While more than 91 percent of executives recognize that information technology (IT) is vital to the success of their businesses, more than two-thirds of CEOs are not comfortable answering questions about governance and control over their IT processes. This is despite the fact that Sarbanes-Oxley in the U.S., and increased scrutiny worldwide, has focused attention not only on enterprise finances but on the IT processes that underlie the financial systems of any corporation.

These findings come from the recent IT Governance Global Status Report from the IT Governance Institute (ITGI), conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The report also found that although 76 percent of business leaders are aware that they have IT problems that could be resolved by implementing an IT governance framework, a staggering 42 percent are not considering implementing an IT governance program.

"The IT Governance Global Status Report provides tremendous insight into the state of IT governance and the gaps that must be closed if executives are to confidently certify their financial results," said Marios Damianides, CISM, CISA, CPA, CA, partner, Ernst & Young, and international president of ITGI. "While executives and board members clearly understand the importance of IT to their business, they must also recognize the vital importance of a well controlled IT environment."

The IT Governance Global Status Report also found a clear positive relationship between the effectiveness of IT governance measures and the frequency with which IT is discussed at the board level. Companies that say IT is always on the board agenda reported:

  • Better measurement of IT performance
  • Better management of IT resources
  • Better risk management
  • Better delivery of business value through IT
  • Better alignment of IT with the company strategy

A total of 335 chief executive officers (CEOs) and chief information officers (CIOs) in 21 countries spanning all continents (out of an initial sample of 7,000) were interviewed for the research report. Respondents represent an appropriate mix of large, small and medium companies, as well as industry sectors such as financial services, manufacturing, IT/telecom, retail, government and other. The research report will be published and available in mid-2004. An executive summary of the report will be available as a complimentary download at http://www.itgi.org/ and the full report available for purchase from http://www.isaca.org/ at the end of July 2004.

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