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IT governance - an introduction

What is IT governance?

The vast majority of modern organizations rely on IT (information technology) in some capacity. In fact, most would be unable to function without it.

However, without a formal governance structure, corporate use of IT can often be at odds with wider business objectives, and return on IT investment not properly realized. The negative effects of this disconnection can be considerable.

Using a formal IT governance framework ensures the alignment of an organization’s IT and business strategy.

By following such a framework, organizations can demonstrate measurable results against their broader strategies and goals, ensure they meet relevant legal and regulatory obligations, and assure stakeholders that they can have confidence in the use of IT.

ISO 38500 - the IT governance standard

The international standard for the corporate governance of IT is ISO/IEC 38500:2015. This sets out principles, definitions, and a high-level framework that organizations of all types and sized can use to better align their IT with organizational decisions.

Buy the IT Governance standard

IT governance frameworks

As well as the international standard ISO 38500, there are numerous widely recognised, vendor-neutral, third-party frameworks that organisations can use to implement an IT governance programme.

Two of the most popular are ITIL® and COBIT®. Each has its own IT governance strengths – for instance, COBIT focuses more on process management and ITIL on service management – but you might benefit from an integrated approach, using parts of several different frameworks and standards to deliver the results you need.

Follow the links below to find out more about each framework.


ITIL is a framework for IT service management (ITSM) based around a five-phase service lifecycle: service strategy, service design, service transition, service operation, and continual service improvement.

Widely adopted around the world, ITIL is supported by international ITSM standard ISO/IEC 20000:2011 - the service management standard against which organisations can achieve independent certification.

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COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology) is an internationally recognized IT governance control framework that helps organizations meet business challenges in the areas of regulatory compliance, risk management, and aligning IT strategy with organizational goals.

COBIT® 2019, the latest iteration of the framework, was released in November 2018. It builds on COBIT 5, introducing new concepts and addressing the latest developments affecting enterprise IT.

Learn more about COBIT >>

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Subdomains of IT governance

In addition to the three frameworks listed above, there are many subdomains of IT governance, including:

Speak to an expert

If you need help assessing your infrastructure, or require support integrating the standards and key components of an IT governance framework, get in touch with our experts today.

We can help you determine the best steps forward and advise on which of our services would be best suited to your organization.

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