IT Governance developments in Spain

There were a couple of interesting presentations covering aspects of IT governance in Spanish universities. The Spanish equivalent of Universities UK, CRUE, have sponsored the development of an IT Governance toolkit based on the ISO standard 38500 and the toolkit developed by the University of Strathclyde on behalf of the JISC. The toolkit links the ISO principles with seventeen IT goals each of which is measured from the perspective of the maturity of the service in meeting those goals, backed up by both qualitative and quantitative measures. The toolkit is being piloted in a number of institutions and is expected to roll out to all Spanish universities within a couple of years. This contrasts with the UK experience where the JISC toolkit, after being piloted was not adopted by the Funding Councils. Consequently take up has not been great and IT governance remains a concern for IT Directors in the UK.
One impact of poor governance is poor communications about IT projects with the result that there is often a poor perception of the IT department. “Always late”, “expensive” and “failing to deliver” are common comments about a services department that doesn’t communicate about their work. One institution has taken the novel step to address this issue of developing an online resource to track and record decisions made relating to projects, to highlight the projects’ alignment with the institutional strategy and to improve communications about projects within the institution. The resource has had a positive effect with the institution’s senior executives now having a better understanding of the links between the projects and the institution’s strategy and the impact of their decisions on project progress. The online resource was developed to address a local issue but it may be rolled out as part of the overall governance toolkit being developed by CRUE. Without good communications it is easy to blame the IT department when something goes wrong. With a resource that highlights and communicates the reasons behind decisions, it is harder for such a blame culture to be established and should, with greater understanding by the senior management in an institution, result in better IT governance.

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