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PHOTO: Diego van Sommeren

“Good governance with good intentions serves everyone. The priority is the ongoing successful management of your DAM program.”

Governance Is Your Best Safeguard During Times of Change

Governance is the process that holds your organization’s data operations together as you seek to become truly data-driven, realize the full value of your data and content, and avoid costly missteps. To be effective, governance must be considered a holistic corporate objective, one which establishes policies, procedures and training for the management of data across the organization at all levels. 

Without governance, you may lose out on new opportunities to leverage enterprise data and your content. By developing a project charter, working committee and timelines, governance becomes an ongoing practice to deliver ROI, innovation and sustained success. While technology is important, culture will prevail, for governance is more than just change management. Governance demands a cultural presence and footprint. 

The best way to plan for change is to apply an effective layer of governance to your program.

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. Participation from all levels of the organization is key. In particular, engaging 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. We have reached a point when governance is needed to move our content into the future. 

Related Article: Governance Is No Longer Optional

People, Process, Technology … and Content

Ultimately, governance is the structure enabling content stewardship, beginning with metadata and workflow strategy, policy development, and more, as well as the 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 lifecycles of content, including organization, workflow, rights and preservation. The governance structure establishes the strategic, operational and technical decision-making process 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, prescribed workflows and lastly, governance practices that will be carried out on an ongoing basis. Lastly, start your governance council sooner rather than later, and make sure it is a cross-organizational team tasked with developing, maintaining and governing the program change.

Related Article: No One Cares About Information Governance But You

Language, Governance and Optimization

One of the best examples of change and the need for governance is in the case of language — whether when adding new words, new product names, or new meanings or connotations to the words already in use. Language is always in a state of change. It is estimated that every year, 800 neologisms (new words and phrases) are added to the English language. 

The best way to plan for future change is to apply an effective layer of metadata governance for your DAM system. There is more to maintaining the metadata than just maintaining the taxonomy and metadata specifications … you must manage the change. Vocabularies must change over time to stay relevant and therefore you need to create processes to manage this change. This is also true for new terminology being added to assets as well as synonyms and/or slang terms and more. This is how and why we receive new words such as “lolcat, twerk, woke,” and even, “askhole” … someone who asks repeated questions (no one wants to be an askhole).

Language is everywhere, meaning is everything and optimization is everlasting. A wise educator once proclaimed there is, “a place for everything and everything in its place.” This statement is not only true today but an absolute necessity where digital content competes for attention and use within a multi-channel distribution framework. To aid the process of content discovery, there needs to be an effective layer of content curation with metadata descriptions where content may be managed for specific use and distribution. The practice of that descriptive curation is best applied with metadata and taxonomy. In some situations, there may well need to be a hyper-specificity or “adjectivity,” where descriptive language is imperative to define specific content. And, in other situations, this content curation is not always a realization of the absolutes of black and white, but more often than not, a grey area where language has more options for optimization.

Related Article: Naming of Parts: What Taxonomies Bring to Enterprise Search

Get on the Governance Train

Governance is a framework to ensure program goals are met both during implementation and for the future. Ultimately, it is the only way to manage and mitigate risk. Governance can begin with a roadmap and measurement tools to ensure success of implementation during the first iteration and may then grow to become formalized into an operating model for the business.

Governance helps us define the rules of the road as you navigate your way through your DAM, MAM, MDM, PIM, CMS or any content related strategy and program. Managing content is not a temporary measure — it is ongoing, always changing. Governance is all about managing risk and sustaining ongoing value, and is needed at all stages of operations and at all levels. Governance is no longer an option.