IT Steering Committees: No. 1 IT Management Best Practice

August, 2011

IRVINE, CALIF. – Nearly 80% of all IT organizations have steering committees and 69% of those organizations make full use of their committees, meaning the committees meet regularly to align IT’s goals, objectives, and priorities with the needs of the business, according to the Computer Economics IT Management Best Practices 2011/2012 study.

The use of IT steering committees ranks No. 1 as the most mature IT management practice out of 15 practices covered in the recently released study. Steering committees, which usually include executives and departmental heads, set priorities from among competing requests for IT projects, services, and attention, among other duties.

To qualify as mature, a practice must only be widely adopted but also fully practiced. The annual survey of more than 200 IT organizations determined that the second and third most mature IT management practices are use of IT change control boards and regular testing of the disaster recovery plans.

“Any IT executive whose organization is not actively engaging in these practices should be asking themselves why not?” said Frank Scavo, president of Computer Economics, the Irvine, Calif.-based IT research and advisory board. “These practices have withstood the test of time. They would not be so widely practiced if they were not effective.”

The practice ranking as the least mature is active contribution to open source development projects. Less than 8% of IT organizations contribute to open-source projects, and only 31% of contributors fully engage in the practice. Moreover, this practice appears to be in decline.

Other practices assessed in the full study include IT security auditing, multiyear IT strategic planning, user-satisfaction surveys, project management office (PMO), IT benchmarking, publishing of performance metrics, IT project portfolio management, IT asset management systems, post-implementation audits, IT Infrastructure Library implementation, and IT Balanced Scorecard.

Ten sample pages from the full study are available on the Computer Economics website.

About the Study
The IT Management Best Practices 2011/2012 study is based on an annual survey by Computer Economics of over 200 IT organizations to determine to what extent they are engaged with a list of 15 IT management best practices. Respondents are given five response choices: no activity, considering, implementing, partially practicing, and fully practicing. The responses enable us to determine not only how widely a practice is being adopted, but also how vigorously it is being practiced, and how quickly it is likely to grow. By comparing current-year responses with those in prior years, we can also assess how much a practice has grown. The study is designed to: (1) Increase the awareness of IT leaders concerning what are best practices in IT management, (2) Provide benchmarks against which an IT organization can compare its own adoption and practice level, and (3) Justify investments to improve an organization’s IT management practices.