Sign In

Communications of the ACM

Contributed articles

Who Owns IT?

Who Owns IT?, illustration


In the 20th century, technology governance was largely about standards and centralized management. Moving into the 21st century, things began to change, first from centralized to federated technology governance models, then to "participatory" models. Commoditization, consumerization, and alternative technology-delivery models changed the way governance is defined and managed in many, though not all, companies. For many of them, the number of technology stakeholders has increased as the importance of technology has expanded to include at least three categories of governance: operational, strategic, and emerging technology. For many companies, the governance mission is evolving toward a shared, participatory model that recognizes the roles of all internal and external stakeholders, especially as companies acquire, deploy, and support technology through the "cloud" and supply chains globalize and integrate.

Our survey and interview data suggests governance now involves more stakeholders than ever before, many living way beyond the corporate firewall. The data reported here suggests participatory governance is emerging as a major technology governance model for the 21st century, and, for companies that increasingly satisfy business requirements through adoption of cloud computing, the participatory governance model is accelerating. Conversely, the companies that avoid cloud deployment and other alternative deployment models will likely stay within more-traditional centralized/federated governance structures. Our survey and interview data describes how technology governance is changing. As new technologies and technology-delivery models emerge, technology governance is evolving in ways quite different from the dominant models of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Based on the data, this article describes a new participatory governance matrix that recognizes the role internal and external stakeholders play in the technology-governance process.


Paul Schantz

What a great post! Exceptionally relevant to higher education IT.

Displaying 1 comment

Log in to Read the Full Article

Sign In

Sign in using your ACM Web Account username and password to access premium content if you are an ACM member, Communications subscriber or Digital Library subscriber.

Need Access?

Please select one of the options below for access to premium content and features.

Create a Web Account

If you are already an ACM member, Communications subscriber, or Digital Library subscriber, please set up a web account to access premium content on this site.

Join the ACM

Become a member to take full advantage of ACM's outstanding computing information resources, networking opportunities, and other benefits.

Subscribe to Communications of the ACM Magazine

Get full access to 50+ years of CACM content and receive the print version of the magazine monthly.

Purchase the Article

Non-members can purchase this article or a copy of the magazine in which it appears.
Sign In for Full Access
» Forgot Password? » Create an ACM Web Account