Finding Your Organization's Digital Policy Steward

Security and data breach. Branding. Trademarks and copyrights. Social media usage. Search engine optimization. Digital marketing content ownership. Who in your organization is thinking about these issues hollistically?

Kristina Podnar
June 10, 2017

Security and data breach. Branding. Trademarks and copyrights. Social media usage. Search engine optimization. Digital marketing content ownership. These are all issues that someone needs to be thinking about on a regular basis at your organization. Doing so will keep your business’ online presence aligned with the organization’s goals and make sure you don’t face online embarrassments, lawsuits, fines, or regulatory sanctions.

The topics listed above are what I call digital policies. The official guidance on such policies should be initiated by an authoritative individual in your organization. But who should you nominate to this role of digital policy steward for your organization? A good digital policy steward should have the following key qualities:

  • Knowledge of why and how digital is important to the business’ success
  • Proficiency in legal and regulatory issues that may impact the business — positively or negatively
  • Ability to initiate and facilitate conversations with digital subject matter experts around what position the organization should take on a particular aspect of digital
  • Knack for developing a program to educate and mentor digital workers on balancing digital exploitation and risk to the organization
  • Capability to develop and execute methods to measure and track compliance to established digital guidance
  • Proficiency at translating policy adoption challenges into business requirements to enable and support digital workers in addressing online operations that are out of compliance with the digital guidance provided by policies

Based on my years of consulting with organizations across varied industries, the digital policy steward in your organization ought to be in an authoritative or managerial position. The responsibility can be delegated to someone like the senior member of the digital center of excellence, the marketing team, or in-house legal counsel.

Consider the above attributes and what the most appropriate role in your organization is to own this important digital job. If you find that you have several options — or not enough — you might be weighing the decision based on an individual personality rather than a role. In other words, don’t mistake the personality of an individual with the competency filled by an individual in a specific job function.

The key to finding the organization’s digital policy steward is to focus on aligning the above capabilities to a role in the organization, rather than a specific individual. This translates into having a consistently supported digital integrity program, without the dependency on an individual and their personality which may serve you in the short term. In the long run, that individual may choose to leave the company with it a digital policy void.

Still struggling to figure out the right person for the digital policy steward role? Need an unbiased outside hand in getting the digital policy steward role established for your business? Tell me a little about your challenge and we can figure out a way to solve the problem.

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