CGEIT Domain 3: Benefits Realization [updated 2020]
The Certified in Governance of Enterprise IT, or CGEIT, is an IT governance certification offered by ISACA. In July of 2020, ISACA released a new iteration of this certification exam that includes a good amount of changes.
This article will detail the third domain of knowledge of the exam, “benefits realization,” and will explore the changes that this version of the exam contains, as well as what certification exam candidates can expect in terms of exam material for this domain. If you were having trouble finding information about this domain of the 2020 exam, this article may be the answer to your needs.
Recent changes to CGEIT
Several changes to the CGEIT certification exam have kicked in, starting in July 2020. These changes are:
- CGEIT has shifted its focus from task statements to topic/knowledge areas (or sub-topics) in the outline of exam specifications. The new exam outline contains secondary task statements/activities in each of the four domains of knowledge that allows the candidate to apply the knowledge.
- The sub-topics provide better organized knowledge and task statements in the domains.
- In the 2013 job practice, Domain 3: Benefits realization had a respective weight of the exam content of 16%. The 2020 changes include an increase of exam content weight to 26% for this domain.
- The domain called “strategic management” did not make it to the CGEIT exam outline (job practice). Instead, this domain has been spread throughout the other domains.
- The knowledge statements have been rewritten throughout. This is to account for current technology, and some have been combined to avoid redundancies.
- These changes are intended to enhance the exam preparation experience, and the changes provide for a better context in which to apply the knowledge.
The most apparent change to Domain 3 of the CGEIT certification exam is the introduction of sub-topics to the domains of knowledge in the exam. Below are the subtopics of this domain:
- IT performance and oversight
- Management of IT-enabled investments
These sub-topics are used as signposts to guide CGEIT exam candidates and to organize the secondary tasks that belong to these sub-topics. Reinventing the wheel is generally not my thing, so I will use these sub-topics to guide the article as well.
CGEIT Domain 3 objective
The objective of Domain 3 is to make sure that the business and its IT fulfill its value management responsibilities, which are:
- Whether its IT-enabled business investments both achieve the benefit realization they promised and deliver measurable business value
- Whether required capabilities, such as services and solutions, are delivered within budget and on time
- Whether both IT services and assets continue to add business value to the enterprise
IT performance and oversight
Integral to performance management is COBIT performance management, or CPM, which is a value realization framework. Performance management is based upon these principles:
- CPMs should be simple to understand and use
- CPMs should align with the COBIT conceptual model
- CPMs should provide repeatable, reliable and relevant results
- CPMs should be flexible
- CPMs should support multiple assessment types such as self-assessment, audits and formal appraisals
Not to be confused with change control! The goal of change management is to maximize the likelihood that implementing organization-wide change is successful.
Governance monitoring and reporting
Governance monitoring and reporting requires the following:
- Balanced scorecard
- SMART metrics
The quality assurance methodologies and concepts this secondary task covers are:
- Components of assurance initiatives
- IT assurance road map
- Total quality management
Process development and improvement
This secondary task covers:
- Six Sigma
Management of IT-enabled investments
Ensuring benefits delivery and reducing the risk of cost, delays and value loss depends on management of IT-enabled investments.
Business case development and evaluation
Developing a business case is a crucial task for IT-enabled investments. It is a tool that helps in evaluating, determining and measuring investments from the point of inception to retirement of the investment.
IT investment management and reporting
- Portfolio management
- Program and project management
Performance metrics are necessary in determining how investments are performing. An important factor in determining investment performance is key performance indicators, or KPI. Metrics should be used for all of the key processes.
“Performance metrics” covers:
- Objectives and key results
- Key performance indicators
- Critical success factors
Benefit evaluation methods
Measuring accrued benefits can be a challenge because a substantial amount of the benefits is indirect. Therefore, benefit measurement should be both financial and non-financial.
- Financially oriented cost-benefit techniques
- Non-financially oriented cost-benefit techniques
- The goals cascade
The recent changes to CGEIT are fairly comprehensive and touch almost every facet of the certification exam. Aside from general changes, such as the shift from topic/knowledge areas to sub-topics containing secondary tasks, there are also area changes affecting specific areas of the certification exam.
In terms of this domain, the respective weight of the exam content that the domain covers has increased from 16% to 27%. Do not let these changes get in the way of earning this certification! These changes have made CGEIT more applicable to today’s technology and have made it a more organized test-taking experience.
CGEIT Exam Content Outline, ISACA
ISACA, “CGEIT Review Manual, 8th Edition,” 2020