Technology responsibilty: Get it right

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COMMENTARY: Senior managers, c-level executives, directors, and boards, in fact all of industry's masters and commanders who don't have the acumen to optimise their technology deployments as strategic levers, are neglecting their responsibilities to their shareholders, stakeholders, partners and staff.

There it is. There is no denying it. Forget the excuses. Irrespective of their age, training, background, or inclination, there are management teams treating technology as an operational black hole, from which only techno magicians can divine real power. These execs are like sea captains sailing between narrow miss and calamity, great at navigation but ignorant of the intricate workings of their vessel's engines, pumps and life boats.

Edge Zarrella is the global partner in charge of information risk management at professional services provider KPMG. His business is going through the roof, enjoying 30 percent growth and increased profitability of about 400 percent. He has about 2500 customers around the world, and is often called as an expert witness when technology responsibility gets litigious.

Edge is Australian. When in town, he is based in Sydney. He regularly tours the world's executive suites advising executives, who should know better, how to get out of IT messes. He is passionate about creating corporate cultures which capitalise on IT.

“There are some companies in Australia which have done it (corporate governance) very, very well. But then if you take IT risk mitigation and governance as a subset of that, KPMG has done enough surveys throughout the world to suggest that Australia is, at best, average or, at worst, well below average,” he says. “A lot of corporations still have projects going off the rails, many have not adequately implemented best practices, and many still just give harnessing IT a lot of lip service.”

Zarrella concurs that technology responsibility must be viewed holistically, if a business is going to realise its full potential. He says it's a dynamic process of which business excellence is core and supporting activities cover everything from governance through to risk mitigation to financial probity to compliance and best practices.

“Governance is very broad. It must cover strategic and operational aspects of the business. Its financial, its information, its compliance and reporting, its security. Its everything. A lot of people when they are talking governance, just talk financial, it isn't just financial. Its everything,” he says.

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