I believe that governance is at the heart of effective Enterprise 2.0 implementation. While many shy away at the term, mainly because governance is usually focused on risk and limitations, I see it differently. True governance is just as much about ensuring that opportunities are taken as it is as about containing risk. Governance, done well, is an enabler of innovation, providing parameters, guidelines and policies that address risks, and allow the greatest possible scope for experimentation and value creation.
As such most of my client work on Enterprise 2.0 is helping executives to frame governance and develop effective strategies. Advanced Human Technologies doesn’t do implementation; we work with partners for the nitty-gritty of larger projects. We believe that the greatest value creation is getting the frame right. Everything else flows from that.
The chapter on governance in my book Implementing Enterprise 2.0 is available for free download from the book website. However I thought it was also worth excerpting the chapter, as below. This section describes a typical Enterprise 2.0 governance process. Of course projects must be always tailored to the situation, addressing issues including organizational culture and existing processes.
SIX STEPS IN A TYPICAL GOVERNANCE PROCESS
1. Nominate a project leader and project sponsor
Creating a governance framework is a significant initiative that requires access to key stakeholders. A senior executive project sponsor should be named who will facilitate access to resources and people where required. The project leader can be either an internal manager with the appropriate skills and understanding of the organization, or an external consultant who has the benefit of independence from organizational politics.
2. Identify key stakeholders and interests
Different groups in each organization will have different perspectives on implementing Enterprise 2.0. While it is probably not possible to entirely satisfy every group’s interests, it is valuable to understand the perspectives from each group.
One approach is to build a matrix of stakeholders and their perspectives on potential applications, including what they see as key benefits, key concerns, and what the priorities should be. A simple worksheet illustrating this is shown at the end of this chapter.
For instance, the board of directors may see important potential benefits in the company being seen as innovative and a good employer by providing staff who have young children with flexible working arrangements. The key concerns for the board might be the potential for reputation impact and productivity impact if tools are used inappropriately. The sales group might place a priority on enhancing their productivity by reducing email clutter, and being better able to identify and access expertise and resources across the firm.
More sophisticated stakeholder analysis approaches may also be used, including mapping key dimensions such as Power (Weak to Strong), Stance (Negative to Positive), and Activity (Passive to Active) for each stakeholder.
ENTERPRISE 2.0 IN ACTION (CASE STUDY)
Global professional services firm
A large professional services firm with a risk-averse culture and highly structured processes found that a number of partners and managers in various roles within the organization, were either lobbying for the use of Web 2.0 tools in their groups, or in fact trialling Web 2.0 initiatives without formal approval. Groups involved included corporate communications, learning, technology consulting, and IT support.
After a period of suppressing unapproved initiatives, with the risk management group denying requests for trials, the partner on the firm’s executive committee responsible for innovation established a review of Web 2.0 tools, in particular addressing the applications already suggested by group across the organization.
An external consultant was appointed to drive the initiative. The first step taken was to identify all relevant internal groups, and based on brief phone interviews, establish their viewpoints on potential value and and risks. The consultant then ran a two-hour workshop of representatives from each of the internal stakeholder groups, commencing with the stated views from each group, and identifying specific areas where there were differences of opinion. From this a map of internal stakeholders and their interests was created.
3. Prioritize desired outcomes
In order to implement high-value initiatives, these need to be prioritized. Establishing a clear view of the highest priority outcomes enables initiatives to be established that will best support these.
• A company focused on research & development in industries such as pharmaceuticals or medical devices may prioritize acceleration of innovation, product development, and product launch.
• A professional firm for which attracting talented graduates and young professionals is a key competitive factor may prioritize the use of social media tools in recruitment, and implementing internal tools such as social networks that may be initially deployed for incoming staff.
The prioritization process will often be done in a workshop environment, with representatives of key areas discussing the key performance indicators for their department or area, and how they see Enterprise 2.0 approaches being able to support them achieving these.
4. Identify key risks and concerns
Every organization will perceive different risks and concerns from implementing Enterprise 2.0.
• A call center which employs many young people in a highly process-driven environment may be concerned with the productivity impact of staff using public social networks.
• A financial advisory firm may need to ensure an audit trail of all external communication to comply with securities regulation.
• A strongly hierarchical organization may be concerned about inappropriate communication between junior staff.
KEY ISSUES IN RISK AND GOVERNANCE
Carefully distinguish between the perception and reality of risks.
Risks must be balanced against value creation.
Recognizing risks allows them to be eliminated, minimized, or mitigated.
5. Establish and/or communicate policies
Policies establish the basic rules and guidelines for how staff work, providing one of the most direct mechanisms for implementing governance.
Most organizations have already established policies that address basic issues such as appropriate public behavior, disclosure of confidential information, and use of company resources for personal purposes.
In many cases existing policies are adequate for most purposes other than external blogging. Whether existing policies are used or new policies are developed, the most important issue is communicating those policies in such a way that employees understand and comply with them.
6. Set IT strategies and guidelines
IT strategies for Enterprise 2.0 need to be set in the context of comprehensive technology strategies for the organization. These will take into account existing IT platforms, anticipated IT requirements of the organization over coming years, migration to new hardware or software platforms, the impact of mergers or acquisitions on enterprise IT, and many other factors. The introduction of web-based technologies may simply provide an overlay of collaborative functionality to core IT systems, or they may be central to a fundamental shift in IT architecture. It is the role of the Chief Information Officer, the executive team and the board to establish and approve these broader directions.
Stemming from the overarching long-term IT strategy for the firm, clear parameters for the use of Enterprise 2.0 tools will be established. In many cases these will include the selection of company-approved platforms that meet security and other requirements, and to enable ready integration of content and activities with existing IT systems. Some organizations may permit experimentation with some externally-hosted applications, but require approval if the use goes beyond specific parameters.