When consulting clients with new technology, we highly suggest that each platform has a steering committee to help guide progress and provide governance.

The steering committee isn't just responsible for high-level strategic planning, so choosing the suitable composition of members can make or break the delivery of your long-term vision for the platform.

Here's what your steering committee should be responsible for, how to choose the right team members, and how to get started.

Responsibilities of the Steering Committee

Advising on Strategic Vision

The steering committee is responsible for directing the strategy of the technology platform given the other strategic organizational goals.

For example, suppose an organizational goal is to move from several task-specific tools to a more centralized enterprise-level platform. In that case, this committee should be evaluating ways in which the particular platform could fill the needs that some of the smaller third-party apps are covering.

Or, if the company is moving to cloud-based applications rather than maintaining on-premises servers, decisions related to the current platform should be focused on a cloud-first approach.

It's also the committee's responsibility to review all user feedback and suggestions, determine whether or not to act upon that feedback, and provide any necessary follow-up communications to close the loop with the user.

Master Data Management

The second most crucial aspect of the steering committee is related to master data. Where system integrations are concerned, the team needs to evaluate the system of record decisions, one-way versus two-way syncs, and real-time versus batch updates.

Additional rules related to duplicate detection, naming conventions, building the best record and retention policies should also be discussed and documented.

Security

While the steering committee isn't responsible for security setup and administration tasks, they should understand how security is architected.

The team should ensure that the system administrators have documented the security architecture and have clear rules for onboarding and offboarding new users.

There should also be a degree of governance to determine if/when the architecture needs changes.

Governance

Governing the documented MDM and Security items can be the most challenging aspect of a healthy technology platform.

The team should clearly define who is responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed (RACI) for each rule. Discuss and document how each item will be evaluated and reported.

Communications Plans

During the initial technology implementation, proactive communication is vital as enhancements and features launch throughout its life cycle.

The steering committee should ensure a good communication plan at the start of each year to proactively communicate:

  • new features and enhancements
  • testing or training
  • needed upgrades
  • scheduled system downtime
  • solicited feedback

Training Plans and Ongoing Coaching

An initial implementation always warrants onboarding training. However, training should be considered a program rather than a task and be ongoing as new features and enhancements are released, and an upgrade or break-fix occurs.

Provide ongoing coaching to leaders to ensure they know how to support their employees and gain the most value from the platform for their role within the company.

Now that you are aware of the steering committee's responsibilities let's dive into how to get one started.

Selecting your Committee

The steering committee membership should not be static. A couple of key players should remain onboard for staple positions and continuity purposes. However, the rest of the membership should rotate out at least annually. The chairs around the table should include the following.

  • Organizational leadership
  • IT representation
  • System administration representation
  • User representation

Depending on the size of your organization, leadership may be 1-3 seats and maybe C-level or mid-level. These seats should have prevued into organizational strategy and represented the larger leadership team.

There needs to be a sampling of leadership, mid-level, and front-line users concerning the users. The expertise at the table should vary from long-tenured, tech-savvy to a newbie, tech adverse, and any combination in between.

More representation equals a clearer image of how a platform is running. You'll also have a set of early evangelist adopters who can spread the good word to their peers and provide the first line of defense for user questions.

Finally, if you're working with a technology implementation partner, don't forget about them. They should advise you on enhancements, architecture, security, MDM, governance, training, adoption, and long-term vision and planning.

Getting Started with Your Committee

Charter

Once you have the team selected, pull together the team charter. It should outline the team members, how frequently they will be evaluated and reassigned. Also, the mission of this team, the rules of engagement, the responsibilities, and how often they will meet.

Agenda

Next, you should establish the team's agenda for each meeting. Initially, this team should plan at least 2 hours for each session. A sample outline is below:

  1. Introduce new team members
  2. Share positive or negative headlines related to the platform (add negative items to the issue list for discussion)
  3. Share any KPIs, ROI metrics, etc.
  4. Recap any to-dos from the last meeting (add incomplete tasks to the issues list for discussion)
  5. Review the status of any enhancement projects (add any issues to the issues list for discussion)
  6. Discuss any new MDM or governance items and/or review any cadences that are due for review
  7. Work through any issues identified - make sure there are clearly defined owners and due dates to any decisions made
  8. Recap assignments and adjourn

Establish and Document Processes

If not already established, one of the very first tasks for the committee is to establish and document any Master Data Management and Governance rules and the Enhancement Approval and User Feedback Processes.

On the heels of these items, the team should focus on the upcoming year's communication and training plans based upon the approved enhancement projects.

Structure Creates Success

By creating rigor around the team's responsibilities, the frequency it meets, the agenda it follows, and the persons filling the seats, the steering committee can aid in the overall success in executing an organization's long-term technology roadmap.

Without this structure, the platform is often overcomplicated, under-utilized, and abandoned by users because of their overlooked voices and needs.

Do you need help establishing a steering committee for your CRM or M365 platforms? Contact C5 Insight today!