Information Technology (IT) has been referred to as the backbone of commerce. IT refers to the use of systems to support business operations such as computers, enterprise software, computer networks, and the internet.
Businesses use IT to store, process, and transport information. They rely strongly on IT to perform their operations such that any IT-related failure, such as a disruption in order processing, could be very costly for them.
Apart from incurring financial losses due to the disruption in operation, such failure could also hurt the company’s reputation. This has led to huge spending and investments by companies in IT to guarantee the continuity of IT services.
In a bid to diversify Nigeria’s economy, there have been renewed calls for digitization. Among other benefits, this would lead to the creation of jobs for Nigeria’s large youth population as they use IT to create solutions to local problems.
A reminder that about two weeks ago, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was in Silicon Valley to raise awareness of Nigeria’s digital economy with the hope of attracting foreign investment into the country.
Just before that, he inaugurated a Technology and Creativity Advisory Group, which was established by President Muhammadu Buhari, consisting of 50 key players from the nation’s technology and creative sectors. These individuals were given a mandate of “providing an inclusive and all-embracing roadmap to promote the technology and creative sectors of the economy in order to create jobs while also improving the wellbeing of Nigerians.’’
Following this mandate, a crucial task for the newly formed Advisory Group to carry out will be to ensure the adoption of an IT governance framework in Nigeria. IT Governance ensures that investments in IT are aligned with business strategic objectives, that they deliver value, also that critical resources and risks are properly managed, and that business process performance is measured.
Some major IT Governance frameworks include:
- COBIT 5 – COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies) is a control framework that provides best practices, tools and guidelines for effective IT governance and management. It is developed by ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association)
- ITIL – ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) is a best practice framework for the effective delivery of IT services that add value
- KING 3 – King 3 is the third report on corporate governance in South Africa. The framework was produced by the King Committee to keep South African corporate governance at the forefront internationally, with IT governance taking a prominent role
Nigeria currently does not adopt any IT Governance framework. In 2014, plans were set in motion by the National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigeria’s IT Development and Regulatory body, to adopt COBIT 5 as the framework for IT governance in the country.
A Nigerian delegation led by the Chairman, NITDA’s Governing Board at the time, Dr Tosin Ajayi, visited Silicon Valley to explore the possibility of adopting COBIT 5 which he said would “enable the country maintain acceptable world level standard and procedures for the overall benefit of the country”. However, that visit never yielded its intended purpose of adopting an IT governance framework for Nigeria.
Looking at the credentials of the members of the Technology and Creativity Advisory Group, one can express confidence in their ability to implement a Nigerian code of governance that would provide principles and recommended practices for effective IT governance in Nigeria, in line with global practices. This, if accomplished, would be a big boost to Nigeria’s efforts to provide an enabling environment where businesses can thrive.