Preparing your organisation for IT governance

We sought to define governance in my last blog post and lay the foundation to progress from its definition to actionable steps to implement governance. Now we’ll address how to prepare your organisation for IT governance. Just like...

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We sought to define governance in my last blog post and lay the foundation to progress from its definition to actionable steps to implement governance. Now we’ll address how to prepare your organisation for IT governance.

Just like there is no one de facto definition for governance, there is no single reason why many companies avoid any attempts at implementing governance. There are many reasons, and it honestly depends upon the culture of the enterprise in question.

For some, governance seems so unbelievably overwhelming that they simply don’t know where to begin. Other headstrong organisations may try to jump right in to set policies on everything and never truly finish. Lastly, you have many naïve companies that believe end users will actually organically develop the governance over time. While all well-intentioned, these strategies will miss the mark.

Think of governance as going hand-in-hand with actually deploying SharePoint in your organisation: start small and roll out features incrementally. You wouldn’t turn on every feature SharePoint has to offer on Day One, right? (Hint: You really shouldn’t.) It will confuse your users and make governance planning next to impossible.

If you start by deploying a small subset of features to address one of your business goals, such as social collaboration or (not “and”) enterprise search, you can focus your governance plan on this one, digestible area. Then, as SharePoint expands to meet the next business goal, you can revise the governance plan accordingly.

As you’re determining where to start, it’s also vital that you assess your company’s culture in order to determine if you’re ready for governance. What does that mean? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have clearly defined policies and procedures for other systems and technologies?
  • Are users comfortable with those aforementioned policies?

Your governance policies should match the level to which believe your organisation is “governance ready”. So, if your company has been lenient on approvals in the past, you shouldn’t make your new governance process rigid and tightly managed. It takes time for people to adapt, and governance plans must take that into account.

Also, one last word of caution: If this is the first time your organisation is dipping its collective toe in the pool of governance, don’t immediately jump into the deep end. It’s best to hold off on deploying SharePoint’s more advanced features, such as records management, because it will involve complex governance planning your organisation may not be ready for quite yet.

Let time pass and start small. That way, as your organisations’ staff adapts and evolves, you can then move onto the more complex business problems with a better understanding of what works, what doesn’t, and hopefully shorten the adoption cycle even further.

Next time, we’ll discuss how to form a governance board and pre-emptively answer commonly asked questions for your new SharePoint deployment.

Posted by Jeremy Thake, AvePoint

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