Monday, August 8, 2011

What do you call stupidity sent to University?

I’m paraphrasing P.J O’Rourke for the title of this blog and I want to talk about boards of directors and IT Governance standards over the next few weeks.

Now I know that most Boards are about to be mightily offended by this, but, lets face it, as the ultimate authority within corporations, the apex of the pyramid, the pinnacle of success, they are the ones responsible for the economic mess we all find ourselves in.

Now they want to stick their all-seeing, all-knowing fingers into the world of technology. They’re going to take everything they learned in creating economic chaos apply it to the technology used in their companies under the banner of governance - as soon as you hear this word uttered you will see rapturous faces as the hallelujah chorus comes up.

This isn’t a good thing. The Hallelujah Chorus is about the end of the world.

The first reason you know your screwed is when you start hearing about COBIT, ISO38500, AS8015. This alphanumeric upchuck represents the rules you’ll live your life by after the Board has finished applying them. Not to improve things in the company mind you, but to cover their butts and make sure they don’t get fitted for an orange jump suit and set up for the ‘perp walk’ from the front of the building.

Don’t buy into the bullshit, this isn’t about efficiency, effectiveness and oversight.

You see the principles espoused in these tomes of wisdom are documented, codified and formalised in this way to provide cover for the board and keep the auditors off their collective backs because their trusted lieutenants, their management team, actively avoid and sabotage at every turn everything that is defined in those ‘governance standards’ and they don’t want to, or won’t address that problem.

The dirty little secret is that COBIT, AS8015 and ISO38500 are all about getting business to own and take responsibility for their part of the technical puzzle that is information technology and telecommunications within your corporate environment.

This explosion of standards and guidelines is documented, defined and cross-referenced because common sense isn’t common.

In a future blog entry I’ll talk about why, regardless of standards and the miasmatic alphabet soup above this is doomed to failure without a wholesale change in corporate culture and the reversal of 30+ years of business practice.

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