The Difference Between Operational and Enterprise Governance

The Difference Between Operational and Enterprise Governance

By Becky Weaver on Friday, March 13, 2015


Governance is an essential part of your institution, but is your current methodology as beneficial and productive as it could be? Nothing is perfect, but when your board, president, administrators and faculty are on the same page, the possibilities for your institution are endless.

For those unfamiliar with the intricacies of governance, let’s more closely examine two of its most important pillars: operational and enterprise.

Operational Governance

Think of this as the operations that are employed throughout your institution, or as the funnels that direct your students toward success and your employees toward their goals.

Operational governance is the mechanism that allows you to turn your strategic plan into concrete, actionable, and measurable results. This is the same mechanism that has the capability to ensure the effective use of your limited resources in service toward your institutional goals.

A vital facet of the operational governance mechanism is communication. If best practices, decisions and the strategy behind them, are not propagated across your campus to all key stakeholders, and there isn’t any follow-through to ensure your staff is executing on these, then the whole operation falls apart.

Operational governance enables your institution to avoid the common pitfalls many institutions of higher learning encounter along the way.

Enterprise Governance

Enterprise governance incorporates board governance, and shared governance with faculty, as well as operational governance executed at the cabinet-level. Why is it so important in higher education? It provides a forum for stakeholders to mold the discussions that eventually turn into your institution’s policies and practices.

For example, with enterprise governance, there’s a means for your chief financial officer to interject his or her concerns over resource allocation, revenue and balance sheets into the broader conversation about your school’s future.

Similarly, for student-affairs officers, enterprise governance amplifies their voices, bringing more attention to the day-to-day lives of students and the challenges they face. Perhaps most important for students is that this process increases the number of parties accountable and responsible for students’ success.

How can you ensure that both of these foundational governance models take hold within your institution? Consider Ellucian Management Consulting Services, which can provide the expertise you need to build sustainable operational and enterprise governance. And read through our e-book Operational Governance Within Reach for an in-depth look into both forms of governance.

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