Enterprise computing: digital governance

Enterprise computing: digital governance

The Digital Life

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

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WE have been taking an intense look at critical components on the digital transformation journey for the past six weeks or so. We established four main pillars on our road map to successful digital transformation:

1. Strategy and vision (digital strategy, digital focus and digital investment)

2. People and culture (digital skills, leadership and culture)

3. Process and governance

4. Technology and capabilities.

In the coming weeks we are going to look at process and governance. This pillar has three key components: digital innovation, change management, and governance. For this week, however, we are going to explore digital governance and its importance in the digital transformation journey.

Studies have shown that advances in technology for communication, collaboration, integration data analytics and process automation pressure businesses to respond to increasing customer demands. Customers now demand more efficient and frictionless experiences.

Adopting the right technology puts many companies on the right path to take advantage of the opportunities created by these new demands. However, the inherent risks associated with this technology infusion are often overlooked and lead to catastrophic outcomes. This is why digital governance is critical.

What is digital governance?

In her book Managing Chaos - Digital Governance by Design, Lisa Welchman aptly defines digital governance as “a discipline that focuses on establishing clear accountability for digital strategy, policy, and standards”. Welchman posits that companies looking to embark on a digitally transformative journey must have “new conversations about digital governance and its transformative power to support creativity, real collaboration, digital quality, and online growth”.

We covered digital strategy in a previous article so we will focus on digital policy and standards. These are of extreme importance in the new digital dispensation, and businesses will encounter new challenges and risks in their quest to deliver new products and services. These include but are not limited to:

• Data security, privacy and regulatory compliance

• System and data integration between new and legacy platforms

• Data sharing and collaboration between employees and business partners

• Brand exposure risks in the digital space (eg social media, corporate secrets, espionage etc).

Digital policy and standards

Digital policy must be created to manage risk and identify the rules that apply across a digital organisation. Digital policies must be clear and concise so that all staff and, where necessary, customers, can understand and follow the rules. It is recommended that an organisation have the following digital polices documented:

• Accessibility

• Advertising

• Data privacy

• Domain names

• Logo and trademark usage

• Security (electronic and physical)

• Social media and website terms of use.

In concert with these policies, a business will also need to establish necessary standards to ensure the company brand's integrity, and to maintain a credible digital footprint. Below is a list of six key standards that a digital organisation should consider implementing:

1. Customer service and support

2. Product management

3. E-commerce and digital marketing

4. Systems integration and data analytics

5. Data loss/leak prevention

6. Email communications.

Additionally, organisations must identify people and create roles to marshal these standards and policies. The best approach for this is to use a “RACI” chart to identify each person or group who will be responsible, accountable, consulted and informed.

Next week we will look at change management.

Trevor Forrest is founder and CEO of 876 Technology Solutions. Christopher Reckord is CEO of managed IT services provider tTech Limited. Collectively, they have approximately 80 years of experience helping organisations of varying sizes to procure and implement information technology solutions and transform digitally.

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