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it_governance1
IT governance is about determining WHO systematically makes and contributes to decisions, not about making specific IT decisions (Management does that). Since IT planning processes have changed over the last few years (There are virtually no static multi-year plans left. Planning and executions happen simultaneously.), a clear and smooth operating Governance structure is needed for allowing well informed information and technology decisions to be made effectively, transparently and quickly.

What is the decision domain of IT Governance?

    • Defining role of IT in the organization. (Defining the underlying Principles. Define how we use IT to our advantage)
    • Decisions involving infrastructure strategies.(How and by whom)
    • Decisions involving systems and services architecture (Compatibility and Integration)
    • Defining who is responsible and accountable for what?
    • Decisions regarding business applications (How, by whom and at what level)
    • Defining Investment and Priorities (How much, how and by whom

‘Effective governance processes are characterized by both methodological comprehensiveness and social interventions, involving strategic integration of business and IT decisions and building collaborative relationships and shared understanding among key stakeholders.

Toward Good Governance

Good governance and decision making in higher education institutions is impacted by (Source: Educause Material):

  • Institutional characteristics
    • Culture and Climate
    • Private vs. Public institutions
    • Research Intensive, comprehensive vs. Liberal Arts and Sciences. (Research demands a diverse and robust IT infrastructure. Standards are less likely to be in place.)
    • Size does matter
  • Sources and level of funding
    • In well funded institutions the leveraging of resources is less of an argument
    • Needed is a predictable stream of operational and capital funds (Need to understand the degree of risk the institution is willing to take)
  • Leadership style
    • Leadership style of the CEO and other exec officers
    • Vice Provost vs. Vice President
    • o In academic institutions the CIO needs to report to the academic leadership
  • * Formality of planning
    • IT planning should align with the institutional planning mode
  • Organizational culture
    • For most day to day activities, culture determines how things get done.
    • Mistrust and silos make good governance difficult, if not impossible. (Too much time is spent on politics)
  • Decision making style
    • Decision making style of the CEO and other exec officers. Highly centralized decision making structures are less likely to be effective
  • Type of IT leadership structure
    • Having a seat ‘at the table’ is crucial

Elements of good governance

    1. Well defined governance bodies (base them on items listed above)
    2. Well defined roles of the decision making groups
    3. Well defined interrelationships with various other IT groups (Understand central and Unit roles)

Other elements impacting IT Governance:

  • Top Level Understanding and Support:
    1. CEO understands importance of IT to all sectors of the institution
    2. CEO understands that changes in IT organization and decision making are needed
    3. CIO receives significant executive power
    4. CEO concurs with concept of using a formal IT planning and management model linked to budget and personnel evaluations
  • Type of CIO
    1. CIO needs to be ‘at the table’
    2. CEO needs to be personally involved with the CIO helping designing and implementing the governance structures
    3. Clearly defined CIO position and role: CIO involved in general decision making, not just IT
  • * Definition of Policy and Decision Making Roles
    1. Desirable to have a IT Policy group made up of key decision makers from across the institution. Responsible for: Deriving policies, approving major institutional IT initiatives, approve the IT plan, make detailed recommendation regarding the allocation of IT resources, both central and distributed.
    2. Establish advisory committees for areas such as:
  • Academic issues
  • Administrative issues
  • Student issues
  • Definition of Central and Distributed IT Unit Roles
    1. Central Unit Roles clearly delineated and defined
    2. Distributed IT Unit Roles clearly delineated and defined
    3. Relationship between Central and Distributed components clearly delineated and defined
  • Definition of IT Planning Style
    1. Link strategic planning with management, have objectives tied to budget, and have assigned personal responsibilities to managers.
    2. Refresh plan every year, with a 3 year rolling planning cycle.
    3. All distributed IT Unit plans are part of the final plan and all segments of the client community were involved.

Critical Success Factors:

    • Ensure there is a philosophical fit between the CIO’s style and the CEO’s
    • CIO position is a the cabinet level and CIO establishes relationships within the group
    • Match Governance structure to decision making style of the Institution
    • Align IT Planning with Institutional Planning. Link it to budget and Unit and individual performance
    • Build processes into governance that focus on alignment and trust development between all Units and their clients
    • Carefully develop role definitions and care for them over time
    • Build various and continuous feedback loops in all processes
    • Asses results fro processes and report them to all IT constituents
    • Remain open to adjusting processes and have a methodology defined to do it
    • Educate constituents; communicate to them the vision, opportunities for involvement, annual objectives, and results

IT Decisions Domains

The five key decision domains they identified to define the scope of IT are:

    • IT principles; High level statements on what the role is of IT and how IT will be used. E.g. Utilize industry standards, Rapid deployment of new applications, Reuse before buy; buy before build.
    • IT infrastructure strategies: Strategies for the base foundation, centrally coordinated services; how should these be priced; how to keep these up to date. e. g., network, shared data, etc.
    • IT architecture; Set of technical choices to guide the organization. The architecture is a set of policies and rules that direct the use of IT, including technology, data, applications, etc.
    • Business application needs; Specifying the needs for purchased or internally developed systems.
    • IT investment; Decisions about how much and where to invest in IT including project approvals.
businesscontinuity1

A holistic management process that identifies potential threats to an organization and the impacts to business operations that those threats, if realized, might cause, and which provides a framework for building organizational resilience with the capability for an effective response that safeguards the interests of its key stakeholders, reputation, brand and value-creating activities.

The business continuity management life-cycle includes a series of steps:

    • risk assessment
    • business impact analysis (BIA)
    • plan development
    • documentation
    • testing
    • maintenance

Identifying the products & services on which an organization depends for survival and what will be required for an organization to continue to meet its obligations.
Business continuity management involves managing the recovery or continuation of business activities in the event of a business disruption, and management of the overall programme through training, exercises and reviews, to ensure the business continuity plan(s) stays current and up-to-date.

Disaster-Recovery-Planning1

Disaster Recovery Planning (DRP)’s are usually technical and will focus on the recovery of specific operations, functions, sites, services or applications.Immediate intervention taken by an organization to minimize further losses brought on by a disaster and to begin the process of recovery, including activities and programs designed to restore critical business functions and return the organization to an acceptable condition.

businesscontinuityplan1

Business continuity planning (BCP) involves the processes and procedures for the development, testing and maintenance of a (series of) plan(s) that will enable an organization to continue operating during and after a disaster. Plans are typically designed to cope with incidents affecting all the organization’s business-critical processes and activities, from failure of a single server, or server room, all the way through to complete loss of a major facility.

solutions-services1

ALU Technologies offers a wide range of information communication technology solutions to the financial, manufacturing, retail and Government and parastatal sectors. We deliver services in the design, planning, implementation, maintenance and support of the following products:

    • HP/Compaq –  Server (all ranges) PCs and HP printers.
    • IBM – Servers (all ranges), PCs, Printers and Software.
    • HP/EPSON – Printers.
    •  Microsoft – Office, Terminal Services, Exchange and Operating system software
    • Cisco – Switching and routing products.
    • 3 Com – Switching products.
    • Krone and Molex – Structured Cabling.

The solutions we offer include:

    • Servers – For application, database, Exchange and website hosting
    • Workstation
    • Printers – For individual, departmental and corporate printing needs
    • Security – For complete information protection.

Competitive Factors

ALU Technologies boasts of the following competences;

    • High Skills Level: ALU prides itself with highly qualified members of staff
    • Customer Focus: At ALU customer satisfaction is our topmost priority in all our activities. We consider the job not finished until the customers is satisfied
    • Speedy Delivery: ALU always puts its best effort to meet the customer’s expected delivery time.
    • Brand Reputation: ALU only installs and supplies equipment of reputable brands. As a matter of policy, we do not give our clients substandard materials.
Networking1

ALU Technologies offers a variety of networking solutions. Our staff is well trained in local area network LAN, WAN and VSAT setup and structured cabling, all done according to the customer’s specifications.

Network Assurance
Traditionally organizations have focused on securing data and systems, without fully addressing the network that connects these systems and transports data. As networks have evolved, security has increasingly manifested itself in the fabric of the network. When this trend is combined with the rapid changes in network infrastructure, it requires organizations to examine the connectivity of their networks as thoroughly as they would the systems and data. This is the missing piece in many organizations today.

ALU Technologies has systems in place that ensures network Assurance.
Network Assurance quantifies risk from a network point of view, based on a comprehensive set of metrics. A complement to system and data-level security solutions, Network Assurance completes the risk management equation by measuring the impact of network change on security, availability, and compliance. Only with a complete understanding of connectivity and network defenses, can organizations increase security posture in the face of accelerating infrastructure change.

ALU offers network support and maintenance contracts so as to ensure the smooth running of the network. We also offer training for staff to enable the client to enjoy the full benefits of the network.

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consulting1

ALU Technologies offers the following services:

Time and Materials – Single Support Call

ALU Technologies provides “On request support” as and when problems arise.

Time and Material – Infrastructure Deployment
ALU Technologies efficiently deploys ICT Infrastructure projects where every solution is regarded as a project in its own right and special attention is dedicated to the documentation of requirements. Every project is conceived under a vision scope, which is further described in a functional specification. These documents together with a project plan become the fundamental guide for the deployment of the project. At the conclusion of the project, a verification and sign-off process is completed, ensuring that customer expectations have been met and that project documentation remains with the customer.

Contracted Support

This service allows customers to purchase a set number of support hours per quarter from ALU Technologies, under guaranteed response time to attend to support calls. The usage of the contract is flexible. It can be used for almost any task that involves ICT activities on the Network, such as:

Day-to-day maintenance and housekeeping tasks

One-to-one training and skills transfer
Further development of the existing ICT infrastructure
Implementation of new systems to meet specific customer requirements

The usage of the contract is administered in conjunction with the customer. Under the scope of the contract, ALU Technologies becomes a “Technology Partner”, providing advice on the technologies available and the best way to address technological change in line with business requirements, acting as a compliment to existing internal resources. This allows the internal ICT personnel to concentrate their efforts on the management and planning of ICT.