Step Review The It Steering Committee Charter

The IS auditor is to obtain a copy of the ITSC charter. In reviewing the charter the IS auditor is to determine that:

■ The role of the ITSC has been defined and its responsibilities clearly specified (this should be supported by position descriptions for its members). Where there are position descriptions, the IS auditor is to review the descriptions to determine if they are appropriate.

■ The charter of the ITSC is aligned with the corporate strategic objectives of the organization including the IT objectives.

■ The ITSC has provided for the continuous review of the ITSP to ensure compliance with the corporate plan and overall corporate requirements and that the plan is kept current by revision.

■ The ITSC has the authority to review (and approve/reject) all proposals for IS development over a specified amount (e.g., over $10,000) from user/managers. The ITSC is to prescribe the required format of the IT proposals, e.g., business case format, including a cost/benefit analysis with a rate of return — internal rate of return (IRR) or net present value (NPV). However, in some circumstances proposals may not be justified on a rate of return basis, but on a community or customer benefit.

■ The ITSC has the authority to manage the IS project portfolio, setting priorities for the development of the business information systems development, allocating the necessary resources, and monitoring the progress of each project against objectives and budgets.

■ The ITSC requires postimplementation reviews to be undertaken that are independent of the IS department and requires that the findings and recommendations of the review are presented to the committee with a response from the IS department.

■ The ITSC oversees and directs the activities of any subcommittee including project steering committees.

In essence, the role of the ITSC is that of a corporate watchdog. The watchdog role will ensure that the IS department does not lose focus in providing the organization with cost-effective IT products and/or services and meets its commitment to assist the organization in achieving its strategic objectives.

Too often the IS department becomes involved in "technical issues" rather than in implementing a "business" solution(s) to meet the requirements of the organization.

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