The 5 key principles of COBIT 5

ISACA’s information technology management framework Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT) is widely regarded as the global standard when it comes to leading and governing enterprise IT.

Since its initial introduction in 1996, COBIT has gone through a number of iterations and releases. However, the current volume, COBIT 5, is an essential tool for anyone managing information systems and IT teams.

But what does COBIT 5 actually involve? Here is a brief summary of the five key principles highlighted in this framework. For more information and to become officially certified in this area, you may want to sign up for a COBIT 5 training course.

COBIT 5: The 5 key principles

According to ISACA, COBIT 5 helps businesses maximise IT value by “maintaining a balance between realising benefits and optimising risk levels and resource use”.

In order to achieve this balance, COBIT 5 has outlined five principles. These principles are designed to be generic and versatile, meeting the needs of any business, regardless of size or unique IT requirements.

1. Meeting stakeholder needs 

The first principle of COBIT 5, Meeting Stakeholder Needs, encompasses the idea that enterprises exist to create value for stakeholders – whatever that value may be. When making decisions regarding IT management and governance, organisations therefore need to consider which stakeholders stand to benefit from this decision, as well as who is taking on the majority of the risk.

2. Covering the enterprise end-to-end

Because COBIT 5 looks at governance and IT management decisions from an End-to-End enterprise perspective, organisations employing this framework make decisions that extend past the IT function, and instead treat IT as an asset that aligns with other processes.

3. Applying a Single, Integrated Framework

COBIT 5’s single integrated framework allows it to be used as an overarching governance tool and management system that is relevant to other frameworks within the organisation.

4. Enabling a Holistic Approach

Holism – the concept of systems being viewed as a whole, as opposed to individual components – is a critical modern business strategy. COBIT 5 takes a holistic approach to IT management and governance, allowing for greater collaboration and achievement of common goals.

5. Separating Governance From Management 

Finally, COBIT 5 emphasises the need to make a clear distinction between IT governance and management. This is important as ISACA believes the two components require separate organisational structures and different processes, as they each serve separate organisational purposes.