IT governance focuses on delivering business value of technology through four focus areas – Strategic Alignment with stakeholder values, Performance Measurement, Risk Management and IT Value Delivery. Enterprise Architecture frameworks that provide blueprints of the enterprise business processes, systems, information, infrastructure and technology are one of the foundational elements to implementing IT governance. Architects at all levels play an important role in this process. Enterprise Architects facilitate creation of the enterprise architecture. The Enterprise Architecture framework serves to provide context and content of technology assets and services that run and/or support the business. Enterprise Architecture, Portfolio Management and, Information Risk and Security are recognized as strategic pillars for planning and implementing enterprise wide governance of technology.
Architects of all roles – Business, Information, Infrastructure and Software have to keep governance requirements foremost in designing and managing architectures. Different architect role holders are responsible for governing architecture viewpoints, standards and assets for their respective areas of concern. Architects also enforce compliance and keep the architecture aligned with business changes. But the role of architects goes beyond providing a governance structure. Architects have to play a critical and leading role in design of the enterprise architecture that can enable effective governance in a globally distributed business and technology portfolio. Therefore, architects should not view governance as an overhead. Instead, the focus should be on a disciplined approach to meeting architecture requirements to deliver business value and mitigate risks, thus ensuring governance in a proactive, rather than reactive manner.
The major challenges architects have in the area of IT governance are related to knowledge and disciplined adoption of practices for governance. The better embedded an architecture function is within the IT organization and the better alignment between business and IT, the easier it is to govern over the lifecycle. Architects should also create enablers for governance such as reference architecture, architecture principles, standards and policies. Creation of an architecture governance framework will lead to increasing maturity and re-use of assets and IP. Architects should promote self-governance by ensuring business value is delivered from IT solutions and that architectural requirements for technology are well designed and implemented.