activities under the heading “Governance”. I’ve tried to express my concerns in a coherent manner in Shattered Dream.
Offsetting the disappointment is the continuing growth of market interest in ISO 38500. Building on this year’s already highly successful forays into the Middle East, Latin America and Malaysia, we are now able to announce seven new events across Europe. In addition to being a reseller of Waltzing with the Elephant, IT Governance Limited will promote the ISO 38500 Foundation class. Two new partners for Infonomics are also promoting opportunities for their clients and the broader market to learn about the ISO 38500 approach to governance of IT:
PMOworks is promoting a series of four events in European cities including its home of Dublin. The company specialises in developing, implementing and supporting PMO operations, helping organizations improve business processes and reduce project risk and overall costs.
Falk Janotta Unternehmensmanagement is based in Wurzburg, Germany. The company provides a wide range of services to assist organisations achieve success in their use of IT. Company Principal Falk Janotta participated in one of the first Europe classes on ISO 38500, and is now facilitating access to knowledge about the standard for his diverse and expansive network.
See Infonomics Education Program for further detail.
Would you like to obtain some independent advice on your concerns or efforts around governance of IT? Do you have a strategy, a project or some other situation where you are not fully comfortable? Perhaps the Infonomics Access Service will be of assistance to you.
Hello, and welcome to The Infonomics Letter for June 2011. It’s the end of the financial year in Australia, and many of us are very focused on ensuring that our financial affairs and tax obligations are in order.
But while financial compliance does indeed stand as a dose of reality, it’s far from the only dose of reality that we encounter in this information era. For the owners of some 4,800 web sites, the dose of reality delivered during the past month can hardly be more emphatic. Following numerous examples of information security breaches over the past few months, the risk of information security breach and the risk of cloud computing intersected when hackers destroyed four servers and all associated backups at an Australian company known as Distribute.IT. In the Blink of an Eye discusses the governance issues that emerge from this event.
The Distribute.IT case is a clear instance of the risks in cloud computing being realised. We discussed those risks just two months ago in a story we called “Rocks Hiding in Clouds”. The story was quoted in the June 2011 edition of Company Director, as part of Domini Stuart’s article “Seeing through the clouds”. A Few More Words on Clouds adds further perspective.
A different form of information security breach was reported during June by the Australian Institute of Company Directors, when a notebook computer was stolen. Comments in the press and in online forums raise some interesting issues. We discuss some of these in A Testing Embarrassment.
Several state governments in Australia have tried to establish a Shared Services approach to IT. Most have failed, with South Australia now added to the list, while the new government in New South Wales has announced it will embark on its own shared services journey. We discuss the concept in Albert Einstein Observed.
The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) has released an exposure draft of its forthcoming COBIT 5 framework. This is a significant work, which has been influenced by the international standard for governance of IT. Some preliminary details are discussed in COBIT 5 Exposure.
May and June saw me journey to Argentina, El Salvador and Malaysia to explain the ISO 38500 approach to governance of IT. Fortunately, the travel was all done before ash from the Chilean volcano messed things up. In Tale of Five Nations, we compare governance capability in the five nations I have visited so far in 2011.
Welcome to the Infonomics Letter for May 2011.
This journal straddles a remarkable dichotomy. On the one hand, we spend a great deal of time looking over our shoulder at the lessons to learn from the things that go wrong with information technology. On the other hand, we look forward with unbridled excitement to our intensively IT-enabled future.
The split personality exists for one purpose – only by learning lessons from past mistakes do we develop the capability to move forward into our future.
Last month I introduced The Infonomics Dream: At Infonomics, we dream of a worldwide boost in well-being and wealth, driven by a sustained improvement in innovative and highly successful use of information technology, underpinned by business leadership and effective governance.
During my recent briefings in the Middle East, and over the coming weeks as I travel through Latin America, I emphasise that dreams do not come without hard work, persistence and determination. In these sessions, we use the US Space Program to illustrate the point – that great achievement comes through incremental development, that there are transition points where generations of technology give way to new developments, and where failure is subject to the most intensive and rigorous analysis in a determined effort is made to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
But aside from the hard work, the thing that drove the US Space Program, and I believe still drives it, is a dream. A vision of a future different and better, but still indelibly linked to what we have today.
I am indeed fortunate to know a man who has a dream. I met Chris Ogden in London in 1987. We worked helping deploy technology innovation through the British banking system. Since then, Chris has suffered the misfortune of developing a rare degenerative nerve disease. But far from retiring and allowing this disease to limit his capacity, Chris has developed a new vision. I am proud to share with you, my friends in more than 55 nations around our world, the vision developed by Chris Ogden and his colleagues, for innovative use of information technology in advancing the fight against not only his specific condition, but the myriad of conditions that are collectively known as “Rare Diseases”.
I hope that the vision Chris paints can serve as inspiration to us all, to seek and exploit opportunities to use information technology in innovative ways, to enable change, and to generate beneficial outcomes.
How can we help him realise his dream?
Welcome to the bumper April 2011 Infonomics Letter.
At Infonomics, we dream of a worldwide boost in well-being and wealth, driven by a sustained improvement in innovative and highly successful use of information technology, underpinned by business leadership and effective governance.
This dream is central to the Infonomics mission of improving the effectiveness, efficiency and acceptability of IT use by organisations worldwide, through improving their governance of IT.
During April, it was my privilege to share this dream in the United Arab Emirates and Oman, as a guest of EXCEED IT Services and Training. We spoke about ISO 38500 and improving governance of IT to substantial audiences in three cities, and conducted two ISO 38500 Foundation Classes through which we can share some insight into the calibre of the region’s governance of IT. See Middle East Developments.
It can be very hard to make serious time to read serious books. The trip to the Middle East gave me an opportunity to get started on Geekonomics and gain new insight into some of the reasons we have so much trouble with Information Technology.
Last month’s discussion on governing information security generated significant feedback and some additional activity that will develop during coming months. Meanwhile, security incidents keep emerging. See More on Information Security.
As if security breaches are not enough, April also saw some of the risk in Cloud Computing being made crystal-clear. Cloud computing may be exciting development, but the cloud is not without risk, as discussed in Rocks Hiding in Clouds.
Although it is titled “Governance of Information Technology”, ISO 38500 makes it plain that its focus is on the use of IT, and that the success of organisations using IT is dependent on the way they go about integrating it into their strategy, their execution of strategy and their operational management. For several years, Infonomics has been at the forefront of argument that IT cannot be treated as an independent issue, and that its governance must be an integral part of governing the ongoing development and operations of the organisation, with business leaders taking responsibility and being accountable for the effective use of IT in developing business strategy, building business capability, and running the ongoing business. In Gartner’s Eureka Moment we discuss how the well-known IT research and advisory company has also discovered this message.Finally, are you one of the many who have helped Gabrielle Ford in her research on people who use ERP systems. The details are in ERP Fail: When Best Practices Meet Real Life. If you haven't already done so, and you are a user of any of the many ERP systems that have been introduced in the past few years, please set aside 20 minutes to complete her survey. Please pass on this request to others as well. Gabrielle needs as many responses as possible by May 4th!
Welcome to the Infonomics Letter for March 2011.
Some time in 1978, I attended a conference where several companies were demonstrating software on one of the workhorse computers of the time – a DEC PDP-11. Out of curiosity, I went to one system console and logged on. I didn’t need to ask anybody the password – most PDP-11’s running that operating system used the password originally set at the factory and nobody at the factory saw any need for different passwords. When the first PC was released, it didn’t even have the means to identify different users – let alone keep them separate with different passwords.
In 1987, newly arrived in London, I picked up my ATM card and proceeded to an ATM to reset the PIN. I was horrified that, having entered my old and new PINs, the ATM then checked that I had entered my new PIN correctly – by displaying it back in big digits on the screen. Thankfully nobody was watching. Of course banks have learned a lot since then, and they would never show a customer PIN today. But while banks have learned a few things about information security, one wonders about the greater community. In a previous edition of this Letter I’ve commented on website operators that, having demanded we set up an individual account with a secure password, then kindly send us a clear text email putting all that identity information out where it can be seen by any errant teenager with the most primitive hacking tools. One mailing list I use very nicely reminds me every month of my user id and password. You can bet that I keep that one quarantined with a fake name!
Recently I wrote about the appalling lack of access control in mobile phone shops run by Vodafone Hutchison Australia (January edition, More red faces). Now I find that another phone company demands a strong password for access to customer accounts online, and then requires the customer to quote part of that password when accessing the call centre – with the whole password visible to the call centre operator. Don’t they understand information security?
Public disquiet about information security breaches and weak safeguards used by many organisations is now driving strong regulatory and legislative action. The probable high cost of information security in the future may be in part a consequence of organisations failing to take early and decisive steps to direct and control their information security. But while legislation may oblige organisations to pay attention to information security, it can’t define how to do the job. So, this month’s key topic explores how those who govern organisations can direct and control their information security arrangements. Enjoy!
Welcome to the Infonomics Letter for February 2011.
It’s just four weeks since I penned the last Infonomics Letter. How remarkable have been the events of these past four weeks? Through the power of communications infrastructure we know as the Internet and applications built on top of that infrastructure such as facebook, twitter and you tube, we have seen in real time and at close quarters the remarkably peaceful move to regime change in Egypt, the rather more traumatic but nonetheless profound wave of change sweeping Libya, and the heartbreaking devastation in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Just over ten years ago, I used dial up internet access to download and watch a few seconds of grainy video showing an airliner ploughing into the World Trade Centre. Twenty two years ago, when the Berlin Wall fell, our access to information was limited to the newspapers and television. In half a working lifetime, or just a single generation, the way in which we access news has changed immeasurably.
The enabler to this change has unquestionably been the advent of high speed digital communications. But the communications infrastructure alone is insufficient for us to access the information we seek, or sometimes don’t even know exists. In order to access the information we need the complementary technologies for capturing, packaging and presenting it, and the applications that manage its storage, accessibility and delivery, along with myriad other functionality.
Thus one can argue that infrastructure itself has no direct value. Its value can only be accessed and realised when there are appropriate complementary technologies and applications through which the latent value is made real.
These are the thoughts that underpin my submission today, albeit at the last minute, to an inquiry by the Australian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications into the role and potential of the National Broadband Network. Essentially, I argue that the NBN itself will deliver no tangible value – but that its massive latent value can only be unlocked by appropriate development and deployment of complementary technologies and applications. Driving value from Australia’s NBN therefore demands effective governance arrangements to encourage and focus investment in these resources. I’d like to share that submission with you as this month’s Infonomics Letter.
Looking ahead and growing
Welcome to the first Infonomics Letter for 2011. After a seven week break and a series of amazing weather events across Australia and in other parts of the world, we are ready once again to explore and promote good practice in governance of IT.
Working as an evangelist for new thinking about anything can be an interesting task. Being an evangelist for a new way of looking at governance of IT involves challenging many established beliefs and methods of operation. But while the road is long, arduous and, in the short term at least, hardly viable from a financial perspective, it is gradually unfolding with evidence of change. Not so long ago, the mere suggestion that directors of organizations should ask questions about IT would once have spurred horrified denial that directors could ever understand the topic. Yet now, at least one major bank in Australia has a board committee to oversee its extensive agenda of IT change.
Recent events, several of which have been discussed in The Infonomics Letter through 2010 are leaving no doubt that business dependence on IT is now, in many cases, absolute. Now, when significant problems occur with IT, it is almost axiomatic that the top line of the organization’s leadership gets involved, and this presents a context in which we can see that business leaders need to know things about IT that may not in the past have seemed relevant. Peter Grant, a well-known Australian IT industry researcher and commentator brought this into focus in a recent post to a LinkedIn discussion forum, and the Infonomics response to his challenge is presented in What Should Management Know?
Of course, the shift to a new year does not stem the tide of case examples where a small dose of effective governance might have avoided embarrassment and perhaps other consequences. This month in More Red Faces we explore the stunning revelations of weak information security at Vodafone Hutchison Australia, and postulate a governance approach based on ISO 38500 that might have saved the company from being lashed to the whipping post during the usually slow news period in mid-January.
The new government in Victoria is beginning to flex its muscle, looking deeply into the unfulfilled promises of the previous government’s major IT initiatives and asking “is it worth it”? We foreshadow further scrutiny in New Opportunity to Improve.
Finally, there’s news of how Infonomics commentary now appears on Delimiter, major advances for Waltzing with the Elephant, and the near term education program.
Staying Alive, Getting Smart
Welcome to the final Infonomics Letter for 2010. Yes, this is the catch-up, where publication reverts to the early part of the month, beginning in January 2011.
An April 11, 2008 announcement by British Airways chief, Willie Walsh perhaps highlighted an uncomfortable new role for Chief Executive Officers – that of apologising for business service failures that have been substantially due to problems with IT.
Perhaps it’s time to set up a “hall of fame” for CEOs who have had to endure this painful experience. As regular readers of The Infonomics Letter are well aware, Virgin Blue chief John Borghetti would be one of the more recent members.
But already the 24 hours of disruption to Virgin Blue’s customers has been transcended, at least in volume of press and public commentary, by a breakdown in the overnight transaction processing at National Australia Bank – one of Australia’s four majors. On November 29, NAB’s CEO, Cameron Clyne secured his lifetime pass into the gallery by way of full page apologies published in daily newspapers.
As I said last month, there is rarely any shortage of case examples to provide the grist for this journal and the temptation to explore the possible lessons from NAB’s experience is too great – so we lead with a discussion in “Red-faced Bank”.
NAB’s experience highlights the importance of proper response to failure. To illustrate how this might work, “Learning Lessons – the Qantas File” takes a brief look at a recent aviation incident – the engine explosion in a Qantas A380 – and proposes parallel questions to be asked about IT failures.
Long-time friends of The Infonomics Letter will recall my enthusiastic response to the landmark report into the Australian Government’s use of IT, delivered by British expert Sir Peter Gershon. Those who saw my comments in August 2010 however will know that I have not been impressed with the implementation of Gershon’s recommendations. Now another independent expert, Dr Ian Reinecke has delivered his formal report on how the Gershon recommendations have been addressed. “Reinecke echoes Gershon” explains why the new report hasn’t made me feel any better, other than by confirming that there is still significant opportunity in front of us.
We’ve completed a summary of the October 22nd Monash/Deakin “Seminar on Governance” of IT.
My home state of Victoria has a new government, and a “New Opportunity to Improve” its own governance of IT. It needs to do so promptly!
Welcome to The Infonomics Letter for October 2010.
These days, there is no shortage of raw material on which to base discussion of how organisations might better govern their use of IT. One merely needs to lightly monitor the press for ongoing stimulation around the topic of failure.
When discussing governance of IT, I tend to frame the drivers for better governance around the failures that occur – pointing out as should be obvious, that better direction and control should have averted the various cases. Sometimes, I am challenged on those points, with a request for positive case studies.
Well, I’d love to be able to present them. But there’s a real challenge in that regard: how does one find positive case studies where the subject organisations are prepared to share their secrets? The chairman of one bank told me some time ago that their highly effective system for governance of IT gives them a significant competitive advantage, and that they simply would not give away their hard-won advantage by talking openly about how they do it. I know how they operate, and it’s very good – but I can’t tell anybody about their model either!
So while I would love to have opportunities to understand and explain case examples of very effective governance of IT, the reality is that we will probably have to continue learning from failure for some time to come. Perhaps when good governance becomes more pervasive, with far more projects delivering intended outcomes and far fewer organisations suffering loss as a result of avoidable operational breakdowns, then we will be able to shift emphasis and explain empirically measured good practice in governance of IT.
Thus we look further at the experience of Virgin Blue, which was front of mind for the September edition. In “Oops – Sorry! a Virgin Update”, we discuss recent information about the consequences of the failure, including significant impact on profit and share price. We draw a parallel between the aviation industry’s remarkable ability to dispassionately analyse and learn from failure, and wonder whether we might ever see an “Institute for Transparent Analysis of Information Technology Failures”.
Then in “Service Failure” we build a more general discussion of how ISO 38500 might be used to guide better approaches to outsourcing decisions.
Finally, we take a brief look at “Culling obsolete IT”.
Welcome to The Infonomics Letter for September 2010. Yes, it’s a couple of days late again – clearly I need to skip a month and aim to publish early in the month. I think that will happen as we traverse the Christmas-New Year holiday break.
It’s again been a huge month with substantial travel – first to Sydney to deliver the second of the Australian Industry Group’s introductory seminars on governance of IT. A week later I was winging to Johannesburg for a standards meeting. Then with a scant two days for recovery, it was northward bound to Brisbane, for the World Computer Congress, a masterclass and several client meetings.
The WCC provided a great opportunity to engage with some leading minds in the debate about future use of information technology, and specifically to focus on the vitally important role of business and government leaders in this space. In “Who is responsible” this month, I explore the statements that I made to Senator Kate Lundy regarding the need for a massive education program to build the necessary understanding and business leadership for effective use of IT across the entire economy. My assertion that leading IT industry and business organisations don’t get that need was somewhat of a surprise to the chair of the Australian Information Industry Association and is likely to lead to further, and I hope very positive, debate.
Did you notice the small change to the subtitle of this journal? It will filter into the Infonomics patina over coming months. It reflects two key elements of how my thinking is evolving – first that governance of IT cannot be rationally segmented into types – and second that a fundamental part of governance is leadership. What do you think? Let’s debate!
Governance of course also includes oversight, and involves asking of questions to test management and confirm that, among other things, the organisation is operating on a stable footing. In “Oops, Sorry!” we explore the very recent trouble at Virgin Blue, when the airline was effectively grounded for 21 hours because the outsourced reservations system failed. We use a very rough thumbnail calculator to estimate the financial impact of the event, and then we pose a series of eight questions that business leaders should ask about how well their organisations are prepared for similar events. How would your organisation rate on them?
Waltzing with the Elephant has chalked up another milestone – see “New Elephants” for the detail.
I’ll be back in your email box in a month.
This edition marks ten years of my focus on governance of IT - see “Milestones in My Life’s Quest”.
“Why can’t you solve my problem” – looks at how organisations are killing customer service and innovation by locking their entire business model into the rigidity of computer software.
Audit is an essential tool for ensuring that the work is done properly and that rules are being followed. Dan Swansons new book, “Raising the Bar” is recommended reading for all who want to be sure that their organisations are running well.
“Guidance for Directors” introduces a number of highly regarded friends of Infonomics, who do provide relevant quality insight. It also briefly summarises the literature available from Infonomics.
September’s “Education Schedule” is substantial, with opportunities in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Infonomics and University of Southern Queensland are collaborating to run an ISO 38500 Corporate Governance of IT Masterclass on September 24th, in conjunction with the World Computing Congress at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
Uses the current debate on Australia's proposed National Broadband network to explain how ISO 38500 can guide government in setting and implementing strategy for use of IT as an enabler of the nation’s future.
The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind has converted “Waltzing with the Elephant” to Braille for use by its visually impaired leaders as it develops its future strategy.
Infonomics is working with Attaché Software to develop important guidance to help small and medium enterprise leaders gain real business value from effective use of IT.
A new review of Waltzing with the Elephant.
Looks at Queensland Department of Health payroll system.
Developing the Board extends the discussion on the international survey into governance and management of IT and how to resolve the problem of building board skills on governing IT .
AS/NZS 8016 – Oversight of Projects introduces a new standard to complement ISO 38500.
Fat Fingers or Fatal Flaws we explore how some organisations seem to build computer systems expecting that their human operators are infallible.
Reports findings of the Infonomics international survey on governance and management of information technology, looking at how well organizations govern their use of information technology and hat resources are needed to improve the effectiveness of that governance?
Explore how to apply the principles for governance of IT in a domestic situation.
Keep my secrets secret, please reviews bad habits of web systems when we register as users.
ISO 38500 regards IT as a resource - a tool of business, and the standard provides guidance on how the tool should be used. Most other guidance on controlling IT is focused on development and maintenance of the tool – the supply side.
ISO 38500 can be overlaid on established frameworks to provide additional insight and control to the supply activities. But using ISO 38500 to guide the demand side drives the major benefit.
Many organisations should “Test the Future” regularly.
“How does it work again” looks at the need to retain essential corporate knowledge.
A landmark court case in Britain sets new precedents in relation to failed IT projects..
Discusses the recently released report by the Australian Government's "Government 2.0 Taskforce". Explores the opportunities and issues arising, and in particular at the prospect for IT to be used to truly transform and improve the operation of the machinery of government. We introduce the notion of “Value Chain Integration” as a way of describing the process of using IT to join together and make more efficient and effective the previously separate elements of government or any other organisation.
Guest writer Jan Begg reports on her research into success of projects. Unfortunately, the best that can be said of the results is that there is enormous scope for improvement!
We note the move by Westpac Bank to establish a board committee on governance of IT and we applaud the work of Carlo Francavilla who kindly translates The Infonomics Letter into Spanish.
Announces a new forum for the LinkedIn members to discuss “Waltzing with the Elephant”.
Builds on discussion in the LinkedIn "The Enterprise Architecture Network" as the driver for a decision to present another extract from Waltzing with the Elephant, explaining what Enterprise Architecture is a vital discipline when changing organisations and their underpinning IT.
Discusses initial and very positive reaction to Waltzing with the Elephant.
Explores the recommendations in the 2008 Gershon Review of the Australian Government's use of IT, and subsequent comments by Sir Peter Gershon when he discussed the dream of world class governance of IT in the public sector.
Reviews the launch for Waltzing with the Elephant on August 17 and training events in Kuala Lumpur, Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville and Adelaide.
Initial notes on an emerging trend to chief executives taking interest in IT and marshalling the executive team in setting the IT agenda.
Announces the launch date for Waltzing with the Elephant at a gala event in Sydney on 17 August and the subsequent business and government launch in Melbourne just four weeks later.
Presents an extract from chapter ten, discussing project steering committees in the context of the Performance Principle in ISO/IEC 38500.
Follow-up discussion on governance and management of IT.
A paper by Chris Ogden: “IT Governance – Redesigning the Board’s Role”, proposes that the internet has been the watershed that drives the need for a much greater degree of board oversight and supervision of IT use.
Reprise on ISO/IEC 38500 masterclass delivered in Germany in partnership with Serview.
Explores the distinction between “IT Governance” and “IT Management”.
Australia's National Broadband Network - how
we can recognise and measure success, and who is responsible for that
Web 2.0 presents some governance issues.
The track record of government with IT initiatives.
Why the first generation of “IT Governance” has failed.
The relationship between ISO/IEC 38500 and CobiT.
Human behaviours in governance of IT compared with behaviours in other situations.
the right decisions..."
about IT activities.
"Is Value Required?" extracting value that should come from IT expenditure.
International Working Group on the Corporate Governance of IT.
Making the right decisions.
Driving Business Value from IT.
Governance of IT in difficult times;
The Gershon Report
Why ISO38500 is exciting for business;
The Infonomics IT Governance Letter began as a promotional tool for Infonomics. The first edition was published in August 2005, just eight months after the launch of AS8015. The mailing list was small - around 300 people.
"It will be interesting to see what happens this week, as the system goes into full production".
Actually, we had some idea of what was going to happen next - there had been too much noise around the project for comfort. But nobody could have imagined a situation that would embroil the government and bring enormous chunks of the national supply chain to its knees.
But other pressures were
looming. Producing a 20 page journal on a monthly basis became
onerous, and then impossible. While still drawing a very strong
level of interest, the Letter succumbed to the pressure and went into
hibernation after ten editions, and a year after its launch.
Notwithstanding its temporary demise, it has been most pleasing to hear from many subscribers that they had enjoyed it and were looking forward to the next instalment.
So it is with great pleasure that today, September 30 2008, Infonomics is relaunching The Infonomics Letter.
The ten original editions of The Infonomics IT Governance Letter are always available. Just click below to retrieve the PDF versions of each one.