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Steps to Select the Right IT Governance Framework

Steps To Select IT Governance Framework

Imagine standing in front of a vast library filled with countless books. Each book promises to help you build a better business, but how do you choose the one that’s right for your needs? Selecting the right IT governance framework is similar – it’s about finding the perfect match to guide your organization toward its goals.

Building on our previous exploration of what IT governance frameworks are and the different types available, such as COBIT, ITIL, ISO/IEC 38500, and CMMI, it’s time to discuss the steps necessary to choose the right framework for your business.

Steps to Choose the Right Framework for your Business

  1. Understand Your Business Needs and Goals

Start by thoroughly understanding your business’s unique needs and strategic goals. This foundational step ensures that your chosen framework aligns with your overarching objectives. Consider:

  • Primary Objectives: Define what you aim to achieve with IT governance. For example, if your goal is to enhance data security due to recent breaches, frameworks like ISO/IEC 38500 can provide strong governance principles to safeguard information.
  • Specific Challenges: Identify pain points such as inefficient processes, compliance issues, or outdated technologies. COBIT is particularly effective for organizations needing comprehensive control over IT processes and resources.
  • Strategic Alignment: Ensure that IT governance supports your business strategy. ITIL, for instance, is excellent for improving IT service management and aligning IT services with business needs.
  1. Conduct a Gap Analysis

Perform a gap analysis to determine where your current IT governance practices fall short and where you need to be. This involves:

  • Assessing Current State: Review your existing IT governance policies, processes, and tools. For example, if your organization struggles with process maturity, frameworks like CMMI can help improve process quality and maturity.
  • Defining Desired State: Clearly outline your IT governance goals. Aiming for ITIL implementation might be beneficial if improving IT service delivery is your primary goal.
  • Identifying Gaps: Pinpoint areas needing improvement. Using COBIT can help identify and bridge gaps in IT control and compliance.
  1. Engage Stakeholders

Involving key stakeholders from various departments ensures that the selected framework meets the needs of the entire organization. This collaborative approach includes:

  • Identifying Stakeholders: Include representatives from IT, finance, operations, and executive leadership.
  • Gathering Input: Collect feedback on current issues and desired improvements. For instance, feedback from IT could indicate a need for the structured process improvement capabilities of CMMI.
  • Building Consensus: Ensure all parties support the chosen framework. COBIT’s focus on aligning IT with business objectives can help gain consensus across different departments.
  1. Pilot the Framework

Testing the framework in a specific department or project allows you to assess its effectiveness before full implementation. This step includes:

  • Selecting a Pilot Area: Choose a department or project where the framework can be tested. Piloting ITIL in your customer service department can improve service management and delivery.
  • Testing and Adjusting: Implement the framework on a small scale, gather feedback, and make necessary adjustments. Piloting COBIT can help refine IT control and governance processes before a broader rollout.
  • Demonstrating Value: Showcase the benefits observed during the pilot to gain broader support. Highlighting improved service delivery with ITIL can help secure buy-in from other departments.
  1. Implement and Monitor

Once you’ve piloted the framework and made necessary adjustments, implement it across the organization with a focus on:

  • Clear Communication: Inform all stakeholders about the framework, its benefits, and the implementation process. Communicating the benefits of ISO/IEC 38500 in ensuring governance principles can help align everyone with the new framework.
  • Training Programs: Provide comprehensive training to ensure everyone understands and can effectively use the framework. Training on ITIL can help employees understand how to improve service management.
  • Ongoing Monitoring: Regularly review the framework’s performance and make adjustments as needed. Use COBIT to continually monitor and optimize IT governance processes.
  1. Continuous Improvement

IT governance is an ongoing process that requires continuous evaluation and improvement. This involves:

  • Regular Reviews: Schedule periodic reviews to assess the framework’s effectiveness. Using CMMI, regularly assess and improve process maturity.
  • Gathering Feedback: Continuously collect feedback from users to identify areas for improvement. Feedback on ITIL implementation can help refine service management practices.
  • Adapting to Change: Stay updated with industry best practices and evolving business needs. COBIT’s flexibility can help adapt to changing regulatory and business environments.

Decision Tree: Choosing the Right IT Governance Framework

To help you decide which IT governance framework might be the best fit for your business, follow this decision tree:

  1. Is improving IT service management a primary goal?
    • Yes: Consider ITIL.
    • No: Proceed to the next question.
  2. Is aligning IT with business objectives and improving control over IT processes important?
    • Yes: Consider COBIT or Calder-Moir IT Governance Framework.
    • No: Proceed to the next question.
  3. Do you need a framework to enhance process maturity and performance?
    • Yes: Consider CMMI.
    • No: Proceed to the next question.
  4. Is managing IT resources effectively a major concern?
    • Yes: Consider ISO/IEC 38500.
    • No: Proceed to the next question.
  5. Is risk management, including security and compliance, a significant priority?
    • Yes: Consider one of the following:
      • ISO/IEC 27000:2018
      • FAIR (Factor Analysis of Information Risk)
      • ISO/IEC 31000:2018
      • ISO/IEC 27001:2013
    • No: Proceed to the next question.
  6. Do you need a framework for business continuity and disaster recovery planning?
    • Yes: Consider the Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) Framework.
    • No: Proceed to the next question.
  7. Is your focus on effective project management and governance?
    • Yes: Consider one of the following:
      • PMBOK® (Project Management Body of Knowledge)
      • PRINCE2®
    • No: Proceed to the next question.
  8. Are you looking to improve corporate governance and ensure ethical operations?
    • Yes: Consider one of the following:
      • King Reports on Corporate Governance
      • COSO (Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission)
    • No: Proceed to the next question.
  9. Do you have specific industry standards or sector-specific needs to address?
    • Yes: Consider Sector-Specific Standards relevant to your industry.
    • No: Reevaluate your specific needs and consider consulting with a professional for a tailored recommendation.

This decision tree should help guide you toward selecting the most appropriate IT governance framework based on your specific business requirements and priorities.


Selecting the right IT governance framework is essential for aligning your IT strategy with business goals. By following these steps, you can ensure a framework that supports efficiency, compliance, and growth.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on these steps. Have any suggestions or additional steps to include? Share your insights!

As you embark on this journey, consider leveraging the expertise of iTech GRC, an IBM OpenPages RegTech partner. Our consultants possess deep knowledge of various IT governance frameworks and can provide tailored guidance to streamline the process and ensure successful implementation. Schedule a consultation today and discover how we can help you achieve robust IT governance.

Also, stay tuned for our next blog ‘Steps to Develop an IT Governance Framework’, where we will dive deeper into creating a tailored IT governance framework for your organization.