January 20, 2011 – Governance of enterprise IT is a priority with most enterprises, reveals new research from the nonprofit IT Governance Institute (ITGI), ISACA’s research affiliate, in a report to gauge perceptions on IT and enterprise governance.

Two-thirds of respondent enterprises have some governance activities in place, the most common being the use of IT policies and standards, followed by the employment of defined and managed IT processes. Of the C-level executives surveyed, 95 percent consider governance of enterprise IT important.

The global economic downturn has had an effect on IT activities, the primary response initiatives being a staff reduction and infrastructure consolidation, according to respondents. Increasing IT costs and an insufficient number of IT staff are the most common IT-related issues experienced by survey respondents in the past 12 months. Outsourcing is prevalent across the board, but especially in larger enterprises and those where IT is considered important or very important to the delivery of the business strategy or vision.

Respondents reported that 60 percent use or are planning to use cloud computing for non-mission-critical IT services, and more than 40 percent use or are planning to use it for mission-critical IT services. For companies that do not have plans to use cloud computing, the main reasons are data privacy and security concerns. One-third of the survey respondents reported significant legacy infrastructure investments are inhibiting their cloud computing plans. Enterprises will need to plan how legacy infrastructure investments should be managed and retired over time.

Only one out of five respondents believes that the benefits of employees using social networking outweigh the risks. Twice as many respondents believe the opposite:  that the risks outweigh the benefits.

“IT heads and business leaders do not tend to agree on how proactive the IT function is within the enterprise – 62.4 percent of IT heads say it is proactive, and only 35.6 percent of business executives agree with them,” says Ken Vander Wal, CISA, CPA, international vice president of ISACA. “IT managers can use governance of enterprise IT to make a significant impact with improved communication and more transparency between business and IT.”
“One way that IT managers can play a more proactive and valuable role is to focus more on IT innovation,” Vander Wal adds. “Fifty-seven percent of respondents whose enterprise IT function has a proactive role have implemented or are planning to implement projects that promote IT innovation.”

This survey was conducted from June 2010 to August 2010 and included more than 800 respondents from 21 countries. This is the fourth edition of the IT Governance Institute’s Global Status Report on the Governance of Enterprise IT (GEIT) and is available free.

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