I was with a group of CIOs last week, in sunny Oxfordshire. We were discussing SharePoint deployment and the impact of end-user computing in that environment. As always the challenge is getting the balance right between locking everything down and creating a backlog in IS, or allowing people to do their own thing and then losing a sense of standards or of continuity when people move on.
Several interesting points emerged. Organisations want to engender a sense of collaboration – even when it is not clear how ROI can be measured. But the participants at our discussion group were a self-selecting group and given the discussion topic that isn’t surprising. Yet, of the thousands of pages of material generated by SharePoint users in the companies that those CIOs represent, just 4%of the pages attracted 90% of the traffic. This was pretty constant – so if nobody is looking does IS care about standards?
Professional pride kicks in – and IS does care. Driving adoption is interesting, driving content creation seemingly is more easy that driving content reading. I guess people just think their own stuff is more important than others do!
So the governance questions were about how light or heavy the touch should be. Governance on taxonomy was recognised to be critical – IS owned that and there was a process to request changes. There was also agreement that Governance was more important when the site was to be shared with customers. Brand, quality, resilience, and commercial confidentiality came into play at that time – and in regulated industries that was critically important. But when it comes to what individuals are prepared to share with their colleagues there was a wider range of opinions – and experiences. In the Far East much was made of sharing family pictures and colleagues working together, in Europe less so, in the US sharing got no further than Linked In might.
Governance is usually discussed in terms of committees and decision making rights, delegated authority etc. And that is necessary. But does there need to be a cultural overlay too? Cultures vary by geography, industry, functional discipline, and age group. Does one size fit all? Governance is most effective when people buy in, and understand the rules. How do you make the Governance message relevant, when thousands of people are entitled to make and publish their own content for the good of the enterprise?