Governance is not management: 2 ways to achieve a holistic IT strategy

June 29, 2015 by Jatheon

A holistic approach to IT can certainly pay off for businesses. A more focused and balanced method of working with the IT department, and an emphasis on integrating its functions throughout a company, can help turn IT into a companywide asset. Making that change isn’t always easy, however. Companies that can’t take a modern approach to IT are missing out on using powerful tools such as data archive solutions to their fullest.

“When the reality of the situation is understood, the transition to a more holistic strategy is possible.”

1. Recognize the difficulty
Holistic ultimately means that all the necessary parts and processes are working together on a deep, meaningful level. Common definitions of the word – free from its specific context in IT – include a mention that the parts are mostly or wholly indistinguishable from the whole. That’s what makes the idea of a holistic anything so attractive, a deep level of connection and cooperation that doesn’t ensure the growth or development of a project or department, but an organization as a whole.

Of course, creating a truly and deeply holistic strategy isn’t easy. As beneficial as it is to connect all areas of IT across a company and have a unified strategy, there will be significant difficulties in developing and implementing the plan. That’s not to say the concept is more trouble than it’s worth, but business leaders have to be prepared for the changes and growing pains that will inevitably occur. Different approaches are needed and staff will have to learn alternative methods for approaching various aspects of IT. When the reality of the situation is understood, the transition to a more holistic strategy is possible.

2. A focus on information governance
A holistic approach to IT overall means some significant changes for everyone, but the changes needed in the IT department can sometimes be overlooked. While every department and team plays a part in a holistic strategy, the IT team still has to be a major presence for everything to work smoothly. This track will likely require IT staff to move beyond information management and into the realm of information governance. With good governance comes stronger compliance and security efforts, as Datamation pointed out. While this approach requires a leaving of the comfort zone for staff, it pays off for the company as a whole. The systems necessary to take a governance-based approach are ready to be used.

The specifics of developing a holistic IT strategy will always vary between companies. The important thing for leaders to understand is that whatever work is involved in moving into a more modern and effective approach to IT is generally worth it. The time and effort put into developing IT as an asset and tapping into more processes and systems ultimately benefits the company in terms of both effectiveness and the financial bottom line. With access to new systems and more thorough use of the value of the IT department as results, it’s not difficult to see why.

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