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IT Governance and Interoperability

Developing appropriate IT governance capabilities for interoperability is an iterative and dynamic process. Depending on the scope of the interoperability initiative and the organizations involved, the appropriate governance design may involve multiple governance bodies and be developed in an iterative fashion over time, or it may involve one body and be created through one piece of legislation. Regardless of the numbers and types of organizations involved, the components of IT governance must be assessed in terms of what is necessary to achieve the goals of improved interoperability. Investments in the development of new IT governance capability must be informed by a clear understanding of the value it will create. The focus must first be on the value of interoperability in terms of specific strategic objectives: What new kinds of interoperability are necessary to achieve those strategic objectives? Then, the focus must be on what decisions must be made to create the desired interoperability. Finally, governments must determine the adequacy of existing IT governance structures. If new IT governance capability is necessary, then governments must decide what scope of concern a new IT governance body must have to ensure the decisions that must be made will, in fact, be made, acted on, and reviewed. They must decide what bodies will be created, where will they be placed, and what authority each one will have. Governments need to identify which organizations are in some way involved in that decision making area, which organizations should specifically be members of these bodies, and how the bodies will actually work, both internally and in concert with other bodies, once the members convene. Then governments must actually create a governance structure that has the necessary power and authority to enable the coordinated action necessary to achieve those objectives.


The authors would like to thank Microsoft Corporation for their support in the development of this white paper. In particular, we would like to acknowledge Lorenzo Madrid, Director of Microsoft’s WW Public Sector Government Interoperability Engagement Program.