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6 Essential CIO Tools and Frameworks for IT Governance

Cio tools

For a CIO, tools and frameworks are essential for effectively governing an organization’s IT department, as well as cross-departmental business initiatives.

The right frameworks can assist with important CIO functions, such as:

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  • Organizational change
  • IT governance
  • Enterprise architecture
  • IT service management

Below, we’ll explore a few of the most useful frameworks that cover areas such as these.

Why CIOs Need to Add More Frameworks to Their Toolbox

The CIO is a senior business leader who has always been responsible for IT operations and IT service delivery. 

Yet their role is transitioning from that of an operational executive to a strategic executive. Many CIOs, in fact, self-identify as transformational CIOs who are adopting an ever-increasing number of duties.

Many modern CIOs, for instance, are becoming responsible for:

  • Developing organizational strategy
  • IT functions beyond ITSM
  • Leading digital transformation initiatives
  • Managing organizational change initiatives

As their responsibilities increase and they govern more and more of the organization, it is crucial to leverage the right tools and frameworks. Having those frameworks can ensure that they meet and exceed the expectations that are placed upon them.

Fortunately, there is an enormous number of tools and frameworks that can guide CIOs, as well as other IT leaders and executives. We’ll explore just a few types of those in the next section, then look at several examples.

Types of Business Frameworks

The right frameworks can offer much-needed structure for designing and optimizing virtually any area of a business. 

Here are several examples of frameworks that can benefit the modern CIO:

  • IT service management (ITSM) frameworks offer guidelines and best practices for IT service delivery and IT operations
  • IT governance frameworks are models that take a high-level approach to both business and IT 
  • IT auditing frameworks provide guidelines for IT auditing processes
  • Change management frameworks model the process of organizational change
  • Enterprise architecture models are designed to help business leaders build and improve enterprise architecture
  • Risk management frameworks are built specifically to assess and evaluate risk

These are just a few of many tools that can be used in a business context to improve business performance, optimize processes, and generate better business outcomes.

Next, we’ll look at several examples of frameworks that CIOs can leverage in their day-to-day workflows.

6 Essential CIO Tools and Frameworks for IT Operations and Governance

Here are several frameworks that focus on IT governance, IT service management, and change management:


Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT) is a framework that focuses on aligning IT with business goals.

This framework, developed and maintained by ISACA, is compatible with other common frameworks, such as CMMI and ITIL.

COBIT can be easily customized, but it does focus on several key areas:

  • Security
  • Risk management
  • Information governance

While COBIT is an excellent high-level tool that can be used to develop and customize policies, procedures, and processes, it is not built for low-level management. For that, it is useful to turn to other tools, such as ITIL.


The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), developed by Axelos, is easily the most well-known and widely used IT service management (ITSM) frameworks.

ITIL covers important ITSM areas such as:

  • Service strategy, design, transition, operation, and improvement
  • Problem management
  • Incident management
  • IT change management

The ITIL framework is so widely used that it is built by default into many ITSM software platforms.


The Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) is a process improvement model, developed by a subsidiary of ISACA, the CCMI Institute.

CMMI can be used to assess a process’s maturity level and offer insights on how to improve that process and align it with the organization’s goals.

This model designed to:

  • Streamline business processes
  • Reduce risk
  • Improve organizational behavior

While CCMI was originally geared towards software development, it can be applied to a process or project of any scale, even an entire business.


The Open Group Architecture Framework, or the TOGAF Standard, is a modular framework designed to guide enterprise architecture planning.

This comprehensive framework focuses on high-level enterprise goals such as:

  • Business architecture
  • Information systems architecture
  • Implementation governance
  • Architecture change management

The TOGAF Standard, as mentioned above, is compatible with many, if not all, of the other frameworks covered here.


The IT Audit Framework (ITAF), also developed by ISACA, is a tool for improving IT audits.

This framework covers essential stages in the audit process, including:

  • Risk assessment
  • Planning
  • Field work

The best practices contained in these guidelines can ensure compliance and improve operational performance.


Most of the tools covered above are well-known in the IT industry and they are most likely familiar to IT leaders and CIOs.

The ADKAR framework, on the other hand, is an organizational change management framework  designed to streamline business transformation projects.

This model, developed by Prosci, outlines a set of steps that focus on the people side of change, such as:

  • Building an awareness of the need and a desire for change
  • Providing employees with the skills and abilities they need to drive change
  • Reinforcing change

Since CIOs are frequently in charge of business change efforts, tools such as the ADKAR model are becoming more and more relevant.

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Digital Adoption Team
Digital Adoption Team

A wonderful team of Digital Adoption, Digital Transformation & Change Management Experts.