10 steps to salvation: Creating digital governance that works, by Kate Thomas
Governance combines processes, people, and technology so that organizations can function.
Old style governance was easy.
- The IT department took care of all online stuff
- Governance was about procurement
- There wasn’t the 24hr news cycle
- There were far fewer channels
- In 1998 PayPal came into the field, 2000 TripAdvisor, 2003 WordPress, 2005 Facebook and YouTube – lots more channels, user generated content, etc!!
- This is what happens when devices, channels, and content collide.
In the new world order everyone is a publisher, and governance is far more complex.
Failures of governance happen every day. The tell tale signs:
- Not everyone is on board the digital train
- Poor documentation and format
- No clear process for sign-off or approval
- No shared understanding of managing non-standard requests
And as a result we have crazy workflows.
When the power went out in a big snowstorm, the user went to the electric company’s site on their mobile, and found a handy link on the homepage to request they fix the power. Two weeks later, when the power went out in a smaller snowstorm, the electric company didn’t have the handy link up (because they weren’t expecting power to be down) and as a result the user had a frustrating experience.
This was a governance failure, but it wasn’t because people didn’t care.
The new governance:
- It’s not a document or committee, it’s a new way of working.
- 21st century government is the supportive mesh of digital success.
- It includes text, images, metadata and tagging, tone of voice, visual style, content management, and analytics.
- Governance framework includes people, process, and technology.
Ten steps to Salvation:
- Strategy: define a plan and a common vision for the organization.
- Ensure it’s user-centered.
- Get buy in.
- The exec and CMO/CTO must be on board.
- If the head honchos don’t live and breathe the vision, it won’t take root.
- Select the technology and tools that support the vision.
- Follow the leaders – see what big companies are using for their tools.
- Spring clean: Get rid of any people, processes, or tools that you don’t need.
- Figure out job roles and team goals.
- Create a content vision and identify examples of content that does and does not fall under this vision.
- Build workflows that map the dependencies and accountability.
- Identify the long term vision, not just the short term workflows.
- This makes the process very transparent.
- Socialize the plan so that everyone becomes familiar with it.
- Explain it to people so that they understand where they stand with it.
- Don’t just get sign off – make sure they see it and pay attention.
- Start analyzing the plan for how it works for the strategy.
- Is it supporting the content strategy?
- Does it help users?
- Test it all and refine.
- Test how effective it is, determine benchmarks.
- Track how much is being spent on it.
- Continue to iterate – you’re not locked into anything.
- Stay prepared for the future.
- Recognize that the plan will need to be flexible and agile.