We met with sales executive Glenn who, like many of his colleagues, avoided using their intranet because they couldn’t find the information they needed, even if this meant working overtime to write proposals or various forms of documents from scratch.

Sounds familiar? We hear complaints similar to this time and again and we know that in this scenario, your intranet needs more than just improved information architecture; the information governance structure needs some attention too.

Setting up or modifying information governance for your intranet can be tricky, but there are a few things that you can do to stay on track. Here’s how you can create an intranet governance structure that works.

What is information governance?

There’s no one right way to define information governance, but in simple terms it is a framework for using information effectively.

Information governance describes how users create, store, and use information on the intranet, and usually includes the processes, roles, permissions, standards, and measurements needed for the implementation to meet its goals.

Why every intranet needs good governance

Good information governance gives users a standard way to deal with and manage information. It provides easy access to information that users need to do their jobs, while preventing information overload.

Other benefits of a sound intranet governance document include:

  • Users know their roles and responsibilities when using the system.
  • New content is controlled effectively.
  • Continuous improvement strategies are clear.
  • Content review processes are well described and managed.
  • Identifying opportunities for value adding through collaboration and co-creation.

Steps to build your information governance structure

Your governance structure should make sure that users have ownership of the intranet and know:

  • What they can and can’t do.
  • How to keep content up to date, timely and relevant.
  • Exactly what their responsibilities are.

Here are the steps to creating an effective intranet governance plan:

  1. Create a governance team

A governance team, drawn from several business areas, can provide a broad business focus to the implementation and assist in delivering a successful intranet that grows and matures with the organisation. Identify the roles and responsibilities of the committee in rolling out change and make sure the team meets regularly.

  1. Develop a clearly defined roadmap

All governance activities will revolve around this roadmap, so put in the time and effort to make sure it is well defined early on in the project.

  1. Include a training plan

All content, site, and IT administrators should have access to appropriate training materials and ways of developing the skills they need. Develop a training plan which shows how users will obtain any skills they don’t have.

  1. Define processes carefully

It is important to define the processes users will use for things like content or feature change requests. If you build effective workflow structures early, it will be easy for new content to be added, reviewed and published.

The governance plan should define how to handle the need for major change. This may include the development of a wish list form for ad hoc ideas, or a more structured intranet project request form for more major solutions.

7 practical tips for a successful information governance

As with any project, good planning can minimise the risk of things going wrong when implementing a new information governance structure. There is no simple answer to the extent of governance that you need, and so research and planning about the requirements of your organisation is important.

Lack of governance can lead to content being ineffective, outdated, irrelevant, or lacking quality, but over-governance can lead to users feeling restricted and stifle innovation.

  1. The intranet governance should be simple enough to allow users to apply minor changes easily without getting frustrated.
  2. The governance should address ways for users to take ownership of their intranet space.
  3. You should create simple and decentralised permission management processes.
  4. Make plans for how to communicate quickly with different work environments so that all users receive the same message.
  5. Explore ways to avoid your intranet governance becoming too rigid so that it can adapt quickly as required.
  6. You should remember that the intranet project does not finish with the rollout to users.
  7. The intranet governance should include plans for growing and evolving the project throughout its lifecycle.

Armed with a clear roadmap, a sound governance plan, and a capable intranet committee, your intranet will have the stability, structure, and processes to grow, adapt, and evolve with your business.

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