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The easily transferable framework

F.Y. Teng | April 11, 2012
Reworking IT governance at the National Library Board Singapore and seeing it work for the rest of the organisation's operations.

"The NLB has also formulated an IT Report Card to periodically report pertinent KPIs [key performance indicators] to the ICTSC and ITAC so that the two committees can keep a finger on the pulse of IT performance. Such KPIs pertain to areas such as customer satisfaction, alignment to the whole-of-government IT masterplan, business resilience, security and service standards," Chan says.

There are plans to extend the use of the new framework to enhance investment value, Chan tells us. "As part of the efforts to enhance IT governance as laid out in the roadmap, the NLB has embarked on a feasibility study for the development of a 'Val NLB' program to guide investment decisions, to monitor for results, and to guide management actions to mitigate underperforming investments," says Chan. "The framework should include an integrated approach to operationalise the processes for portfolio management, project management, risk management and business case management."

Meeting Perennial Challenges
The "formalisation and implementation of the NLB IT Governance Framework was significant," Chan tells us, because it drove his organisation closer to having "good overall governance."

"Instituting good IT governance is by no means a trivial exercise as it requires a myriad organisational, mindset and behavioural changes across many segments of the organisation over time," says Chan. "That's because IT governance challenges the conventional and deeply entrenched mentality on how IT should be governed at the NLB-a notion that was largely based on tacit knowledge and raw human judgement rather than on an organised framework."

Chan elaborates. "It also required a positive change in how people work and interact with each other on IT matters in general, and IT decision-making in particular," he says. "Being able to help NLBians understand this need for change and be willing to change was therefore vital to the success of IT governance. It behoved the NLB to communicate well to every level of the organisation what IT governance was about and why it was important to the NLB."

Why IT's important to the NLB has to be demonstrated, of course. "Like all other government agencies in Singapore, the NLB is subject to various change drivers such as government directives and policies, threats to the business-for example, changes to the patron's lifestyle preferences for knowledge acquisition-and technology obsolescence," says Chan. "To manage such changes proactively and effectively, the NLB's business must be correspondingly agile and forward looking. Among other key business strategies, staying the time-tested course to exploit IT will help to assure this. On the flip side, the inherent and perennial challenges presented by IT will in turn require the NLB to constantly strengthen the governance framework and operationalise it well in order to meet the ensuing challenges with confidence."


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