Do Boards Need a Technology Audit Committee?

Do Boards Need a Technology Audit Committee?

What does FedEx, Pfizer, Wachovia, 3Com, Mellon Financial, Shurgard Storage, Sempra Energy and Proctor & Gamble have in commonplace technology definition? What board committee exists for only 10% of publicly traded companies, however, generates 6.5% more returns for those companies technology definition? What is the single biggest budget item after salaries and production system technology definition?technology

Technology choices will outlive the tenure of the control team making those choices technology definition. While the contemporary speedy tempo of technological exchange way that company generation decisions are frequent and far-accomplishing, the consequences of the selections-each proper and horrific-will stay with the company for a long time. Usually, generation selections are made unilaterally within the Information Technology (IT) organization, over which senior control selected to haven’t any enter or oversight. For the Board of a business to perform its responsibility to workout business judgment over key selections, the Board ought to have a mechanism for reviewing and guiding generation choices.

A current example in which this type of oversight would have helped became the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) mania of the mid-1990’s. At the time, many agencies were making an investment tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars (and sometimes masses of millions) on ERP structures from SAP and Oracle. Often these purchases have been justified via executives in Finance, HR or Operations strongly advocating their purchase as a manner of retaining up with their competitors, who were additionally putting in such structures. CIO’s and line executives regularly did no longer provide sufficient concept to the trouble of the way to make a successful transition to these very complex systems. Alignment of corporate assets and control of organizational change brought by using those new systems changed into neglected, regularly resulting in a disaster. Many billions of bucks were spent on systems that either should no longer be bought in any respect or have been brought before the purchaser corporations had been organized.


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Certainly, no a success medium or large commercial enterprise can be run these days without computer systems and the software program that makes them useful. Technology also represents one of the single biggest capital and working line object for commercial enterprise costs, out of doors of hard work and production equipment. For each of those reasons, Board-degree oversight of era is appropriate at some stage.audit

Can the Board of Directors preserve to go away those essential selections completely to the current control crew? Most huge technology selections are inherently risky (research have shown much less than half deliver on guarantees), even as bad selections take years to be repaired or replaced. Over 1/2 of the technology investments aren’t returning predicted profits in commercial enterprise performance; Boards are therefore turning into worried about era choices. It is unexpected that most effective ten percent of the publicly traded agencies have IT Audit Committees as part of their boards. However, the one’s agencies revel in a clear competitive gain in the form of a compounded annual go back 6.Five% greater than their competition.

Tectonic shifts are beneath manner in how era is being supplied, which the Board needs to recognize. IT industry consolidation critically decreases strategic flexibility with the aid of undercutting management’s capacity to don’t forget competitive alternatives, and it creates probably dangerous reliance on only a few key providers.

The middle asset of a flourishing and lasting enterprise is the capacity to reply or maybe assume the effect of outside forces. Technology has turned out to be a barrier to organizational agility for a number of motives:

o Core legacy systems have calcified
o IT infrastructure has failed to keep pace with modifications within the commercial enterprise
o Inflexible IT architecture effects in a high percentage of IT expenditure on upkeep of existing systems and no longer enough on new talents
o Short time period operational choices infringe on commercial enterprise’s longtime functionality to remain aggressive

Traditional Boards lack the skills to ask the right inquiries to make certain that technology is taken into consideration inside the context of regulatory necessities, danger, and agility. This is because technology is an extraordinarily new and fast-developing career. CEOs were round seeing that the beginning of time and financial counselors have been evolving over the last century. But generation is so new, and its price to set up adjustments dramatically, that the generation career is still maturing. Technologists have labored on how the systems are designed and used to remedy troubles going through the enterprise. Recently, they identified a need to recognize and be concerned with the enterprise method. The commercial enterprise leader and the economic leader neither have records nor experience making use of technology and making key generation decisions. The Board desires to be concerned with the executives making technology decisions, simply as the generation leader needs Board aid and guidance in making those choices.

Recent regulatory mandates which include Sarbanes-Oxley have modified the connection between the business chief and economic chief. They in flip are inquiring about similar assurances from the era chief. The commercial enterprise leader and monetary chief have professional advisors to manual their selections, together with legal professionals, accountants, and investment bankers. The technologist has relied upon the vendor network or experts who’ve their personal angle, and who won’t always be capable of offer pointers within the first-rate pastimes of the employer. The IT Audit Committee of the Board can and have to fill this gap.

What position have to the IT Audit Committee play inside the enterprise? The IT Audit characteristic of the Board should contribute towards:

1. Bringing era method into alignment with enterprise method.
2. Ensuring that technology selections are among the high-quality pastimes of shareholders.
Three. Fostering organizational development and alignment between commercial enterprise units.
Four. Increasing the Board’s ordinary knowledge of technical issues and effects within the company. This kind of knowledge can’t come from economic evaluation on my own.committee
5. Effective communication between the technologist and the Committee participants.

The IT Audit Committee does no longer require additional board members. Existing board members may be assigned the responsibility, and use consultants to assist them to recognize the problems sufficiently to offer steerage to the era chief. An assessment of existing IT Audit Committee Charters indicates the subsequent common traits:

1. Review, evaluate and make pointers on era-primarily based troubles of importance to the business.
O Appraise and significantly evaluate the economic, tactical and strategic blessings of proposed main generation associated tasks and generation structure alternatives.
O Oversee and critically evaluate the development of essential era associated initiatives and generation structure decisions.
2. Advise the senior generation management group at the firm
3. Monitor the great and effectiveness of generation systems and methods that relate to or have an effect on the company’s inner control systems.

Fundamentally, the Board’s position in IT Governance is to ensure alignment among IT tasks and business objectives, reveal moves taken by means of the technology steerage committee and validate that technology approaches and practices are delivering value to the business. Strategic alignment between IT and the business is fundamental to constructing a technology architectural basis that creates agile corporations. Boards have to be aware of technological danger exposures, management’s assessment of these dangers, and mitigation techniques considered and adopted.

There are not any new concepts right here-most effective confirmation of present governance charters. The execution of era selections falls upon the management of the enterprise. The oversight of management is the obligation of the Board. The Board wishes to take appropriate ownership and grow to be proactive in the governance of the generation.

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