Governance & Process, Leadership, Strategy & Decision-making

Why you need a global “company Net steering committee”

…… Part of The Basics series. First published in May 2008 ……

I’ve recently come across several cases where companies could have saved money and time if they had a global “Company Net Steering Committee” in place.

By “global” I mean one that has representatives from all parts and key functions of the organisation. By “company net” I mean with a scope encompassing intranet, internet and all online initiatives.

Several global companies have noticed that some solution providers are approaching their different entities around the world trying to sell their solutions on a country basis. In a couple of these cases, a sale is made to the country in spite of the fact that the global group had already purchased the technology.

The problem was twofold:

1. The group did not know that the country had a need

2. The country did not know that the group had already acquired the solution.

Another example is a case where a team from corporate IT had developed an interesting idea and carried it to the point of a proof of concept. When they presented it to a larger forum of intranet managers, they put up a slide intending to be reassuring. The slide explained that their new concept did not affect the intranet, nor the portal, nor the current collaborative solution. However, it did touch on these things. They had intended to define their scope so that the intranet managers would realise that the new “thing” was different and was not intended to overlap with their areas of responsibility, the intranets.

The problem here is that it should have not just overlapped, but also been co-ordinated with the intranet and integrated into the intranet. It should not have been handled as a separate project.

Here, similar to the first case – a twofold reason:

1. Corporate IT team was not fully aware of the intranet scope

2. The intranet managers were not aware of on-going IT initiatives.

Both examples would probably have been handled better if a global Company Net steering group existed. Even a lower level Company Net co-ordination team whose role is to simply update each other on on-going work, needs and ideas could have foreseen the potential conflicts and waste of time and money.

In both cases, all parties had good intentions, believed they were doing what was best for users, and certainly did not intend to waste resources or create user confusion.