Gartner Says Great Governance Not an Accident

In order to successfully implement governance in their organizations, CIOs need to provide both leadership as well as execution, a Gartner vice president plans to tell IT executives attending the analyst firm’s Program and Portfolio Management (PPM) and IT Governance Summit this week in London.

“One of the most important functions of governance is to provide controls that prevent chaotic or reckless behavior on the part of the organization and its people,” Tina Nunno, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, said in a statement released in advance of the summit’s Tuesday start.

“Good governance is about control while great governance is about guidance and competitive advantage,” Nunno added.

In fact, companies with great governance can experience substantial payoffs in real dollars and cents — as much as 20 percent higher return on IT-related assets than less well implemented governance programs.

“CIOs with great governance create competitive advantage by embracing emerging technologies, innovation and, most important, the concept of calculated risk,” she said.

That doesn’t mean, however, that everyone has to march in lockstep to the governance drum in order to be successful.

“As governance becomes more mature, it becomes less bureaucratic … [which] reduces conflict between stakeholders, finance can easily track organization spending against framework priority categories, business performance significantly improves, and the organization reacts better to competitive threats,” Nunno said.

Achieving successful governance requires at least two critical success factors, though. First, CIOs should match team members’ skill sets with their roles in order to assure the best possible fit.

Additionally, the CIO should make sure that integrated communication is in place so that governance input and execution is clear and consistent.

“The highest levels of governance maturity produce the most value … While most organizations limit governance to gaining control and eliminating bad risks, the highest-performing organizations also use it to take good risks and gain competitive advantage,” Nunno said.

The Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summit runs through Wednesday.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.