In Summary
  • Many corporates have established structures to oversight typical business functions like finance, accounts and human resources, but not ICTs.
  • But boards consider ICTs to be too abstract for their deliberations and have continued to shy away from committing time and effort to learn the prerequisites for effective ICT effective oversight.
  • This can only mean that we shall continue to witness increasing cases of ICT scandals, hackings and data breaches that will damage corporate reputations and reduce bottom lines.
  • It is therefore high time that public and private organisations gave ICT governance the attention it deserves.

In general, governance is about having structures, processes and procedures in place to ensure that an enterprise achieves its objectives and is accountable to the shareholders.

Many corporates have established structures to oversight typical business functions like finance, accounts and human resources.

National laws have gone further and internalised the importance of governance in these domains, given the enactment of several acts of parliament governing, for example, the conduct and operation of the accounting and human resource professionals.

As such, board members are fairly clear on the expectations from management when it comes to providing oversight to financial, human resource, procurement and other more established organisational functions.

TOO ABSTRACT

However, with respect to ICTs, very few enterprises in the public or private sector have board-level visibility of what the ICT director is up to, and in many cases they consider ICTs to be too abstract for their deliberations.

No wonder many scandals, particularly in the public sector, revolve around procurement, deployment or operation of new ICT systems.

From the Anglo-leasing, through NYS One to NYS Two, one will find that ICTs are always at the heart of these scandals.

In the private sector, cases of digital or electronic fraud, hacking or simply data breaches are on the rise, causing significant reputational damage or regulatory penalties.

These events can only point to the fact that board-level oversight for ICT matters is not at the same level of maturity as that of its usage within their enterprise and beyond.

The customer demand for enterprises and organisations to leverage ICTs for the delivery of convenient and efficient services has often led to accelerated automation - without commensurate oversight at the board level.

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