KPMG put out a 10 to-do items for Audit Committees that defines excellent areas that should receive attention given the economic and competitive environments. You can find the press release here. Upon reading it I was struck by possible Information Technology business to-do items related to security and risk management, and wanted to share those that struck me.
- IT Strategy should be reset – Nearly all budgets were changed in 2008/9 and required massive shifts from the original 1/2/5 year plans. This shift to the immediate short term to avoid becoming terminal has passed enough to pick our heads up and assess the landscape. Goals should be reviewed; priorities re-evaluated, and teams adjusted to fit the new operating norms. This is not an endorsement to double budgets or blindly return to old plans, but instead a call to refocus and consider the business and operating realities BEFORE moving into new initiatives.
- What was lost during the cutting? – As organizations went through mergers and shrunk budgets certain information safeguards were impacted. They may have been impacted by staff reductions or lapses in maintenance of systems. An inventory of the technology and process canvas is necessary to see what assets exist within the organization. Assets does not only mean hardware, but software, process, and the people that form the glue!
- Consider the Risk Landscape – As the business evolved and adjusted to the challenges of the past 2 years, many changes occurred to the operations and the structure of the business. These may include such things as divestitures; consolidations; new partnerships; outsourcing; cloud computing, and other strategic cost saving strategies. The end result is the creation of new logical relationships and inter-dependencies that require consideration. An enterprise risk analysis can uncover these newly formed risks, and ensure that they are satisfied with the appropriate and necessary safeguards.
- Duck and Cover – An unfortunate consequence of a challenging year (or two) for companies is the natural response for team members to literally put their heads down and avoid making sudden moves that may draw attention. This negatively impacts the business directly – a loss of innovation, good-will, and full engagement of each associate. Leaders can address this by communicating the state of the business and take demonstrable actions that solidify the message.
The most important aspect for IT strategy and business is to re-center, focus on the people, and push/pull/drag the organization to a stronger more secure future.
James DeLuccia IV