ISACA Provides Direction for Achieving Business Benefits

Global IT association ISACA has laid out comprehensive strategy for how organizations can realize more robust business benefits from their technology-enabled investments.

Its new COBIT 5 for Business Benefits Realization is a practical guide that builds on the COBIT 5 framework, focuses on governance and management components of business benefits realization, and provides direction for governance and business management experts, IT professionals and others at all levels of an enterprise.

“This publication provides valuable insights into key links that connect business benefits realization to enterprise and IT strategy,” said Christos Dimitriadis, Ph.D., CISA, CISM, CRISC, chair of ISACA’s board of directors and group director of information security for INTRALOT. “COBIT 5’s governance and management principles can be applied in digital transformation projects and in any industry toward business innovation.”

As business leaders seek to keep pace with a rapidly evolving landscape, organizations target technology-enabled investments as the pathway to growth. The results, though, are not always as they anticipate. COBIT 5 for Business Benefits Realization points to studies showing that fewer than half of IT-enabled initiatives delivered the expected business benefits for the majority of enterprises. That can cause organizations substantial harm.

“Business benefits realization is a requirement from stakeholders and governance bodies to ensure that IT-business activity achieves the benefits that are envisioned when key investment decisions are made,” according to the guide, which also refers to common barriers that can complicate the process:

1. Difficulty in determining when and to what extent business benefits are realized. The time lag between when an investment decision is made and when benefits are realized can be a complicating factor.
2. Misconceptions that business benefits realization management is simple
3. The knowing-doing gap – when good management practices are known but rarely applied

Some of the solutions include breaking down initiatives into modules, taking a realistic view of the focus required to realize benefits, and planning for extensive coordination to account for the multi-disciplinary and cross-functional nature of business benefits realization management.

COBIT 5 for Business Benefits Realization emphasizes that executive management should drive creation of the governance and management structures needed to assure that the organization’s specific requirements for business benefits realization are met. Major IT initiatives often fail without proper ownership taken of new policies and procedures, according to the guide.

The book outlines how COBIT 5 enables six key characteristics of business success through its governance and management processes that help optimize risk and resources. According to a recent ISACA survey, 3 in 4 users say COBIT 5 has helped them address practical business issues beyond governance of enterprise IT, and more than 90% would recommend the framework to others.

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