Why Context Matters – Governance Everywhere


In the recently released book Digital Success or Digital Disaster, Mark Morrell describes in a very pragmatic manner Governance. Why it matters, and to what extent all these simple sense making guardrails sometimes get lost. Leading to a disaster, where it with some common sense could have become a success.

The book is really a good read, regardless if you have ambitions to become an Intranet Manager or you have other means or things to govern in the business. The foundation with a sustainable, enliven and culturally grounded Governance model should be of highest priority. Clueless is the word sometimes that rings a bell, when organisations, people and folks from leadership simply tries to change. Without setting the playground to how the new workplace will unfold. Who decides what, to what extent have the responsibilities been communicated, so that the members of staff act coherent and compliant? Mark explained in his talk at Intranätverk, the 7 principles that most of us should address!

In our everyday lives we change our behaviors to fit in with those around us, to co-exist. We do this instinctively when driving our cars, during meetings at work or deciding who will do the dishes at home.

The same holds true for the information systems we use at work. It is important that all users have the right training and skills so that we can rely upon the integrity, sustainability and usefulness of the system in question. This can only be achieved through a consistent set of information governance principles, standards and procedures aligned to business context, objectives and external dependencies.

We all know that medicines are more effective when we follow the doctor’s instructions about how and when to take them. And yet it is estimated that 50% of patients do not take their medicines as prescribed. The reasons are multifactorial and the same holds true for our compliance with standards and procedures relating to information systems at work. Very often employees feel constrained by controls that they perceive to be too restrictive. Digital Workplace straightjacket?

Therefore, it is important that the guidance provided to employees is easy to understand and follow, appropriate to the business context and clearly linked to company objectives. If, for whatever reason, employees do not comply with published standards and procedures, feedback loops need to be in place so that the guidance provided can be updated as appropriate. Most people at work tries to do their best, but if the tools and procedures don’t match their needs. They start to tinker, find shortcuts and leave the guardrails behind, and move into unmapped terrain. It is key that all things that make-up to what we call the Digital Workplace have resilience and a plastic behavior to support emerging uses from the members of staff.  And that the governance guardrails follow in the pathway of the users. Making sense!

The core principle is that Information is an Enterprise Asset

Context aware applications such as wristband health monitors are becoming part of our daily lives. This is in contrast to the overlapping data and information systems that make up our digital workplace which tend not to interact in any meaningful way.

The movement towards a sensor-driven Internet of Things such as smart cars and household appliances will be echoed in the digital workplace. This will require back-end systems to be fully compliant with information governance standards and procedures. Although the guidance provided should be easy to understand and follow not everyone will need to read them I order to rely upon the integrity, sustainability and usefulness of the system in question.

Cognitive computing is already with us and a number of companies are working on systems capable of ‘learning’. This is done through applications that capture our sometimes rational and sometimes irrational behaviors and as a result are flexible enough to adjust to our context.

Mark and I had a Governance Talk, to further discuss why it all matters:

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