Competition is a key issue in the determination of a business base and growth and every organization strives to achieve maximum profits and satisfaction of their customers through all means available to them. This has made many companies and organizations to formulate ways that will enable them utilize the few available resources to boost the efficiency of their production and their way of service delivery. Every firm is governed by a set of rules and policies that outlines and controls how the staff should do their duties. Company’s management and systems of governance plays a vital role in ensuring that all company policies and rules are upheld and followed at all costs. This case study analyzes how various businesses adopt the different technologies and IT models in managing their financial and human resource sections.
IT governance refers to all the rules and regulations that a firm has set as the guidelines on which the information system and department operates and includes the necessary mechanisms put to ensure total compliance to the process. According to the ‘Accenture IT Governance Model’, there are various approaches that a company can adopt to ensure there is efficiency in delivery of services and performance of duty by all the employees of an organization. This model outlines the criteria which a company can approach its information systems to boost reliability and accountability that are vital components of any business that is committed to achieve profits with minimum efforts. While many organizations struggle to achieve efficiency and productivity through adoption of various models of information system management, others find it very easy to do this depending on the models which they use to implement their policies.
In the ‘Accenture IT Governance Model’ three major approaches are analyzed with regard to the IT department. These approaches are broadly categorized as centralized, decentralized and hybrid governance systems. The centralized governance system involves decision making by the top management department that formulates and outlines the policies and rules to be followed by the subordinates. The managers are instruction givers while the subordinate staffs are the recipients of the instructions. In the decentralized system the management delegates most of the policy making and duties to the lower staff and their roles become supervisory and consultancy. Decisions are made by the lower staff members and presented to the management incase there is need clarifications or for approval. The hybrid system involves the combination of the centralized and the decentralized models in achieving and implementing company policies and rules. In this case, both the management and the subordinate staff are responsible for the formulation and synthesization of information in any company.
The Alcan Manufacturing Company that employs more that thirty thousand workers is a good example of the decentralization model of governance. In the year 2010 they decided to diversify the Alcan Engineered Products from its production structure and applied the proposed models of governance to plan the decentralization of its infrastructure. Today the Alcan Company is known all over the world for making finished aluminum products in almost all transportation services for its clients. In addition to this, they also provide engineering expertise and consultancy services to millions of their clients. This is also applicable in the ‘Weill and Ross Model of IT Governance’ that involves the decentralization of operations and delegation of major roles to other units and departments in the business circle. This gives all departments a chance to have their opinions expressed and their thoughts put to practice for the general performance of an organization.
The ‘Weill and Ross Model of IT Governance’ is also widely used in many firms and business organizations in the modern world to promote their chances of competing favorably with other business entities. It can be proved beyond any reasonable doubt that this model has enhanced performance and achievement in many companies due to the many advantages it has over other models of IT governance. Good governance is usually aimed at attaining the best principles that will promote good working relations between the senior and junior staff members while at the same time ensuring there is good relationship among members of the same level in any organization. This means that there will be proper understanding of all the policies and structural changes effected in the organization. This is enhanced due to the ease at which members are able to take and internalize all the company policies and rules as they become part of them.
The ‘Weill and Ross Model of IT Governance’ is very transparent as there is total accountability and responsibility by all members to their performance at work. This in turn promotes reliability and trustworthy among all members of staff. There are clear guidelines and measures that have been outlined to ensure that all members are aware of their roles in the organization and what are the consequences of their actions. This makes it very easy for a company to monitor all the financial proceedings of the business as every penny used is accounted for. There is full access to the financial database of the company and all the transactions of income and expenses are clearly documented. This model helps a company in ensuring that there are no cases of corruption and fraud due to the manner in which their transactions are handled.
The existence of a clearly mapped out policy of the codes of conduct enables workers to co-exist in a healthy manner. This policy forms a very essential guiding tool in the manner through which individual behavior is analyzed by the management and the subordinates. The stipulated policies that govern employees’ conduct become the basis of analyzing work performance and relations among staff members. Performance and employee appraisals are based on the analysis and the effectiveness of the specified codes of conduct that act as a mirror to the workers regarding individual performance and relations with others at work.
The above IT governance model promotes corporate social responsibilities by various organizations. This becomes a very vital part of extra curricular activities that promotes the relationship between a company and the public. It is not wise to have a company that depends on a community for labor and market while there are no returns to the society. This necessitates the need for a company to participate in community activities that helps in enforcing the bond between the community and the company. With time, this translates to a harmonious relation between these two entities which is based on mutual benefit and understanding. The company should always ensure that it fully reciprocates the efforts of the society while the community offers market for the products and services of the company.
The last advantage of this model is that it promotes protection programs to employees in any business. This means that the there is provision for the management to be positively criticized without any fear of victimization by the management. This helps in developing the spirit of innovation and personal initiatives in the attempt to promote the delivery of service at any given organization. However, the major disadvantage of this model is that it does not draw any line between management roles and organizational roles. In many cases, this results to major conflicts of interest that hinder the delivery of duty. Such conflicts usually result in biases and unequal distribution of a company’s resources that leads to wastage. On the other hand, it has been noted to promote discrimination and negligence of other sectors of a company’s departments that are essential for proper functioning of an organization.
Incase one is picked as the head of these department it is very prudent to ensure that the following major areas of concern are addressed properly for the effective running of the organization. There should be proper laid down rules, policies and regulations set to govern the behavior and conduct of all individuals in an organization. It should be noted that a fair rule is not one that suits everybody but one that provides relevance to the business and the principle of the majority rule does not apply here. In addition to this, most decisions taken in any organizations do not favor everyone and the management should ignore this and focus on the expected results of the policies set. Secondly a manager should note that all changes are not effected at a go but through a slow and gradual process of testing and analyzing the results of a given policy and this ensures comprehensive coverage of all departments.
In context of the above steps it is very much advisable to adopt other projects that will aim at improving service delivery by the management and subordinate staff. Some of the projects that can be beneficial include establishment of partnerships with other entities of an organization. This may also involve outsourcing of human resource whenever there is need to do so. In this situation, partnerships will ensure that there are necessary steps to ensure a company is able to exchange information regarding better performance practice and strategies that are aimed at achieving the best results. Many companies assume this point and think that they can operate as separate entities only to find themselves in fixed positions that compromise their performance to realize profits and their public image. This in turn leads to great losses and undermines a company’s reputation that is greatly used by the public as a way of assessing its performance.
There should be necessary projects to ensure that there is close and efficient monitoring of the governance structures to ensure their performance is in line with the stipulated guidelines in the IT governance system. Continuous evaluation and assessments of the performance of this department will also help the management to know whether the goals set are being arrived at and what are the impediments to their realization. An IT specialist will be in a position to plot the achievements of the mechanisms set and what should be improved.
There should be effective communication strategies that will ensure efficient transfer of information among all departments in an organization. This project will help the management to efficiently pass their messages regarding company policies, strategies and plans to the subordinate staff. Furthermore, the needs of the employees will reach the management within the shortest time possible and avoid chances of any conflicts arising due to delay in feedbacks. Through having good communication channels the employees will have a chance to forward all their proposals and issues to the management which will go along way in promoting effective delivery of service in any organization. Communication barriers like observation of chains of command are the major set backs to effective communication but these can easily be avoided if there are proper communication channels. It does not matter what channel communication will follow but what is important is the effectiveness of message delivery in terms of punctuality, accuracy and response from the recipient.
The ‘Ouellette’s Plan’ advocates for a single management and governance policy that involves the formulation and dissemination of a company’s policies and regulations from a single office usually located at the top of the hierarchy. This model is usually applicable in organizations that have a simple structure and one that does not have a large number of staff. However, this model is not effective since the decision making process is based on a single office. Sometimes it is very difficult to make sound decisions by an individual due to the limited ideas and knowledge of the person. This model is thus weak and can not be relied upon to produce the required results. There are many biases that an individual is exposed to while formulating these policies due to subjectivity and general knowledge regarding IT governance. There are other occasions where a person is supposed to make consultations and references before decisions are made but this model does not advocate or give the managers room for this to happen.
Any business entity relies heavily on the efficiency of its IT systems to deliver the expected results according to all the policies set as guidelines for performance. The general principles that guides an IT system should be followed to the last stage and if need be, there should be necessary mechanisms to asses the efficiency of such systems. There is need to update the IT governance systems with regard to changes in technology and the market trends that dictate the operations and systems to be used in any organization.