Three Simple Questions to Ask about your Content Governance

By Jeff Shuey posted 12-18-2013 13:51


If you work for or own a business you are creating content every day. You are also receiving content every day. Within the content there is metadata being generated both by people and by the systems themselves. Purchase Orders, Contracts, RFP’s, receipts, safety documents, leases, expense reports, and the list goes on an on. What’s important? Which are needed for accounting? For sales? For legal?

How do you decide what you need to keep? And for how long?

For some content the answer is easy … the government tells you. If you work for a company the answer is also easy. Or it should be. The company will have policies in place for content governance.  Of they should. The risks are high for not managing content properly.

How many people know if their company has a Content Governance program?

How many people care?

The answer for this second question is relevant because the answer should be … almostNo One! When done right Content Governance is transparent to the end users.

Here are three simple questions to ask yourself to start thinking about the impact of Content Governance on your business.

Content is The Lifeblood of the Business

Three Simple Questions about Content Governance

  1. Is my information secure?
    • Meaning is your content that defines, describes and documents how your business operates protected.
    • Are you sure?
    • Really sure? 
  2. Can I produce records if compelled by a court of law?
  3. Could I restart or relocate my business quickly if a catastrophic event occurred?

These questions are not intended to strike fear into anyone. Rather they are intended to get people thinking about their business and specifically about the people, processes and technologies that comprise the business. And to consider this content for what it is ... The Lifeblood of the business.

What do I mean by content?

Every business has three things that make them go, that make them unique, that provide the reasons why customers keep coming to them.

They are ... In order of most important first:

  • People
  • Process
  • Technology

People are the critical component of every business. People create processes.Processes define and describe the business. Technology underlies the people and the processes. Technology is absolutely important and because it is always changing needs to be managed effectively.(think Technical Governance).

Helping people to Create, Control and Document processes 
through the use of technology is the Holy Grail.

People (and oftentimes technologies) are always creating content. That content needs to be stored somewhere, secured somehow and shredded sometime.


  • Contracts, sales orders, agreements, receipts, etc.
  • Insurance claims processes, MSDS procedures, factory startup procedures. etc.
  • Automated transactions, password reminders are automated tasks. Also sensors are everywhere - gathering info and sometimes reacting to the inputs.

People and technology are creating data and metadata every day and in every way imaginable. Some might be irrelevant, but who decides?

The Microsoft Play in Content Governance

Content and the way to capture, manage and control it span the Big Four Microsoft Megatrends. Content also allows for the concept of Managed Big Data to become a reality ... Across Microsoft and any other platforms that your systems use. WhereMicrosoft SharePoint can be used to achieve it’s ultimate destiny as a place to Surface Data.


By other systems I mean legacy platforms which may include any of The Big Three ECM players. Each may be playing an active role in Content Governance. Each may be used to create, consume or respond to “content triggers” within the business processes that have been created to run the business.

How is Content Governance is different than Technical Governance? 
This will be covered in follow-on posts with a few collaborators & guest authors.

When done right Content Governance is transparent to the end users.

The key point is that Content Governance can make or break your business. When done right it is easy to use, easy to manage and easy to adapt to your ever changing business needs. Those changes can come in the form of new government regulations, new markets being targeted, acquisitions or divestitures and a whole host of other business altering scenarios. Having confidence in the overall Content Governance strategy allows the people to create and adapt processes using existing and new technologies to drive the business forward.

What do you think?

  • Is Content Governance part of your business planning efforts?
  • Can you answer the Three Simple Questions with confidence?
  • Has your business been impacted by good (or poor) Content Governance?

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