I'm in Sydney this week with the International Standards organization working group-to promote standards for the governance of enterprise IT. In 2008, I was part of the team that developed ISO\IEC 38500:2008, the standard to promote effective, efficient, and acceptable use of IT in all organizations
Representatives from Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, US, UK, Korea, Japan, India, South Africa and the Netherlands attended the meeting, and the discussion turned to the large number of acronyms in our common vocabulary. One of the representatives mentioned "BYOD" so my hyperactive mind came up with a few definitions, including Bring Your Own....:
- BYOD - Bring Your Own Drink
- BYOD - Bring Your Own Dice (gaming)
- BYOD - Bring Your Own Dessert (I like that one)
- BYOD - Buy Your Own Drinks
Thanks to the advent of texting, acronyms have become part of everyday life. A trap for us all is the assumption that we understand what the acronym means. This is also true for terms such as "governance."
"Governance" is often misinterpreted or confused with management activities, but that's misguided. Governance is the purview and domain of top management and is well defined in the ISACA Glossary of terms definition as:
"Ensures that stakeholder needs, conditions and options are evaluated to determine balanced, agreed-on enterprise objectives to be achieved; setting direction through prioritization and decision making; and monitoring performance and compliance against agreed-on direction and objectives."
In short, the governing body is not directly managing the work because it's not their purview.
I witnessed a more practical, albeit not perfect example at the Circular Quay in Sydney harbor this morning when the Queen Mary 2 was docking. Think for a moment about how the captain works with his leadership team to govern the ship and issues directives on the route the vessel is to travel. The various teams work together to execute the directive. The captain constantly gets feedback on the position of the ship versus the directive. Should there be severe weather, the captain will evaluate the information and issue directives based on the situation.
In short, true governance is not management or execution of the tasks-it is ensuring that the performance is in line with stakeholder needs.
For those of you who would like to find out more information of the effective governance of Enterprise IT, please visit the ISACA website and look at COBIT 5, a framework for the Governance and Management of Enterprise IT.
So now that we at the ISO WG8 meeting are all in agreement on the definitions of BYOD and Governance, we can get onto the issues at hand of developing international standards. Stay tuned-it should be interesting.