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The Rise of Governance and Assurance

May 8, 2008

Rob England


Assurance is a good catch-all word. I quite like policing but I doubt it will catch on; too threatening for these PC times (for our British readers that is PC as in politically correct, not Police Constable). With that new concept gaining centre stage alongside service and governance as the third leg of the IT tripod supporting business-IT alignment, we can control how well, how right and how safely we do IT.


Just as the change required to meet the IT service requirement is not a process one, so too with IT governance and assurance. Nevertheless, the BOKs and the tools are required to support that change. People will look for BOKs aligning as neatly with IT governance and assurance as ITIL does with IT Service. COBIT and related publications are nearest to the IT assurance BOK, and the Val-IT publications are on the way to being the BOK for IT governance.


The growth of IT service management as a discipline within IT has been a good thing, and long overdue. But it has been a lopsided process: service management is not everything (not to hear some pundits tell it). Now we are seeing rising interest in “IT governance”, which if you look into it is actually interest in both IT governance and IT assurance/policing (and the underlying technology and processes to provide the data for both governance and assurance/policing, and to enact their directions).


The ITIL industry is worth several billion dollars a year. Now that there are two new markets opening up, vendors are salivating. The reaction of some CIOs will be horror at whole new vistas of IT spending, but just as ITSM is becoming a normal expectation of IT, so too will governance and assurance.


In 20 years, we will wonder what the fuss was about (Remember how exciting it was to actually monitor and manage your computers?). In the meantime, look forward to some excitement as IT Service’s star fades and two new ones burst into the sky.


Rob England, better known as The IT Skeptic, is an IT commentator, consultant and entrepreneur living in a little house in a little village in a little country far away.