Published on August 7th, 2020 | by Scott Young


Why your CRM System Needs Content Governance

Most businesses, regardless of their size, need a dependable Customer Relationship Management tool. The market is flooded with CRM tools for different requirements. In general, CRM tools are powerful information management platforms that effectively manage, sort, and store customer information. They also act as document repositories for different types of valuable market content.

The key word here is content. With so much of it floating around, you need a solid system to manage and protect it. CRM tools at their best are an important resource to control the lifeblood of a modern organization—information. At their worst, they can fall victim to significant failure due to lack of governance.

Scott Young, CEO of Penncomp, an IT support Houston company, says it best, “The governance area establishes risk oversight and sets up operating structures.”

One of the challenges of using CRM systems is getting uniformity and consistency in user behavior. If you don’t do this, you can quickly lose control. Companies soon find that user adoption is only the first hurdle. Without good content management, it can become a free-for-all.

What Is content governance?

Content governance is a system of agreed policies, procedures and processes for handling the shared resource. These policies should designate the roles and responsibilities for access rights and action rights.

Information is key to the modern organization. We create vast amounts of documents and communications every day. Managing and harnessing this information must be deliberately planned. Every firm needs to take this seriously, as even the smallest organization faces compliance and regulation requirements.

Why is content governance needed?

If your CRM tool is not being used consistently and correctly, it can become unmanageable. With so many different users accessing the system together, any deviation from agreed rules can become problematic very quickly. Administrators are all too familiar with the following tell-tale signs:

Unmanageable content – Everyone creates their own content and folders until they become unmanageable.

Organizational infighting – This is bound to happen when there are no clearly defined roles and responsibilities about who has access, creation, and deletion rights.

Bad adoption – When there is internal resistance and lack of training, adoption is affected as users fear change.

IT at the forefront – If your IT department is constantly working on short term fixes in the system, it can create the perception that IT controls the CRM tool. This never ends well.

Operational inefficiency and frustration – If the infrastructure is poorly managed and administered, you can be sure that major inefficiency follows.

Risk of downtime – Some systems are so badly managed that the organization needs a complete reset. If organizational leadership decides to put the CRM on ice until they reset, this leads to downtime.

What should go into a content governance plan?

The needs of every business are different. Company size, document sensitivity, and document volume will all have an impact on your content governance plan. Creating a Governance Committee is a good idea. When you create it, think about the following points:

1. Authority levels

When you appoint site owners, it’s important for them to know what authority levels they have to create and access sites. Get your brightest minds to be a part of this. Scott Young, CEO of Penncomp, an IT consulting Houston company, puts it well, “Attracting, developing and retaining skilled personnel to operate the systems is important.”

2. Content hierarchy methods

There should be a clear directive to the hierarchy of created sites. This will avoid the potential for site confusion.

3. Security and permissions

It makes sense to have agreed rules on security and permissions. Staff should not only know which areas they cannot access, but why.

4. Rules of navigation

Any resource with non-standard navigation can be very frustrating. So much time can be lost by users trying to find their way around.

5. Guidelines on sharing

Staff need to be very careful when sharing documents. Reckless sharing can lead to costly mistakes, especially when sharing information externally. It can also expose the company to security risks.

6. Branding norms

Branding owners get very frustrated when observe company-approved branding guidelines. It’s important to be clear your approved branding for external communications.

7. New employee onboarding

As new people join the company, it is important to have an onboarding plan in place. Previous CRM experience shouldn’t entitle new users to skip onboarding.

8. Escalation map

It is always a good idea to have a clear escalation process for when confusion sets in. An authority matrix will help clear up any misunderstanding that users might encounter.

9. Third-party installations

Third-party tools can subject your network to security and performance risk. Something as seemingly harmless as installing a third-party grammar checker can be a bad idea.

Content governance best practices

Whenever you review your content governance plan, the right people need to be at the table.

1. Have a wide array of users

Your Committee can sail toward the rocks if the right people are not at the table. Having too many leaders at the table will leave you light on system experience. Equally, having to many ordinary users will create a forum that does not have the power to make decisions.

2. Set clear review periods

Some of the worst IT crises come after periodic reviews have been ignored or taken lightly. Your Governance Committee needs to meet at agreed times, and attendance should be paramount.

3. Share your findings

Even though only designated people can sit in the meeting, the findings should not be kept private. Make a point of publicizing the key points of the meeting far and wide.


Content governance is not a once-off activity. Be sure to keep as much energy and interest around in content governance during maintenance periods as there is at launch periods.

Today’s organizations are constantly changing. Your content governance plan needs to have the flexibility to change depending on new behaviors and habits among users. You should make sure to have training repetition and progress reviews built in to guarantee your success.

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About the Author

Scott Young, is the president of PennComp LLC, an IT Services Houston company. Being a CPA, Six Sigma Master Blackbelt, Change Management Certified and Myers Briggs Qualified, Scott's expertise is reflected in PennComp as a leading IT company for computer services and network integration. PennComp utilizes Six Sigma methodologies and practices in their service delivery and offers state-of-the-art monitoring and management tools to their clients.

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