11 April 2014

You Saw It Here First: Information Governance Moves Beyond "Buzzword"

Next Monday and Tuesday, over 100 executives, attorneys, technologists, information governance professionals, and other luminaries will convene at Amelia Island (FL) for the first Executive Conference on Information Governance, co-sponsored by ARMA International and The Sedona Conference.

This phenomenon means Information Governance is becoming operational, that is:  IG is moving from trendy-buzzword to best practices offering significant benefits.

The goal, according to Sedona, is to answer:
  1. Who are the stakeholders who must be at the IG table? 
  2. What is the value proposition for IG? 
  3. How can different IG professionals work with -- and not against -- each other? 
  4. How can leaders reconcile conflicting legal, social, and organizational cultures? 
  5. How will new government regulations affect IG programs? 
  6. How will technology help build an IG infrastructure? 
  7. What will be the IG’s challenges, and how can they be met?

Here, “stakeholder” is a usefully ambiguous term because the functional areas that benefit from IG vary by organization.

Since IG depends on getting variant professionals to coordinate, it depends on direction from the highest levels of an organization.  I have seen, sometimes in the same firm:

  • The CIO says, “Storage is cheap.”
  • General Counsel says, “Keep everything, forever, just to be safe.”
  • The eDiscovery attorney says, “eDiscovery is expensive and imprecise.”
  • The Records Manager says, “I may not be able to keep already-10-year old electronic documents viable while litigation goes on for a decade.”
  • The Compliance Officer knows that records from social media and mobile apps are unmanaged
  • The CFO sees the cost of information management sabotaging profits

Coordinating this is a Herculean task.  That’s why the “Executive” in the conference title is key.  Someone (or some group) at an organization’s highest level needs to declare that IG is a top priority.  The IG stakeholders need to be more than a group – they need to be a team.

Paraphrasing Sedona’s questions, I offer these challenges to conference attendees:
  •  Define “Information Governance” in a way that is meaningful and accurate for all the stakeholders
  •  Identify the synergies that effective IG brings
  •  Build the business case for IG, based on harvested synergies
  •  Establish a glossary or lexicon so stakeholders can communicate effectively 
  •  Identify technology needs to guide and encourage software developers

When conference goers return to their organizations, they will need to establish an IG team or strengthen an existing one.  The shape and structure of their teams may vary widely, each being unique and appropriate.

The challenges are hard, but the potential rewards are great.  Today’s world is too demanding for organizations to indulge in internal competition, fiefdoms, or fractiousness.  Synergy is the way to success, and Information Governance is a great source for synergy.

Watch for my first report from the Conference, to be posted as early as Monday night.

No comments:

Post a Comment