IT Governance: What is it and why it matters

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Chief Technology Officer

Bad IT governance plagues a vast number of businesses globally. While smaller organizations with less than 100 employees might be able to offset this by having someone handle the exceptions, challenges, and issues that occur with poor governance. As the organization scales to hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of employees, it becomes clearer that pro-active planning is critical to avoid significant costs, inefficiencies, and significant risks. 

Businesses have any number of issues to take care of, making it easy to sweep some of the growing pains under the rug, temporarily at least. One of the growing pains often swept under the rug is the critical role IT governance plays in the digital workplace. The larger an organization is, the more it becomes difficult for anyone in the company to understand how digital workspaces are designed, how they are structured, where people work, how they work, and more.  

What Is IT Governance And How Does It Relate To The Digital Workplace?  

Poor IT governance creates many challenges but before we go any further, let’s take a step back and make sure you understand what effective IT governance is. For most organizations, it’s not just risk management and mitigation but a way of working more effectively and efficiently.  

IT Governance Football Example

Here is another way to think about governance for any football fans out there. In football, how effective and successful will a team be at winning if it doesn’t have structured sub-teams? Imagine a football team with no defensive line, offensive line, or special teams. 

What if sometimes the quarterback played the role of wide receiver, linebacker, or kicker? How effective would that team be? What if the team had no planned plays, never practiced those plays, and had no coaches or clear direction? 

Essentially, the plays, structure, roles, responsibilities, and patterns are all critical in reducing risks of injuries and losses but, far more importantly, allowing the ‘organization’ or teams to perform well. This is the real goal of IT Governance for the Digital Workplace. It helps the Digital Workplace deliver more value and better maximizes the investments you make around it. 

Here, we will break down the basics of IT Governance, especially as it relates to managing Microsoft 365 effectively. 

Its Relationship with the Digital Workplace 

Inside your organization, content, communities, teams, groups, and sites grow over time. This is a positive result of digital adoption. As those digital workspaces grow in usage, volume, and variety, it can be extremely challenging to manage and understand how digital technology is leveraged, by whom, and where.  

how content builds in your digital workplace over time

For many organizations, the level of understanding of digital workspaces is extremely low. We know that a space exists, but not much more about it. Certainly not enough to pro-actively manage the lifecycle, support adoption, manage compliance effectively, or improve how people work within and across these workspaces. This is often classified as unmanaged sprawl and transitioning this to managed sprawl is the number one focus of effective IT Governance for the Digital Workplace. 

Looking for more insight into tackling sprawl? Be sure to check out this prior webinar from our team and Orchestry

Tackling Teams and SharePoint Site Sprawl Webinar

Some of the areas of IT Governance for the Digital Workplace and Microsoft 365 to review are: 

Retention, Expiration, and Archiving Policies 

  • Not only of content but also the collections (Teams, Sites, Yammer Communities, Groups, and other digital spaces employees work). 

Redundancy & Duplication Detection 

  • While redundancy is excellent for IT availability, it’s not best for the digital workplace as it results in confusion, less confidence from users, and inefficiencies. 

Reduce Risks  

  • While it may be obvious to think about ownership and how it is managed, it’s vital to also think about security as it relates to external sharing, data loss prevention, and much more. 

Reach Out, Training & Adoption 

  • The creation of a digital workspace and other digital workspace milestones are great opportunities to pro-actively engage and reach out to improve digital excellence with owners, influencers, potential champions, and more. 
Proactive Governance Webinar Slide

Consequences Of Poor Governance 

For over 115 million active daily users, Microsoft Teams is their go-to communication and collaboration platform. It is ease-of-use is great for most scenarios, minus when creating a new group becomes extremely simple. This simple feature can easily escalate out of hand and create various abandoned, misleading, and unofficial groups. 

Simply looking at some of the areas of governance mentioned above, we are certain you see at least a couple that you can improve and work on.

Many of the consequences of unmanaged sprawl – a result of poor governance – can be seen in the list below: 

  • Ineffective Naming & Confusion On Official VS Unofficial Spaces 
  • Owners Missing & Inability To Manage 
  • Poor Navigation & Search 
  • Redundant Teams/Sites/Communities 
  • Orphaned Teams/Sites/Communities 
  • Data Loss Risks Are Much Higher 
  • Loss of Control & Significantly More Cost In Responding To Issues 
  • Slower & Increased Failed Team/Site/Community Starts 
  • Poorer Digital Literacy & Excellence  
  • Difficulty To Target Training & Adoption Programs 

There are more challenges that result from poor governance and unmanaged sprawl. Keep an eye out for our upcoming eBook on these common sprawl issues and how to solve them. In the meantime, you can get ahead of governance issues in our upcoming webinar with our partner Orchestry. 

Why Good Governance Matters More Than Ever 

It is no shock that there has been a surge in working from home, putting newfound stress on digital workplaces everywhere as adoption has accelerated. However, that doesn’t mean that adoption was guided, governed, or supported in a way that will lead to continued success and business objectives met. Even companies with governance and provisioning under control before the pandemic have struggled to keep those efforts afloat based on increased demands, accelerated adoption of technology change, and less time/resources to respond to emerging needs.  

The need for strategies and objectives around better governance and provisioning is more crucial than ever. This means that it is increasingly critical to stay on top of these issues before they get out of hand.  

Get Proactive

As we mentioned, getting ahead of these issues is vital in stopping them before they get out of control.  

2toLead and Orchestry Webinar on Proactive IT Governance Practices and Adoption

That is why we are teaming up with our incredible partner, Orchestry, for a webinar titled “Proactive Governance & Adoption in Microsoft 365: Everything You Need to Know.” Join our CTO and Microsoft MVP, Richard Harbridge and Orchestry’s CEO and Microsoft MVP, Michal Pisarek, in a webinar you do not want to miss. 

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