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Governing the Infrastructure.

David A. Kelly

Do We Need Governance for Social Media?

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In this week's forum, we're discussing a great question that's particularly relevant these days--do we need IT governance for social media? Do Web 2.0 initiatives need IT governance?

Few would argue that there are basic governance issues when it comes to posting or information sharing on social media sites. But what about the other side of the equation--how should organizations moving into Web 2.0 and social media institute IT governance--or even should they?

From Andre Yee's perspective the answer is was no--at least not from an IT perspective. Phil Wainewright took the position that when it comes to social media, IT interprets 'governance' as 'prevention' and believes that most IT organizations aren't equipped to provide the type of dynamic and supportive governance that social media require.

While I understand Phil's point, I disagree. While IT governance for social media may require a different approach, today's IT organizations (and governance vendors!) should be able to provide Web 2.0-oriented governance solutions that support overall business governance concerns without completely killing social media initiatives. Social media/Web 2.0 are all just different avenues, approaches and processes for communication, feedback and business opportunities. That's why I think the question is valid, and that IT organizations at least need to be thinking about it and perhaps creating a Web 2.0 governance or social media governance strategy.


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I think this is a fantastic idea. This plan of action will be most effective in organizations that want to bake obsolescence into their business model, kill innovation, and limit their employs abilities to collaborate with others to generate innovative ideas as a means to compete in the marketplace today.

If the organization in question is in alignment with those basic ideals, then by all means I say let the square headed nonhumans who live in the IT closet unleash their power upon the organization's staff.

Perhaps the software you mention that could effectively police the employees would be a effective as the captcha below...which has errored out on me three times now...

Giovanni --

Ah, I'm glad to see you agree. It sounds like you're on-board with the plan to drive the company into the ground.

Perhaps, though, you're missing the point. I'm trying (perhaps ineffectively) to bring up the point of how IT organizations should (or could) govern social media applications and technologies--not the content that's going on to social media channels. But even in those cases, social media, just like any other corporate applications or communication mechanisms needs some type of governance strategy--even if that strategy is to do nothing!

I'm not dictating what strategy companies should have in regard to IT governance of social med

Hi, David,

As companies invest more money into social capabilities, they are finding it difficult to balance the promise of social media empowerment with the reality of business accountability because (1) multiple functions have to be involved -- marketing, IT, Product, P&L owners -- and (2) lots of people want to own it. As a result, many of the companies I've spoken with find tremendous benefit in a framework for defining metrics, business cases and investments in cross-business-unit capabilities such as security and compliance management.

I originally published my framework here, and I'd love to hear your thoughts:


The security of company networks are at stake but the potential for innovation using social media is a large enough carrot for the discussion of how to properly utilize the medium continues. Policy and restrictions are being decided everyday by companies/IT managers and software is being developed to keep networks secure. Palo Alto Networks has developed an insightful and useful whitepaper which offers information about identifying and controlling Enterprise 2.0 apps Facebook, Twitter, Skype, etc.): http://bit.ly/d2NZRp

Let me know what you think.

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David A. Kelly's blog explores how organizations can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of their business processes and IT infrastructure through proper governance.

David A. Kelly

David A. Kelly is a monthly columnist and Blogger for ebizQ. View more


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