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Governance models

No single, perfect model of governance exists. When creating governance policies for your organization, you should consider your organization’s needs, resources, and goals. This planning will help you decide which model of governance–centralized, decentralized, or hybrid–best serves your organization’s needs.

Decentralized model of governance

In a decentralized governance model, value independence over shared resources. Each brand works independently, with separate teams, budgets, technologies, strategies, and capabilities–with little sharing of resources or tools.

The following diagram demonstrates a decentralized governance model, where each brand has access to its own digital team, agency, and support structure:

Decentralized governance diagram

A decentralized approach excels in creating highly flexible sites with significant brand-specific and market-specific customizations. Decentralized governance provides a faster time-to-market in the short term; however, it runs the risk of siloed development and inconsistent standards hindering shared development of resources in the long term. Brands with fewer resources may struggle to innovate in a decentralized model if they can’t access the development resources of brands with more resources.

Centralized model of governance

In a centralized governance model, common tooling and experiences are valued over brand independence. While a centralized governance model can keep costs low, centralized governance can come at the expense of a cookie-cutter experience across brands, with little opportunity for customization or localization, because the central organization decides on a unified set of tools. A centralized model provides strong and focused governance in industries requiring high regulatory oversight.

The following diagram shows a centralized governance model, where every brand receives access to the same corporate and digital resources:

Centralized governance diagram

A centralized approach excels at reducing costs and time-to-market while emphasizing consistency of brand and message, but a lack of flexibility for brand or niche markets may create generic and negatively perceived market experiences.

Hybrid model of governance

The hybrid model of governance allows for sharing resources and tools while providing flexibility when needed. Common processes gather information about the brands’ needs, and building features supporting the majority of the brands’ common needs. The goal is to build a model efficiently leveraging resources, and tools to drive innovation at a lower cost.

The following diagram demonstrates a hybrid governance model, where brands access centralized corporate direction with flexibility to add the direction as appropriate for their brand:

Hybrid governance diagram

A hybrid approach to governance ensures defining organization-wide goals and priorities, but also ensures flexibility, giving brands the opportunity to innovate. Hybrid governance requires greater coordination across brands than a centralized model of governance, resulting in a longer time-to-market. It provides features designed to support the most common requirements of brands and markets, while sacrificing some flexibility in a more decentralized model of governance.

In the following documentation, you will learn more about Designing your content architecture.