Poor IS Governance: A Recipe for Chaos
You can’t effectively implement brand consistency without first establishing some clear brand guidelines, and the same rule applies to Information Systems. Deploying information management systems without any guidance on how and when to use them is a surefire recipe for chaos.
The chaos of governance-less IS management is the reason why the roles in IS exist. The key objective of the CIO/Head of IS is to effectively manage an organisation’s information systems, but all too often we find that people in these roles lack the responsibility and resources to be effective.
Nowadays, the simple “sign up – buy licences – train – go!” model means that technology is deployed at speed, and it can be a struggle to keep up. Working with a platform like Office 365, where such a wide range of tools are available, we find that this is a common issue.
Because the Microsoft benefits roll out schedule is so fast paced, you often find users with seemingly conflicting technologies, and little guidance on which to use. One example we are seeing at the moment is Office 365 Groups vs. Microsoft Teams vs. SharePoint Team Sites. Each has a use case and best fit for what your organisation is trying to achieve, but users are often left to decide for themselves which is best to use.
Having a CIO / Head of IS to specify, recommend, measure and justify the usage of systems is an excellent step towards effective systems management. Businesses must realise that the technology in the business is not the same as its systems, and that the two need separate consideration. It is easy for this to fall through however when the company deploys information management/systems without first putting controls in place.
Good governance is the key to success.
Governance has got itself a bad reputation because it is often (wrongly) interpreted as meaning the policing of a system. The truth is far from it. Governance is about governing what information systems are used for, in order to prevent time from being wasted.
The fact that there are many ways to perform the same function in most software systems means that it is essential to implement governance guidelines of the “this is how we do it here” ilk. Otherwise you will waste time watching every department go through the exact same learning curve – a massively unproductive and inefficient way of doing things.
There is a clear crossover from IS management into training and internal communications , which is why we always recommend that governance teams are cross functional.
The ideal Governance team should represent all the major functions’ input into potential usage, but predominantly should cover IT, Marketing, Communications and HR, as major systems users and communicators of the business messages. Senior roles from each of these areas need to collaborate with your head of IS to ensure that time is used as productively as possible for all involved.
This is not a call for an old fashioned monthly audit meeting: It is far better to use one of the IS technologies – such as a Group or Team Site – to produce guidance in consultation with these roles. You can then seek input, promote these areas internally as evangelists for change and improvement, and work effectively as a team to communicate best practice usage of your technology and systems.
If you are in an organisation without guidance on which tool to use, then look to your Head of IS and see if they need your help. Without your feedback and cooperation, they can’t do their job!
Business Cloud Integration Ltd offer Cloud, SharePoint and Office 365 consultancy in Cambridge, delivering solutions that increase company productivity, streamline and automate business processes, and simplify and enhance collaborative working.