open view inside a structure
Applying a layer of data governance across your DAM program is the best preparation against future change. PHOTO: Naletu

The best way to plan for future change in today's competitive landscape is to apply an effective layer of governance to your content programs. As businesses seek to become truly data-driven, realize the full value of their data and avoid costly missteps, data governance is the process that holds your data operations together. 

To be effective, data governance must be considered a holistic corporate objective. It must go beyond IT governance and establish policies, procedures and training for the management of data across the organization and at all levels. 

Skip data governance, and at best, you may lose opportunities to leverage enterprise data to respond to new opportunities. At worst, your organization may face the legal consequences of data mismanagement. If you develop a project charter, a working committee and timelines, governance becomes an ongoing practice to deliver ROI, innovation and sustained success.

Governance is a framework to ensure that program goals are met both during implementation and in the future. Ultimately, it is the only way to manage and mitigate risk. Governance can begin with a road map and measurement tools to ensure the success of the implementation during the first iteration and may then grow to become formalized into an operating model for the business. And beyond the delivery of an effective ROI, active governance delivers innovation and sustained success by building collaborative opportunities and participation from all levels of the organization. The more success you have in getting executives involved in the big decisions, keeping them talking about the digital asset management (DAM) system and program, and making this a regular, operational discussion (not just for project approval or yearly budget reviews), the greater the benefits DAM will deliver for your organization.

There is more to maintaining the DAM program than just the technology implementation — you must manage the change, and the change is ongoing. In this way, governance is the process that helps you to ensure that, when the initial phases of the DAM initiative are accomplished, you’ll have the opportunity to seek further capital and share the next generation of business valuation with executives. Assessing health in governance is one of the most telling indicators and accurate predictors of enterprise DAM success. A best practice in governance is maintaining close alliance with key users and the content steward deployed to operationalize your DAM.

People, Process, Technology ... and Content

Ultimately, governance is the structure enabling content stewardship, beginning with metadata and workflow strategy, policy development, and technology solutions to serve the creation, use and distribution of content.

Content does not emerge fully formed into the world. It is a product of people working with technology in the execution of a process.

Proper governance of information and content must include a detailed review and analysis of all factors involved in their manifestation and life cycles, including organization, workflow, rights and preservation. The governance structure establishes the strategic, operational and technical decision-making processes required to ensure the collective team excels in its mission.

DAM governance provides strategic leadership, establishes priorities and policies and is accountable and transparent to the organization. In addition, the governance standards should include a core metadata standard, proscribed workflows and, lastly, governance practices that will be carried out on an ongoing basis.

Participation from all levels of the organization is key. In particular, engaging the leadership by involving them in the big decisions, holding regular reviews and keeping them talking about DAM, will yield the greatest the benefits from DAM. However, we have reached a time in our history when we must implement governance in order to move our content into the future.

Governance is the structure around how organizations manage content creation, use and distribution.

Why Governance?

A governance program can benefit an organization because it does the following:

  1. Facilitates strategic planning and efficient decision-making.
  2. Builds a common understanding of the content and users’ technology.
  3. Provides a forum for users to advocate for their needs.
  4. Establishes clear user feedback and support channels.
  5. Grows understanding of required roles and responsibilities.
  6. Monitors data quality and ongoing value.

A Program, Not a Project

Governance helps define the rules of the road as you navigate your way through your DAM, media asset management (MAM), mobile device management (MDM) and product information management (PIM) efforts, as well as your content management system (CMS) or any content-related program. Managing content is not a temporary measure; content is not a project, it is a program.

To achieve true data governance, all of the interconnected elements must be considered. The application of these suggested organizational practices and management processes requires considerable attention at all stages and by all stakeholders. Every organization needs a way to ensure that the creation, use and distribution of information sustain the organization’s strategies and objectives. Governance is the best way to increase and expand the benefits and returns of all content. Governance is not the time for splendid isolation nor is it an opportunity for wallflowers to grow; it necessitates and demands participation and good, if not great, behavior. There can be no mind-reading in governance, no minimizing assumptions and no guessing.

Governance is no longer optional.