System Ownership


Here is a draft policy:

Every system has an Owner.
This is the person who is responsible for:

  1. Defining how the system is used.
  2. Defining who is responsible for entering what into the system, including maintenance of static data.
  3. Arranging training for users of the system.
  4. Defining security levels and providing access to everyone in the Group who requires it.
  5. Managing the relationship with the supplier, including negotiating prices.
  6. Proposing any expenditure on the system (including upgrades, extensions, extra licences) to a budget-holder.
  7. Deciding on the timing of any upgrades or abandonments.
  8. Notifying users of temporary and permanent problems with the system.
  9. Reporting to Senior Management on issues both with the system per se, and with the data in it.
Certain very large systems may have a committee which shares some of this burden but there is always one individual who is the main point of contact.
Much of the actual execution may be delegated (internally or externally) but responsibility cannot be delegated.
IT have a crucial role to play in advising on the technical requirements of systems (just as Finance do on the purchasing and accounting for a Fixed Asset), and in implementing decisions, but they are Owners only of fundamental systems, E.g. telephones, email, file storage.
If the Owner of a system leaves the Group then that person’s manager becomes the Owner until the responsibility is reassigned.

If you do not currently have such a policy, what (if anything) would change if you did implement this.
Hopefully greater clarify about responsibilities, and fewer snafus.
Exactly how this works for very large systems involves more detail, but as a preparation for those conversations it is useful to get the basic idea above understood and agreed.

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