Digital Transformation Governance Success Factors

Rob Llewellyn By Rob Llewellyn

Digital Transformation Governance Success Factors

digital transformation governanceThe topic of digital transformation governance is far from the technical topics of social media, mobile, analytics, embedded devices, etc, but without the right governance, even the finest teams of technical talent and healthy budgets are likely to suffer similar pains to those experienced by the BBC digital transformation we wrote about recently, where it was revealed that:
1. The governance structure was not effective in dealing with the transformation's complexity;
2. Corporate Governance bodies were not provided with a clear view of the transformation status;
3. The lack of an integrated assurance plan reduced the governance effectiveness in managing risk.
Without well constructed digital governance, chaos, confusion and political collusion, can hinder the effort from start to finish. We expect effective governance to be in place for functions such as HR and finance, and similarly transformation leaders have a responsibility to do the same across their initiatives. Expecting things to go well using anything less than adequate governance puts the entire initiative at risk.
So how do you establish good digital transformation governance?
If your organisation is already practicing professional programme and/or portfolio management, the chances are that you already have the right people with the right capabilities to help ensure your digital transformation governance is well designed.
We recently attended the “Governance for Digital Transformation” event run by the CIO Executive Council, where George Westerman of MIT Sloan and Sanjay Saraf, Senior VP and CTO of Western Union Digital, were the main speakers. Ten of the critical success factors for digital governance which came out of that event included:

  • Clear digital decision-making roles
  • Mutual Business and IT activity; often CIO enables, and a CXO leads
  • Operates at the right pace
  • Funding model recognises different types of investment, not one-size-fits-all
  • Monitors and “pulls plug” on failing initiatives early
  • Process ensures all elements, not just technology, are considered before funding happens
  • Clear measures of expected value and how it will be counted
  • Business leads are accountable for the results
  • Process examines actual vs. expected outcomes
  • Clear exception process

In their Leading Digital book, George Westerman and his co-authors Andrew McAfee and Didier Bonnet dedicate a good proportion of their content to digital governance. They suggest three key areas receive careful consideration when creating a custom governance framework  for digital transformation, which are: Governance Committees, Digital Leadership Roles, and Shared Digital Units.
Jay Snyder is EMC's Senior Vice President of Global Alliances and you can read his experience of transformation governance here.

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With over 20 years helping managers and leaders generate commercial value from technology, Rob Llewellyn is dedicated to helping the new breed of digital economy professionals write the next digital economy success stories.

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