The cloud is here to stay. The benefits and value of cloud applications and storage cannot be ignored. That said, this existence of information, content, and knowledge beyond an organization’s traditional on-premises data stores presents special challenges to the governance program.
Using external sources for information creates a lack of direct control and also challenges the visibility into the data source. Ensuring privacy, confidentiality, availability, integrity, and security of data, content, and knowledge becomes more difficult. Additionally, there is an added complexity in the harmonization and integration of multiple sources that are potentially semantically inconsistent.
All of this impacts the trust in and the reusability of the information, content and knowledge, which, for governance, directly impacts one of its critical success factors – ensuring and preserving the trustworthiness and usability of these assets. Further complicating the situation is that adopting these solutions no longer requires IT involvement, or even its awareness. This means there is potential for “shadow IT” and significant overlap and redundancy in the overall information architecture.
This lack of organizational control furthers the imperative for a robust and business-focused governance program, but the governance model must be able to adjust to this new paradigm and ensure it is a facilitator in the adoption of these solutions – not a barrier.
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In order for a governance program to survive and thrive in this environment, it must adapt its approach, decision rights, processes, rules, and controls to recognize and accept these new sources. Collaboration and a business orientation are critical. Placing the program on the business side and ensuring that both ownership and stewardship are business-driven will mitigate the “shadow IT” problem and will increase the visibility of all cloud usage across the enterprise.
Governance will need to establish components related to governing cloud vendors to ensure the identification, procurement, and deployment of these products are visible and aligned with the larger strategic needs of the enterprise. Finally, governance will need to establish the appropriate rules and processes for focusing upon harmonization and integration across disparate sources and emphasize the resolution of conflicts.
For cloud to be successful, there must be a reinforcement – not a relegation – of the enterprise’s governance practice. That is the message that must be carried to an organization’s leadership.
This blog was co-authored by Mark Steinbacher and Priyal Patel.
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