Information Technology (IT) has evolved far beyond being a mere tool for businesses to make use of; these days, it forms the very foundations of most, if not all, successful corporations, regardless of their industry, age or size. Failing to fully optimize IT capabilities can leave a business static in an ever-changing and dynamic landscape, making it highly vulnerable to competitors.
Indeed, the ‘governance’ of IT will usually branch out into virtually every aspect of an organization, including the provision of customer services, the processes which generate end products and even change management. This, of course, begs the question: in a growing business with a web of activities, how does one not only keep track of IT operations, but also make sure that they are optimized and refined?
COBIT is a leading framework for the governance and management of enterprise IT. Created by the non-profit ISACA, COBIT was built by experts to suit the requirements of both business executives and IT professionals. It combines enterprise governance and management techniques, providing principles, practices, models and analytical tools to help users consistently increase the value of, and trust in, their IT systems.
Part of COBIT’s success comes from the fact that it has been consistently updated to meet the ever-changing needs of IT governance. For example, the latest version, COBIT 5, is better able to integrate with other popular frameworks, standards and resources, including VAL IT, Risk IT and ITIL.
So, what exactly does COBIT 5 do in a nutshell? It enables organizations to balance resource usage, risk optimization and realizing benefits, helping them to improve business outcomes and ensure that their IT systems are supporting them as much as possible.
This kind of flexibility can also help organizations to:
Adapt to user demands
Conform to industry regulations and compliance initiatives
Manage risks and security
Maximize the value of intellectual property
Make sure IT is capable of supporting major changes
As you can probably tell by now, enterprise IT is an enormous subject. Very few tools cover it in such depth as COBIT 5, making it an excellent investment for any organization serious about optimizing its use of IT.
How Does COBIT 5 Work?
To start off, it is worth getting a key piece of information out of the way: COBIT 5 is not a cheat sheet, but a generic tool. That is not to say that it is not unique or comprehensive; rather, the tools and practices offered by COBIT 5 are flexible enough to be used by enterprises regardless of their size or immediate goals. At the same time, there is a lot to learn, and not all of COBIT 5’s methodology will be relevant for everyone.
The COBIT 5 framework itself consists of a process reference model, a series of governance and management practices, a common language and a set of enabler tools to support organizational governance. Combined, each of these features guides those making decisions on how to best utilize information to meet corporate objectives.
Process model - This helps organizations to understand the nature of activities which relate to IT, as well as how to organize them in such a way that means they can be reliably performed. The model also defines strategies and processes for the benefit of corporate stakeholders, making it clear what they should do, how they are organized and who should be involved.
Practices - COBIT provides guidance on how each process should be performed, without having to go into too much technical detail. Rather, it simply outlines what needs to be done in order to make sure that each process works to an appropriate level.
Common language - Any decent framework will offer a specific set of terms which practitioners can use to communicate with one another. In the case of COBIT, its terminology helps business executives to discuss IT-related goals, objectives and results with complete clarity, even if they are not fully IT-literate.
Enabler tools - While all of the above sounds nice in theory, COBIT will not do you much good if you do not check to make sure that it is being applied correctly in practice! The framework’s ‘capability maturity techniques’ help users to check whether their processes are working at the required level for each given situation. They also enable practitioners to set clear objectives for IT, then monitor the progress towards them via simple metrics.
The style used by COBIT 5 for governing and managing IT is based on five ‘principles’:
Meeting stakeholder needs
Covering user enterprises from end to end
Applying a single integrated framework
Enabling a holistic approach
Separating governance from management
Combined, these principles enable organizations to build completely holistic frameworks. These frameworks, in turn, will be based on seven ‘enablers’.
People, policies and frameworks
Culture, ethics and behavior
Services, infrastructure and applications
People, skills and competencies
This may sound like a lot, but that only goes to show just how broad a subject you are dealing with!
Finally, COBIT 5 is able to integrate with a number of compatible best-practice frameworks and standards, including ITIL, ISO 20,000 and ISO 27,001. It can be highly useful to take an integrated approach when implementing an IT governance framework. For example, you may choose to pick segments from different frameworks in order to create a system which best meets the unique needs of your organization.
Remember, it should be a strong prerogative of organizations to ensure that IT assets support business goals. Without enough perspective, fluidity and control, an organization may not be fully optimized or compliant in its actions - and it may not even realize it!
How can a COBIT 5 Certification Help my Business?
Having a certified COBIT 5 practitioner on staff can help your business in a number of ways:
Maintain holistic and high-quality information to support major business decisions
Meet crucial targets via the innovative and effective use of IT
Reach operational excellence through the reliable and efficient application of technology
Maintain IT-related risks at an acceptable level
Optimize the cost of IT services and technology
Support compliance with relative laws, regulations, contractual agreements and established company policies
Overall, COBIT 5 boosts the trust in, along with the value of, information technology. This makes it a highly relevant framework for IT, business, security, risk, assurance and consulting professionals.
What is COBIT 2019?
COBIT 2019 is the latest iteration of the COBIT framework. It introduces a number of new IT governance elements, including several implementation resources, additional practical insight and guidance, and numerous comprehensive training opportunities (with no major increase to the COBIT 2019 certification costs).
The new framework also has a greater focus on individual usability. This includes increased flexibility and tailoring, with concepts such as design factors and focus areas enabling practitioners to create governance solutions and training opportunities which are better-tailored to their own organizations. It has also been updated to be more in line with additional guidelines, regulations, standards, and best practices. In other words, even if a business is using methodologies other than COBIT, COBIT 2019 will be fully compatible with them.
Crucially, COBIT 2019 will also utilize an ‘open-source’ model. This will allow the global practitioner community to provide feedback and insight which will be used to enhance the framework, not only enabling more efficient updates but also ensuring that COBIT 2019 is fully optimized for practical usage.
Why Gain a COBIT 5 Certification with Good e-Learning?
As useful as COBIT is, it’s still important to study and implement it in the correct way. There is a wealth of inaccurate and unaccredited material online, and while this may be cheap, it often fails to fully prepare students to sit official COBIT examinations or apply the framework in real-life situations.
Good e-Learning is a highly experienced provider of online training courses. Our COBIT 5 and COBIT 2019 courses are fully accredited by APMG, a partner of ISACA which delivers official certification for COBIT. In other words, you can be sure that our content will do the job!
Good e-Learning also specializes in corporate training for businesses looking to upskill multiple employees at once. We have already partnered with hundreds of global blue chips to design courses which take their uniqueness into account, including their location, size, business goals, corporate culture and, of course, budget.