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Digital Governance

Where digital innovation is taking over the world in a speedy manner, it’s time for companies as well to create a new digital framework. One such term that is often heard in the news is Digital Governance (DG). It is a trend which is gaining momentum in many countries. Let us understand below the meaning and implication of this term.


Companies today often think that conventional governance and digital innovation cannot go hand in hand. Where digital innovation needs to move at a fast pace, they think governance, which is about a lot of processes, will slow things down. However, they are also aware of the fact that digital transformation is impossible without a smart governance framework. Because without a proper definition of the roles and boundaries, many areas such as decision-making and accountability will be left unaddressed and will increase the probability of disputes in the future. This is where DG comes into the picture.

Digital presence includes websites, a company’s social media handles and all other web-enabled and related products and services. DG is a well-defined procedure that has accountability as its foundation and is a framework of governance established for a corporate’s digital presence. DG is about creating the best digital strategies, digital policies and digital standards.

Peppard & Ward in “The Strategic Management of Information Systems: Building a Digital Strategy” defines DG as “It is concerned with promoting consistent and coherent decision-making behaviour across an organisation regarding Information Systems (IS) and Information Technology (IT) to maximise the value the organisation derives from IS/IT.” A carved DG framework provides a clear stance on which individuals will be responsible for decision-making, concerning distinct digital areas like design, content, platform or any other digital initiative.


A company running without governance is like a body functioning without a soul. Similarly, digital development without DG is ineffective and unacceptable. DG rules out uncertainties in digital development. Where roles and responsibilities are set out explicitly, it leaves no room for ambiguity and thus augments the process of digital transformation. It saves time as well as money. There remains no confusion as regards the decision-making authority for various digital matters. A sense of unity and co-operation prevails amongst the team members.

DG fosters collaboration with the outside world. It becomes a driving factor behind digital partnerships. DG streamlines efforts in the right direction. It improves the brand experience. It encourages the use of the latest trend and technology. The priorities are set straight with the integration of DG and the focus is thus distributed rightly.

Components of DG

Strategy- An organisation should first assess the stage of its digital maturity. This will ease the process of defining the end goal of digital business and strategy to reach the business ambition. The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) should be defined. This will help the organisation to build an efficient roadmap and gain insights into capital allocation, engagement and operations shall also be obtained. It also validates the process as being in the right direction. It narrows down the most important tasks out of the many tasks that are laid down on the table in digital development. It builds a connection between the goals of digital business and the drivers behind the contributors of the results.

A programme manager who understands the vision could be appointed and can create multiple project plans keeping the success metrics in the background before the organisation finalises the best. The success metrics that a programme manager should ideally consider are resource planning, strategic partnerships and alliances, long-term growth, risk management, decision-making process, compliance, vendor management and strengths of the organisation. Automation in the processes should be incorporated as much as possible. An important aspect of risk management in DG is to be ready with a change management strategy. Unplanned situations and circumstances are inevitable in any business model and the governance framework should be such that the organisation is prepared to deal with such issues. Thus, a plan should be ready in the event if things do not work out as planned or if unforeseen circumstances arise.

Communication- After the making of impressive strategies, communicating these strategies to the right set of people should be the next task in DG. Awareness and education on these strategies should be appropriately communicated to achieve digital transformation goals.

Implementation- This forms an integral step of every governance framework. After the relevant DG strategies are clocked, it is time to implement the DG framework. A digital committee consisting of stakeholders could be instituted to act as a watchdog of the DG strategies. The committee would ensure that all the action plans as approved in the strategies are effectively being implemented in a timely manner.

Enforcement programme- After implementation, an enforcement programme should also be built. It includes training personnel from distinct backgrounds, personnel management and risk identification. Implementing a DG strategy or framework is not a one-time thing. It is a recurring need. As the digital business will keep on expanding, DG will increasingly become a success guarantor.


DG is not only for organisations but all entities including the Government can also benefit from it. For instance, DG has been the talk of Indian constitutional assemblies recently. They are planning to integrate DG for digital strategies, policy formulation and implementation. The dream of Digital India transformation is being exercised through e-governance. DG is the modern need of the continuously evolving digital world. It should be embraced by all entities to ensure smooth functioning and the success of their digital presence.

You can learn more about this topic by opting for our recognised courses — ESG Expert Certification from Directors’ Institute- World Council of Directors.

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