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Establish an Effective IT Steering Committee

Have the right people making the right decisions to drive IT success.

  • Unfortunately, when CIOs implement IT steering committees, they often lack the appropriate structure and processes to be effective.
  • Due to the high profile of the IT steering committee membership, CIOs need to get this right – or their reputation is at risk.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • 88% of IT steering committees fail. The organizations that succeed have clearly defined responsibilities that are based on business needs.
  • Without a documented process your committee can’t execute on its responsibilities. Clearly define the flow of information to make your committee actionable.
  • Limit your headaches by holding your IT steering committee accountable for defining project prioritization criteria.

Impact and Result

Leverage Info-Tech’s process and deliverables to see dramatic improvements in your business satisfaction through an effective IT steering committee. This blueprint will provide three core customizable deliverables that you can use to launch or optimize your IT steering committee:

  • IT Steering Committee Charter: Use this template in combination with this blueprint to form a highly tailored committee.
  • IT Steering Committee Stakeholder Presentation: Build understanding around the goals and purpose of the IT steering committee, and generate support from your leadership team.
  • IT Steering Committee Project Prioritization Tool: Engage your IT steering committee participants in defining project prioritization criteria. Track project prioritization and assess your portfolio.

Establish an Effective IT Steering Committee Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should establish an IT steering committee, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Build the steering committee charter

Build your IT steering committee charter using results from the stakeholder survey.

2. Define IT steering commitee processes

Define your high level steering committee processes using SIPOC, and select your steering committee metrics.

3. Build the stakeholder presentation

Customize Info-Tech’s stakeholder presentation template to gain buy-in from your key IT steering committee stakeholders.

4. Define the prioritization criteria

Build the new project intake and prioritization process for your new IT steering committee.


Member Testimonials

After each Info-Tech experience, we ask our members to quantify the real-time savings, monetary impact, and project improvements our research helped them achieve. See our top member experiences for this blueprint and what our clients have to say.

9.0/10


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$25,349


Average $ Saved

10


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Client

Experience

Impact

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Farm Credit Bank of Texas

Guided Implementation

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Inmar, Inc.

Guided Implementation

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Worldnet International

Guided Implementation

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Establish an Effective IT Steering Committee

Have the right people making the right decisions to drive IT success.

Our understanding of the problem

This Research Is Designed For:

  • CIOs
  • IT Leaders

This Research Will Also Assist:

  • Business Partners

This Research Will Help You:

  • Structure an IT steering committee with the appropriate membership and responsibilities
  • Define appropriate cadence around business involvement in IT decision making
  • Define your IT steering committee processes, metrics, and timelines
  • Obtain buy-in for IT steering committee participations
  • Define the project prioritization criteria

This Research Will Help Them:

  • Understand the importance of IT governance and their role
  • Identify and build the investment prioritization criteria

Executive Summary

Situation

  • An effective IT steering committee (ITSC) is one of the top predictors of value generated by IT, yet only 11% of CIOs believe their committees are effective.
  • An effective steering committee ensures that the right people are involved in critical decision making to drive organizational value.

Complication

  • Unfortunately, when CIOs do implement IT steering committees, they often lack the appropriate structure and processes to be effective.
  • Due to the high profile of the IT steering committee membership, CIOs need to get this right – or their reputation is at risk.

Resolution

Leverage Info-Tech’s process and deliverables to see dramatic improvements in your business satisfaction through an effective IT steering committee. This blueprint will provide three core customizable deliverables that you can use to launch or optimize your IT steering committee. These include:

  1. IT Steering Committee Charter: Customizable charter complete with example purpose, goals, responsibilities, procedures, RACI, and processes. Use this template in combination with this blueprint to get a highly tailored committee.
  2. IT Stakeholder Presentation: Use our customizable presentation guide to build understanding around the goals and purpose of the IT steering committee and generate support from your leadership team.
  3. IT Steering Committee Project Prioritization Tool: Engage your IT steering committee participants in defining the project prioritization criteria. Use our template to track project prioritization and assess your portfolio.

Info-Tech Insight

  1. 88% of IT steering committees fail. The organizations that succeed have clearly defined responsibilities that are based on business needs.
  2. Without a documented process your committee can’t execute on its responsibilities. Clearly define the flow of information to make your committee actionable.
  3. Limit your headaches by holding your IT steering committee accountable for defining project prioritization criteria.

IT Steering Committee

Effective IT governance critical in driving business satisfaction with IT. Yet 88% of CIOs believe that their governance structure and processes are not effective. The IT steering committee (ITSC) is the heart of the governance body and brings together critical organizational stakeholders to enable effective decision making (Info-Tech Research Group Webinar Survey).

IT STEERING COMMITTEES HAVE 3 PRIMARY OBJECTIVES – TO IMPROVE:

  1. Alignment: IT steering committees drive IT and business strategy alignment by having business partners jointly accountable for the prioritization and selection of projects and investments within the context of IT capacity.
  2. Accountability: The ITSC facilitates the involvement and commitment of executive management through clearly defined roles and accountabilities for IT decisions in five critical areas: investments, projects, risk, services, and data.
  3. Value Generation: The ITSC is responsible for the ongoing evaluation of IT value and performance of IT services. The committee should define these standards and approve remediation plans when there is non-achievement.

"Everyone needs good IT, but no one wants to talk about it. Most CFOs would rather spend time with their in-laws than in an IT steering-committee meeting. But companies with good governance consistently outperform companies with bad. Which group do you want to be in?"

– Martha Heller, President, Heller Search Associates

An effective IT steering committee improves IT and business alignment and increases support for IT across the organization

CEOs’ PERCEPTION OF IT AND BUSINESS ALIGNMENT

67% of CIOs/CEOs are misaligned on the target role for IT.

47% of CEOs believe that business goals are going unsupported by IT.

64% of CEOs believe that improvement is required around IT’s understanding of business goals.

28% of business leaders are supporters of their IT departments.

A well devised IT steering committee ensures that core business partners are involved in critical decision making and that decisions are based on business goals – not who shouts the loudest. Leading to faster decision-making time, and better-quality decisions and outcomes.

Source: Info-Tech CIO/CEO Alignment data

Despite the benefits, 9 out of 10 steering committees are unsuccessful

WHY DO IT STEERING COMMITTEES FAIL?

  1. A lack of appetite for an IT steering committee from business partners
  2. An effective ITSC requires participation from core members of the organization’s leadership team. The challenge is that most business partners don’t understand the benefits of an ITSC and the responsibilities aren’t tailored to participants’ needs or interests. It’s the CIOs responsibility to make this case to stakeholders and right-size the committee responsibilities and membership.
  3. IT steering committees are given inappropriate responsibilities
  4. The IT steering committee is fundamentally about decision making; it’s not a working committee. CIOs struggle with clarifying these responsibilities on two fronts: either the responsibilities are too vague and there is no clear way to execute on them within a meeting, or responsibilities are too tactical and require knowledge that participants do not have. Responsibilities should determine who is on the ITSC, not the other way around.
  5. Lack of process around execution
  6. An ITSC is only valuable if members are able to successfully execute on the responsibilities. Without well defined processes it becomes nearly impossible for the ITSC to be actionable. As a result, participants lack the information they need to make critical decisions, agendas are unmet, and meetings are seen as a waste of time.

GOVERNANCE and ITSC and IT Management

Organizations often blur the line between governance and management, resulting in the business having say over the wrong things. Understand the differences and make sure both groups understand their role.

The ITSC is the most senior body within the IT governance structure, involving key business executives and focusing on critical strategic decisions impacting the whole organization.

Within a holistic governance structure, organizations may have additional committees that evaluate, direct, and monitor key decisions at a more tactical level and report into the ITSC.

These committees require specialized knowledge and are implemented to meet specific organizational needs. Those operational committees may spark a tactical task force to act on specific needs.

IT management is responsible for executing on, running, and monitoring strategic activities as determined by IT governance.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN STRATEGIC, TACTICAL, AND OPERATIONAL GROUPS

Strategic IT Steering Committee
Tactical

Project Governance Service Governance

Risk Governance Information Governance

IT Management
Operational Risk Task Force

This blueprint focuses exclusively on building the IT steering committee. For more information on IT governance see Info-Tech’s blueprint Tailor an IT Governance Plan to Fit Organizational Needs.

  1. Governance of the IT Portfolio & Investments: ensures that funding and resources are systematically allocated to the priority projects that deliver value
  2. Governance of Projects: ensures that IT projects deliver the expected value, and that the PM methodology is measured and effective.
  3. Governance of Risks: ensures the organization’s ability to assess and deliver IT projects and services with acceptable risk.
  4. Governance of Services: ensures that IT delivers the required services at the acceptable performance levels.
  5. Governance of Information and Data: ensures the appropriate classification and retention of data based on business need.

If these symptoms resonate with you, it might be time to invest in building an IT steering committee

SIGNS YOU MAY NEED TO BUILD AN IT STEERING COMMITTEE

As CIO I find that there is a lack of alignment between business and IT strategies.
I’ve noticed that projects are thrown over the fence by stakeholders and IT is expected to comply.
I’ve noticed that IT projects are not meeting target project metrics.
I’ve struggled with a lack of accountability for decision making, especially by the business.
I’ve noticed that the business does not understand the full cost of initiatives and projects.
I don’t have the authority to say “no” when business requests come our way.
We lack a standardized approach for prioritizing projects.
IT has a bad reputation within the organization, and I need a way to improve relationships.
Business partners are unaware of how decisions are made around IT risks.
Business partners don’t understand the full scope of IT responsibilities.
There are no SLAs in place and no way to measure stakeholder satisfaction with IT.

Info-Tech’s approach to implementing an IT steering committee

Info-Tech’s IT steering committee development blueprint will provide you with the required tools, templates, and deliverables to implement a right-sized committee that’s effective the first time.

  • Measure your business partner level of awareness and interest in the five IT governance areas, and target specific responsibilities for your steering committee based on need.
  • Customize Info-Tech’s IT Steering Committee Charter Template to define and document the steering committee purpose, responsibilities, participation, and cadence.
  • Build critical steering committee processes to enable information to flow into and out of the committee to ensure that the committee is able to execute on responsibilities.
  • Customize Info-Tech’s IT Steering Committee Stakeholder Presentation template to make your first meeting a breeze, providing stakeholders with the information they need, with less than two hours of preparation time.
  • Leverage our workshop guide and prioritization tools to facilitate a meeting with IT steering committee members to define the prioritization criteria for projects and investments and roll out a streamlined process.

Info-Tech’s Four-Phase Process

Key Deliverables:
1 2 3 4
Build the Steering Committee Charter Define ITSC Processes Build the Stakeholder Presentation Define the Prioritization Criteria
  • IT Steering Committee Stakeholder Survey
  • IT Steering Committee Charter
    • Purpose
    • Responsibilities
    • RACI
    • Procedures
  • IT Steering Committee SIPOC (Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, Customers)
  • Defined process frequency
  • Defined governance metrics
  • IT Steering Committee Stakeholder Presentation template
    • Introduction
    • Survey outcomes
    • Responsibilities
    • Next steps
    • ITSC goals
  • IT project prioritization facilitation guide
  • IT Steering Committee Project Prioritization Tool
  • Project Intake Form

Leverage both COBIT and Info-Tech-defined metrics to evaluate the success of your program or project

COBIT METRICS Alignment
  • Percent of enterprise strategic goals and requirements supported by strategic goals.
  • Level of stakeholder satisfaction with scope of the planned portfolio of programs and services.
Accountability
  • Percent of executive management roles with clearly defined accountabilities for IT decisions.
  • Rate of execution of executive IT-related decisions.
Value Generation
  • Level of stakeholder satisfaction and perceived value.
  • Number of business disruptions due to IT service incidents.
INFO-TECH METRICS Survey Metrics:
  • Percent of business leaders who believe they understand how decisions are made in the five governance areas.
  • Percentage of business leaders who believe decision making involved the right people.
Value of Customizable Deliverables:
  • Estimated time to build IT steering committee charter independently X cost of employee
  • Estimated time to build and generate customer stakeholder survey and generate reports X cost of employee
  • # of project interruptions due to new or unplanned projects

CASE STUDY

Industry: Consumer Goods

Source: Interview

Situation

A newly hired CIO at a large consumer goods company inherited an IT department with low maturity from her predecessor. Satisfaction with IT was very low across all business units, and IT faced a lot of capacity constraints. The business saw IT as a bottleneck or red tape in terms of getting their projects approved and completed.

The previous CIO had established a steering committee for a short time, but it had a poorly established charter that did not involve all of the business units. Also the role and responsibilities of the steering committee were not clearly defined. This led the committee to be bogged down in politics.

Due to the previous issues, the business was wary of being involved in a new steering committee. In order to establish a new steering committee, the new CIO needed to navigate the bad reputation of the previous CIO.

Solution

The CIO established a new steering committee engaging senior members of each business unit. The roles of the committee members were clearly established in the new steering committee charter and business stakeholders were informed of the changes through presentations.

The importance of the committee was demonstrated through the new intake and prioritization process for projects. Business stakeholders were impressed with the new process and its transparency and IT was no longer seen as a bottleneck.

Results

  • Satisfaction with IT increased by 12% after establishing the committee and IT was no longer seen as red tape for completing projects
  • IT received approval to hire two more staff members to increase capacity
  • IT was able to augment service levels, allowing them to reinvest in innovative projects
  • Project prioritization process was streamlined

Info-Tech offers various levels of support to best suit your needs

DIY Toolkit

“Our team has already made this critical project a priority, and we have the time and capability, but some guidance along the way would be helpful.”

Guided Implementation

“Our team knows that we need to fix a process, but we need assistance to determine where to focus. Some check-ins along the way would help keep us on track.”

Workshop

“We need to hit the ground running and get this project kicked off immediately. Our team has the ability to take this over once we get a framework and strategy in place.”

Consulting

“Our team does not have the time or the knowledge to take this project on. We need assistance through the entirety of this project.”

Diagnostics and consistent frameworks used throughout all four options

Establish an Effective IT Steering Committee

Build the Steering Committee Charter Define ITSC Processes Build the Stakeholder Presentation Define the Prioritization Criteria
Best-Practice Toolkit

1.1 Survey Your Steering Committee Stakeholders

1.2 Build Your ITSC Charter

2.1 Build a SIPOC

2.2 Define Your ITSC Process

3.1 Customize the Stakeholder Presentation

4.1 Establish your Prioritization Criteria

4.2 Customize the Project Prioritization Tool

4.3 Pilot Test Your New Prioritization Criteria

Guided Implementations
  • Launch your stakeholder survey
  • Analyze the results of the survey
  • Build your new ITSC charter
  • Review your completed charter
  • Build and review your SIPOC
  • Review your high-level steering committee processes
  • Customize the presentation
  • Build a script for the presentation
  • Practice the presentation
  • Review and select prioritization criteria
  • Review the Project Prioritization Tool
  • Review the results of the tool pilot test
Onsite Workshop

Module 1:

Build a New ITSC Charter

Module 2:

Design Steering Committee Processes

Module 3:

Present the New Steering Committee to Stakeholders

Module 4:

Establish Project Prioritization Criteria

Phase 1 Results:
  • Customized ITSC charter

Phase 2 Results:

  • Completed SIPOC and steering committee processes
Phase 3 Results:
  • Customized presentation deck and script
Phase 4 Results:
  • Customized project prioritization tool

Workshop overview

Contact your account representative or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

Workshop Day 1 Workshop Day 2 Workshop Day 3 Workshop Day 4 Workshop Day 5
Activities

Build the IT Steering Committee

1.1 Launch stakeholder survey for business leaders

1.2 Analyze results with an Info-Tech Advisor

1.3 Identify opportunities and threats to successful IT steering committee implementation.

1.4 Develop the fit-for-purpose approach

Define the ITSC Goals

2.1 Review the role of the IT steering committee

2.2 Identify IT steering committee goals and objectives

2.3 Conduct a SWOT analysis on the five governance areas

2.4 Define the key responsibilities of the ITSC 2.5 Define ITSC participation

Define the ITSC Charter

3.1 Build IT steering committee participant RACI

3.2 Define your responsibility cadence and agendas

3.3 Develop IT steering committee procedures

3.4 Define your IT steering committee purpose statement and goals

Define the ITSC Process

4.1 Define your high-level IT steering committee processes

4.2 Conduct scenario testing on key processes, establish ITSC metrics

4.3 Build your ITSC stakeholder presentation

4.4 Manage potential objections

Define Project Prioritization Criteria

5.1 Create prioritization criteria

5.2 Customize the Project Prioritization Tool

5.3 Pilot test the tool

5.4 Define action plan and next steps

Deliverables
  1. Report on business leader governance priorities and awareness
  2. Refined workshop agenda
  1. IT steering committee priorities identified
  2. IT steering committee key responsibilities and participants identified
  1. IT steering committee charter: procedures, agenda, and RACI
  2. Defined purpose statement and goals
  1. IT steering committee SIPOC maps
  2. Refined stakeholder presentation
  1. Project Prioritization Tool
  2. Action plan

Phase 1

Build the IT Steering Committee Charter

Phase 1 outline

Call 1-888-670-8889 or email GuidedImplementations@InfoTech.com for more information.

Complete these steps on your own, or call us to complete a guided implementation. A guided implementation is a series of 2-3 advisory calls that help you execute each phase of a project. They are included in most advisory memberships.

Guided Implementation 1: Formalize the Security Policy Program

Proposed Time to Completion: 1-2 weeks

Select Your ITSC Members

Start with an analyst kick-off call:

  • Launch your stakeholder survey

Then complete these activities…

  • Tailor the survey questions
  • Identify participants and tailor email templates

With these tools & templates:

  • ITSC Stakeholder Survey
  • ITSC Charter Template

Review Stakeholder Survey Results

Review findings with analyst:

  • Review the results of the Stakeholder Survey

Then complete these activities…

  • Customize the ITSC Charter Template

With these tools & templates:

  • ITSC Charter Template

Finalize the ITSC Charter

Finalize phase deliverable:

  • Review the finalized ITSC charter with an Info-Tech analyst

Then complete these activities…

  • Finalize any changes to the ITSC Charter
  • Present it to ITSC Members

With these tools & templates:

  • ITSC Charter Template

Build the IT Steering Committee Charter

This step will walk you through the following activities:

  • Launch and analyze the stakeholder survey
  • Define your ITSC goals and purpose statement
  • Determine ITSC responsibilities and participants
  • Determine ITSC procedures

This step involves the following participants:

  • CIO
  • IT Steering Committee
  • IT Leadership Team
  • PMO

Key Insight:

Be exclusive with your IT steering committee membership. Determine committee participation based on committee responsibilities. Select only those who are key decision makers for the activities the committee is responsible for and, wherever possible, keep membership to 5-8 people.

Tailor Info-Tech’s IT Steering Committee Charter Template to define terms of reference for the ITSC

1.1

A charter is the organizational mandate that outlines the purpose, scope, and authority of the ITSC. Without a charter, the steering committee’s value, scope, and success criteria are unclear to participants, resulting in unrealistic stakeholder expectations and poor organizational acceptance.

Start by reviewing Info-Tech’s template. Throughout this section we will help you to tailor its contents.

Committee Purpose: The rationale, benefits of, and overall function of the committee.

Responsibilities: What tasks/decisions the accountable committee is making.

Participation: Who is on the committee

RACI: Who is accountable, responsible, consulted, and informed regarding each responsibility.

Committee Procedures and Agendas: Includes how the committee will be organized and how the committee will interact and communicate with business units.

A screenshot of Info-Tech's <em data-verified=IT Steering Committee Charter Template.">

IT Steering Committee Charter

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

MEMBER RATING

9.0/10
Overall Impact

$25,349
Average $ Saved

10
Average Days Saved

After each Info-Tech experience, we ask our members to quantify the real-time savings, monetary impact, and project improvements our research helped them achieve.

Read what our members are saying

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 4-phase advisory process. You'll receive 12 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation 1: Build the steering committee charter
  • Call 1: Launch your stakeholder survey
  • Call 2: Analyze the results of the survey
  • Call 3: Build your new ITSC charter
  • Call 4: Review your completed charter

Guided Implementation 2: Define IT steering committee processes
  • Call 1: Build and review your SIPOC
  • Call 2: Review your high-level steering committee processes

Guided Implementation 3: Build the stakeholder presentation
  • Call 1: Customize the presentation
  • Call 2: Build a script for the presentation
  • Call 3: Practice the presentation

Guided Implementation 4: Define the prioritization criteria
  • Call 1: Review and select prioritization criteria
  • Call 2: Review the project prioritization tool
  • Call 3: Review the results of the tool pilot test

Authors

Carlene McCubbin

Alec Bradford

Contributors

  • Andy Lomasky, Manager, Technology & Management Consulting, McGladrey LLP
  • Angie Embree, CIO, Best Friends Animal Society
  • Corinne Bell, CTO and Director of IT Services, Landmark College
  • John Hanskenecht, Director of Technology, University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy
  • Lori Baker, CIO, Village of Northbrook
  • Lynne Allard, IT Supervisor, Nipissing Parry Sound Catholic School Board
  • Norman Allen, Senior IT Manager, Baker Tilly
  • Paul Martinello, VP, IT Services, Cambridge and North Dumfries Hydro Inc.
  • Renee Martinez, IT Director/CIO, City of Santa Fe
  • Sam Wong, Director, IT, Seneca College
  • Suzanne Barnes, Director, Information Systems, Pathfinder International
  • Walt Joyce, CTO, Peoples Bank
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