TotalCIO

Jul 17 2009   2:44PM GMT

What is transparency, and how is it relevant to IT?

Karen Guglielmo Karen Guglielmo Profile: Karen Guglielmo

We’ve all heard about Obama’s promise for government transparency, but what about IT transparency?

First, what is transparency? Transparency is basically defined as openness and accountability in all areas of business. Obama’s promise for an “unprecedented” level of government transparency has caused many business organizations to look more closely at their systems and operations to determine how “transparent” they are and ultimately better protect themselves against potential legal ramifications.

Many IT organizations are also taking a closer look at transparency and accountability. By being transparent, IT can streamline processes, be more productive and improve customer service and support.

In a recent conversation with David Flesh, director of product marketing for ITSM at HP, we discussed how IT can drive efficiency and greater transparency to the business. One way of doing this is to leverage the power of the change advisory board. Change advisory boards are made up of IT and business stakeholders who meet regularly to review changes to systems and processes that will affect the business. With representation from all areas of the company, change advisory boards have the power to review and assess all changes taking place and ultimately confirm transparency among them.

Asset management is another area where IT can be more transparent to the business. As companies spend more money on IT, they want to know where all the money is going. Using asset management and IT financial management solutions, IT can again ensure spending transparency to the business.

Project portfolio management (PPM) is another way IT is addressing transparency. For example, one business unit might not have known that security was looking at a project that would involve reviewing confidential employee information. This could lead to legal issues. PPM helps address these issues and provide more transparency by creating a system where all units are aware of projects in the queues and how they affect other business and IT systems.

As Obama has said numerous times, “transparency promotes accountability.” Through formal processes and governance, IT can take a leadership role in delivering transparency to the business.

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