Before starting any major initiative: deployment, migration, or upgrade, start with your Governance Plan. Projects can kick off and run smoothly for weeks or months until unspoken configuration options need to be discussed and decisions made. Security risks need to be addressed. End user experiences may be looking less than ideal. Nobody knows who’s responsible for what... Cue the major project delays.
Most organizations have some governance, but it is often divided among business departments and technologies, not developed from a holistic enterprise perspective. In some organizations the IT/IS team is the entirety of the governance committee, leading to decisions based on the depth of knowledge of the toolsets and their bandwidth to support them. In this scenario the business can end up with redundant tools, and the organization ends up with higher licensing costs, increased risk and confused end users.
In contrast, a thoughtful and comprehensive governance plan allows for:
CONSIDERATIONS FOR SUCCESSFUL GOVERNANCE
You need to consider all business departments and all technologies. Often, each department is using (or requesting) their preferred tool which may not integrate with other systems and likely has overlapping features with other tools.
Due to silos, one common scenario is to find almost identical automation solutions built for two different teams using two different toolsets built by two different third-party vendors. Most automation can be consolidated with conditional routing or at least built once, copied and modified to save time and money.
Find outdated processes that rely on ‘tribal knowledge’ rather than documented processes. These outdated processes often rely heavily on email, phone calls and notes. Processes such as these may have worked before your last merger or re-org but are now band-aided together or falling apart in the middle.
Also document all roles involved in each process, most importantly the process owner. Lack of ownership can paralyze a project. Even when everyone agrees improvement is needed, they typically do not feel empowered to make the necessary decisions. Ownership and accountability are crucial for project success.
WHAT TO INCLUDE IN A GOVERNANCE PLAN
The below items are not an exhaustive list, but an excellent place to get started.
Roles & Responsibilities
This section gets glossed over; names are entered based on titles without the consideration of who is TRULY accountable for making the decisions. It’s essential to understand, talk with and document who will make final decisions and where their scope starts and stops. Consider tools, processes, procurement, training and communications.
List All Technologies, Their Use Cases & Cost
This step gets bypassed typically because organizations don’t want to take away end users’ favorite tools. The immediate goal doesn’t have to be any reduction in tools; get it documented and see if the numbers make sense from licensing, support and integration viewpoints. The list will help build your technology roadmap going forward and when new tools and features are requested.
Integration, Automation & Customization Management
Document which systems and sets of data are allowed to talk to each other. Decide on boundaries or ‘firewalls’ to prevent information secured in one platform being exposed in another.
Document what processes should be automated, who should build the automation and how it will be monitored and supported.
Put in checks and balances for requested customizations; do they truly add business value and is the cost of upkeep manageable? Who will maintain the customizations after system updates?
How long will data exist before it’s refreshed, archived or deleted? Are you subject to any regulations for retention, data residency or eDiscovery?
Who gets to create new workspaces (or sites, teams, groups, spaces, etc.) and what’s the criteria for their creation?
What happens to employees’ data when they leave the company?
User & Guest Management
How are users and guests onboarded and offboarded from tools? Who is responsible for assigning and removing licenses, granting the correct level of access and monitoring their sign-ins?
While all training is important, we often see two areas dismally addressed:
Proper governance takes time. Start your planning with an outline in a shared online space, book monthly working sessions (anything under 90 minutes isn’t likely to produce any tangible results) and write a concise agenda with a clear goal for each session. Be sure to invite the right people to the session; inviting only business decision makers will likely result in knowledge gaps around the tools, and inviting only technical folks will result in missed business needs.
Contact Pivotal to get started with your governance planning. Our facilitators, analysts and architects can set you up for success.
* Check back next month for Part II: Don’t Forget Change Management
5 Reasons Most Technology Projects Fail
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