Content Governance Policies: 3 Simple Questions You Need to Ask

In Technology by Jeff ShueyLeave a Comment

Content Governance Policies: 3 Simple Questions You Need to AskAlthough you might not think about it much, chances are good that the business you either work for or own is creating content on a daily basis, and also receiving content every day. The larger that business is, the greater that volume of content likely is. Why is that important? Within the content there is metadata being generated both by people and by the systems themselves. Purchase Orders, Contracts, RFPs, receipts, safety documents, leases, expense reports the list goes on and on. What’s important? Which are needed for accounting? For sales? For legal? All important questions, and all part of the reason that having a content governance program in place is important. Here are three questions to ask as you either begin to think about, or want to evaluate your content governance program.

How do you decide what you need to keep? And for how long?

For some content the answer is easy—the government tells you. If you work for a company, the answer is also easy—or it should be. The company will have policies in place for content governance. Or they should. And if you own or run a company, the responsibility is on you to know and understand the risks associated with content management and governance, and having policies in place to ensure that governance.

How many people know if their company has a Content Governance program?

How many people care?
The answer for this second question is relevant because the answer should be … almost No One! When done correctly, Content Governance is, or should be, transparent to the end users.

Content is the lifeblood of your business—everything purchase that happens, every lead, every item produced or service delivered, every business transaction, every legal transaction, every purchase, every communication, every marketing or sales asset developed—everything that happens, both inside and outside the organization is content. It’s the stuff upon which your business runs. Here are three simple questions to ask yourself to start thinking about the impact of Content Governance on your business.

Three Simple Questions About Content Governance

  1. Is my information secure?
    • Meaning is your content that defines, describes and documents how your business operates protected.
    • Are you sure?
    • Really sure?
  1. Can I produce records if compelled by a court of law?
  2. Do I have a disaster recovery plan? Could I resume, restart, or relocate my business quickly if a catastrophic event occurred?

These questions are not intended to strike fear, rather they are intended to get people thinking about their business and, specifically about the people, processes, and technologies that comprise and run the business. And to consider this content for what it is—the lifeblood of the business.

What’s the Definition of Content?

Every business has three things that make them run, that make them unique, and that provide the reasons why customers keep coming to them.

They are, in order of importance:

  • People
  • Processes
  • Technology

People are the critical component of every business. People create processes. Processes define and describe the business. Technology underlies the people and the processes. Technology is absolutely important, never more than it is today. By its very nature, it is always changing and needs to be managed effectively—think technical governance.

Helping people to Create, Control and Document processes through the use of technology is the Holy Grail.

People (and oftentimes technologies), are always creating content. That content needs to be stored somewhere, secured somehow, and shredded at some time.

Think about it like this:

  • Contracts, sales orders, agreements, receipts, etc., are generated daily;
  • Insurance claims processes, MSDS procedures, factory startup procedures. etc., are all part of the documentation and instructions that allow the business to run;
  • Automated transactions happen all day, every day. For example, password reminders are automated tasks, or recipes that fetch files from one place and store them in another place in a computer system are automated tasks;
  • The IoT has and will continue to have an impact on businesses of every kind. Sensors are everywhere, gathering information and often reacting to the inputs. This might be security systems, lighting systems, manufacturing systems, shelving and inventory management systems.

People and technology are creating data and metadata every day and in every way imaginable. And as technology makes even greater inroads in our lives, the volume of that data and metadata increases exponentially. Some might be irrelevant, but who decides?

The Microsoft Play in Content Governance

I’m a Microsoft guy, so I naturally think of this in terms of the Microsoft world. Content and the way to capture, manage, and control it is all part of the Big Four Microsoft Megatrends: Mobile, Social, Cloud, Data. Content also allows for the concept of Managed Big Data to become a reality— Across Microsoft and any other platforms that your systems use. This is where Microsoft SharePoint can be used to achieve its ultimate destiny as a place to Surface Data.

IT Megatrends

By other systems, I mean legacy platforms which may include any of The Big Three ECM players. Each may be playing an active role in Content Governance. Each may be used to create, consume or respond to “content triggers” within the business processes that have been created to run the business.

[How is Content Governance is different than Technical Governance?
Great question! I’ll cover that in my next post!]

When done right Content Governance is transparent to the end users.

The key point here is that Content Governance can make or break your business. When done right, it is easy to use, easy to manage, and easy to adapt to your ever-changing business needs. Those changes can come in the form of new government regulations, new markets being targeted, acquisitions or divestitures, and a whole host of other business-altering scenarios. Having confidence in the company’s overall Content Governance strategy allows the people to create and adapt processes using existing and new technologies to drive the business forward. Without worries about risk, and without guessing as to policies and procedures. And that? That’s a good thing.

What do you think?

  • Is Content Governance part of your business planning efforts?
  • Can you answer the Three Simple Questions with confidence?
  • Has your business been impacted by good (or poor) Content Governance?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Drop a note here in the comments or contact me via one of the Social Media channels below.

An earlier version of this post first appeared on Jeff Shuey’s personal blog.

Photo Credit: thedivahound via Compfight cc

Jeff is business advisor, mentor and community engagement expert. He has spent most of his career in the Enterprise Content Management industry. He brings over 20 years of Channel Sales, Partner Marketing and Alliance expertise to audiences around the world in speaking engagements and via his writing. He has worked for Microsoft, Kodak, and K2. 

He is a contributing author to Entrepreneur, Elite Daily, Yahoo, US News and to the Personal Branding Blog