Comparison and Integration of IT Governance Frameworks to support IT Management

Comparison and Integration of IT Governance Frameworks to support IT Management

S. Looso, M. Goeken, W. Johannsen
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-889-6.ch005
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Recent years have seen an unprecedented consolidation of best practice know-how in various areas of IT management. With it came a certain popularity of standards and reference models (COBIT, ITIL, CMMI, ISO/IEC 27000 family etc.) commonly classified as frameworks for IT governance. Each of these frameworks aims to support certain parts of IT management with best practice knowledge and enhances the quality of the delivered IT Services. But now we are facing a situation characterised by an abundance of these IT governance frameworks. In particular their combined or parallel usage increasingly creates redundancies and issues of complexity. To organise an efficient interaction between frameworks and to cope with their heterogeneity; e.g. in process semantics and description techniques; the application of these frameworks has become a lively issue of research. In this contribution the authors will reflect on the state of the art in comparing and integrating IT governance frameworks, analyse pros and cons of various approaches, and present their own approach based on metamodelling. The authors consider metamodelling a promising approach to close the gap between high-level comparison and detailed mapping as it allows an identification of redundancies and incoherent semantics on a framework-independent level. Promising an increasing return on investment, harmonisation is an important topic within IT departments (Siviy et al., 2007). This approach is a first step toward an integrated and harmonised handling of the meanwhile mandatory frameworks for IT management.
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Emergence Of Multimodel Environments

Companies are exposed to the coexistence of several frameworks, which are used in parallel or partially to support the different tasks of an IT department. The frameworks increasingly show overlapping areas with respect to their functions and application areas although they focus on different purposes. COBIT for example is commonly used by auditors and accountants (ITGI, 2007a & 2006a) whereas IT developers often use CMMI however COBIT includes a maturity model (SEI, 2007). IT operations although it could be ITIL focused may however cover business value issues addressed also by COBIT (OGC, 2000 & 2007). The supervised and controlled combination and integration is a precondition for an effective usage and the disposal of the disadvantages of each individual framework.

The multimodel environment (Siviy et al., 2008) – creates a significant challenge for companies’ IT departments as (1) partial or customized frameworks and/or (2) their usage in parallel will trigger the inherit complexity of applying frameworks and the cost of covering overlapping and redundant application fields to soar and application costs to rise. Thus a satisfactory cost/benefit ratio in a multimodel environment may hard to gain.

In recognition of these developments, our approach consists of two parts analysis (I) and reduction of overall complexity (II):

  • I.

    Situation analysis: We investigate why companies (1) may use only parts of frameworks and (2) why they tend to apply a multiple of frameworks in parallel and what obstacles they have to overcome by doing so.

  • II.

    Complexity reduction: We propose (1) to compare and (2) to integrate IT governance frameworks according to requirements in question.

Ad I.1 Frameworks as e.g. COBIT, ITIL or ISO 27000 all have a potentially deep impact on to a company’s process architecture and process operations. The partial use of frameworks reflects the reluctance of companies to accept the costs caused by the amount of change going along with an implementation. A pragmatic approach to avoid these drawbacks is ‘cherry picking” i.e. trying to select only those parts fitting to specific requirements as e.g. strategic planning, service level management or sourcing.

Ad I 2 We identified three main reasons leading to the application of multiple frameworks in parallel.

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