Information technology governance frameworks in higher education in South Africa : a paradigm shift
Good corporate governance has, in recent years, been placed on centre stage worldwide and several frameworks have been put in place to enable organisations as well as higher education institutions to adhere to effective IT governance with regards to IT service delivery and support. At the same time, demand from users for access to corporate resources with their own personal devices other than desktop or laptop computers and options such as cloud computing, social media and mobility have converged into a renewed driving force influencing all IT decisions regarding service delivery and support, whilst higher education institutions attempt to comply with governance regulations. The aim of this study was to investigate whether ITIL as an IT governance framework is still applicable and relevant to a changed service delivery context in IT service delivery departments in the higher education sector in South Africa. Higher education in South Africa has not been excluded from adhering to good governance and the draft Regulations for Reporting by Higher Education Institutions have been updated with the recommendations of King III which, for the first time, addressed IT governance and insisted on management to implement an IT governance framework. ITIL is one of the most widely used governance frameworks, however its position as a technology on the Gartner Hype Cycles for Education for 2011 and 2012 displayed a move backwards from being widely understood to a display of waning interest amongst institutions in the education sector worldwide. Exploratory research found that ITIL is still valued as a governance framework in higher education in South Africa however staff members in IT support departments displayed a resistance to change and also found it difficult to implement ITIL processes. This is, however, not primarily due to a changing IT service delivery context. Findings also indicated that ITIL should be considered as a set of guidelines and best practices and not a governance framework as such. Recommendations towards a paradigm shift regarding ITIL as a governance framework per se as well as a proposal towards a possible alternative conceptual IT governance framework incorporating only ITIL guidelines and best practices as well as COBIT for risk management were put forward.