Sample Business Research Paper on IT Governance

IT Governance

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is committed to advancing strategic, political, and economic wellbeing of the UAE via efficient international relations and avail quality in consular assistance as well as ensure the protection for its citizens living in various other countries. The ministry is focused on realizing the interests of the United Arab Emirates and its citizens through a diverse foreign policy in a bid to encourage constancy, safety, and development of the region (Abed & Hellyer, 2001). The ministry’s functional and cross-functional processes involve upholding lucid policy arrangements that holds up the United Arab Emirates’ nexus with the country’s regional and international allies and ease the country’s growth in tactical business ventures and international trade. Additionally, the ministry takes a center stage in promoting the country’s position as an aggressive leader in human rights protection as well as in energy conservation, including its interest in addressing climate change issues and environmental conservation. As far as citizen protection and consular services are concerned, the ministry undertakes this function with excellence to meet global standards (Abed & Hellyer, 2001). Besides, in assembling of human capital, the ministry endeavors to attain comprehensible organizational and executive excellence in pursuit of becoming a ministerial sculpt. Different organizations use different IS department structures including the decentralized, centralized, and hybrid structure. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the UAE uses a centralized structure on the IS department, which essentially forms the basis of discussion in this paper. As such, the paper explicates this structure objectively stating if it is the best fit for the ministry.

The information system department structure used by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the UAE is a centralized one, which means that it has a number of separate departments under central control. Each division has clearly defined roles and responsibilities, processes, and governance. The information system department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the UAE is for all intents and purposes designed to manage information efficiently in a bid to meet its requirements in serving the its people (Abed & Hellyer, 2001). All the internal and external service systems by the ministry are all computerized to enhance efficiency in service delivery through intranet and web enabled citizen service delivery. The hardware drawn in is a set of personal computer units and servers whereby all are interconnected through the internet and the central server is located at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the UAE headquarters in the national capital. The software bases of the programs are formed from a number of Microsoft products with each staff member vast with skills and expertise to ensure quality service delivery.

External web sites and email addresses provide the medium through which the sharing of information between the ministry and the diplomats abroad in a bid to update them about their missions abroad. The external web site is designed to accommodate the needs of citizens, businesspersons, researchers and other users. Diplomats and ministry staffs and executives use the external web sites for videoconferences to ease communication and reduce travelling costs (Foreman, 2005). Work in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the UAE involves a lot of documentation and information sharing, which is rather expensive and time consuming. The IS department is expected to ease communication and information sharing by enabling electronic messaging and communication to reduce these costs. Additionally, the ministry relies on the information system department to enhance easy access of information intended for the outside stakeholders such online application for official documents including passports, which plays a greater role in ensuring digital literacy in the country (Dunleavy et al., 2006). The chief information officer is the senior most information executive in the information system department responsible for all management of information technology and systems within the ministry to ensure that services go on every day. He works with a team of other important executives, which include the chief security officer and the chief knowledge officer who work hand in hand to ensure quality service delivery from the IS department.

The organizational governance structure of any organization is different from the information system governance structure. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is governed by the Foreign Minister, who is the chief executive of the ministry followed by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and the undersecretaries for internal and regional affairs and staffs (Abed & Hellyer, 2001). Essentially, this is the general organizational governance structure for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of UAE. On the other hand, the IS governance structure is headed by the chief information officer followed by the chief security officer and the chief knowledge officer whose roles and responsibilities are clearly defined in the management of the information system department for efficient functioning. Nevertheless, there exists a relation between the organizational governance structure and the information system governance structure in the sense that both structures are geared towards the same function as related to serving the interest of the people of the United Arab Emirates (Tiwana & Konsynski, 2009). Besides, the organizational governance structure assumes a vertical form, which is identical with the vertical information system structure used in the ministry because of the fact that, the Minister of Foreign Affairs heads the ministry followed by other officers. The same applies to the information system structure used in the department of foreign affairs whereby the chief information officer assumes the leading position just like the minister of foreign affairs in a bid to run the department effectively with purpose and direction. The management form adhered to by both the organizational structure and the information system structure is upward, which means that reporting and flow of information within the ministry assumes the vertical trend (Moeller, 2013).

The centralized structure of information system relied upon by the ministry is certainly the best fit for this organization. The reasons behind this structure include the fact that, the structure ensures data integrity. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of UAE handles a lot of personal information as well as government information, which should be kept confidential for reliability of information (Ulrich, 2009). Because the Ministry handles multiple databases, it is easy to break the rule of no redundancy whereby the problem of information overlap with multiple primary records and contact information. This is bound to discourage data reliability due to lack of data integrity emanating from various angles. A centralized information system structure discourages easy access of certain classified information by ensuring that information is managed and stored at a centralized place and that only authorized persons can access the information. Having multiple information management centers may make top-secret information susceptible to unauthorized access thereby rendering the ministry inefficient in terms of performing its duties (Hugoson, 2009). Essentially, the centralized system best fits the organization in a bid to ensure data integrity and confidentiality of information.

In addition, the centralized structure of the information system department allows easy control of the system through centralized control and management, which is not only time saving but also saves on the cost of maintaining the system within the ministry (Chiu, 2009). Maintaining and controlling the functioning of the information system requires information system experts, who require huge compensation for the same. Due to cost efficiency strategies, which the ministry endeavors to uphold at all levels of its management, having a centralized structure of information system helps the ministry meet this goal. Therefore, this makes centralized control of the information system more effective and efficient in terms of costs and other resources, which are certainly scarce. Another reason for adopting a centralized structure of information system is the need for the ministry to maintain information consistency, which is evident in the different application forms available online in a bid to secure important documents such as visa and passport (Grembergen, 2004).

In addition, the centralized information system makes it easier for the preparation of reports, which ensures that despite the magnitude of activities and missions carried round by diplomats around the globe, they can easily be integrated and allow trouble-free preparation of reports. Unlike in a decentralized or hybrid structure of information system where users need to operate in numerous databases and match records, there is no chance for data duplication in a centralized information system, which again increases accountability of information (Ulrich, 2009). This is also beneficial from the perspective that users who need to learn new operations due to introduction of new software or hardware will find it easy to learn through a quick and effective training.

As far as decision-making process within the ministry is concerned, a centralized information system is more reliable and efficient in terms of time and resources (Vitvar, Peristeras, & Tarabanis, 2010). This is because of the fact that few people working at the headquarter of the ministry will be involved in making the decision and thus making it easy to react to any information system issue at hand without necessarily having to consult various stakeholders in the information system department in various places. It is also cheaper to run a centralized structure than a decentralized or hybrid structure because; the ministry requires a few information and technology specialists to run its business. Therefore, this makes the structure more reliable and efficient in terms of enabling the activities and business carried out in the Ministry.

In conclusion, this paper has explicated the centralized structure of information system used by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates. The paper highlights the functional and cross-functional processes carried out by the ministry as well as how the centralized structure of information system helps the ministry to undertake its roles and responsibilities. More importantly, the paper explains the reason behind the use of a centralized structure instead of a decentralized or hybrid structure in fulfilling the same functions. These include the need to ensure information integrity and professionalism, centralized control and accountability, quick decision-making process, and the desire to minimize operational costs. The paper also acknowledges relation between the organizational governance structure and the IS governance structure as having certain similarities as far as their functioning is concerned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Abed, I. A., & Hellyer, P. (2001). The United Arab Emirates: A New Perspective. Cape Town: Trident Press.

Chiu, P. (2009). Management Information System. Berlin: Springer.

Dunleavy, P., Margetts, H., Bastow, S., & Tinkler, J. (2006). Digital Era Governance: IT Corporations, the State, and e-Government. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Foreman, C. (2005, May 7). Net gains of using a web-based collaboration system. Retrieved October 12, 2014, from arabianbusiness.com: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/net-gains-of-using-web-based-collaboration-system-205349.html

Grembergen, W. V. (2004). Strategies for Information Technology Governance. Hershey: Idea Group Inc.

Hugoson, M. (2009). Centralized versus decentralized information systems: A historical . 106-115.

Moeller, R. R. (2013). Executive’s Guide to IT Governance: Improving Systems Processes with Service Management, COBIT, and ITIL. London: John Wiley & Sons.

Tiwana, A., & Konsynski, B. (2009). Complementarities Between Organizational IT Architecture and Governance Structure. Pubsonline , 288 – 304.

Ulrich, W. M. (2009). IT centralization versus decentralization: The trend towards collaborative governance. Retrieved October 12, 2014, from System transformation: http://www.systemtransformation.com/Org_Transformation_Articles/

Vitvar, T., Peristeras, V., & Tarabanis, K. (2010). Semantic Technologies for E-Government. New York: Springer Science & Business Media.