We are starting on a journey to information governance (IG). We have spent the last decade in eDiscovery wars, seeking out best practices through a variety of technologies. Now, with guidance from groups like the Information Governance Initiative (IGI), ARMA, Iron Mountain’s Law Firm IG symposium and the Sedona Conference, efforts are being put into creating principles for IG from a records perspective. However, the road ahead does come with its own set of challenges, according to Jason R. Baron, Co-Chair of the IGI and Of Counsel in Drinker Biddle’s Information Governance and eDiscovery practice.
Baron is leading a panel discussion at the upcoming #ARMA2014 conference on “Information Governance: Emerging Perspectives from the IGI.” I caught up with him recently to learn more about the topics his group will be discussing at his session. Here’s a quick look:
As many companies push the topic of IG to the forefront, they are also struggling to overcome some common obstacles for adoption, such as corporate buy-in, resources and understanding the overall practice of IG within the organization.
In a recent Law Technology News article, Baron compares “black swan” theory to the struggles companies face in getting corporate buy-in for IG. Typically the C-suite still discounts the risk or chance that they will have a black swan-like catastrophe. They are in the mindset that it will happen to someone else, never to them. But the reality is that catastrophes do happen and they are often not accounted for in business models.
So how do you convince someone in authority, with a C-suite title, that IG is important and needs their buy in? IG professionals should not only demonstrate the risk of not having an IG framework in place, but also the advantages of leveraging data sets for business advantage.
It’s not cost-free to deal with large volumes of data and be smart about it. That’s why it’s critical to have IG practices around managing data and records within an organization. However, it’s always a challenge to plan for the right resources and budget to effectively manage IG within an organization. According to IGI’s 2014 Annual Report, the average small-to-mid-sized organization spends $330,000 USD per IG project. Meanwhile, large organizations reported spending more than $2M USD per project. In addition, practitioners are taking on a greater variety of IG projects right now, both in SMB and in the broader enterprise.
According to the IGI, information governance is defined as “the activities and technologies that organizations employ to maximize the value of their information while minimizing associated risks and costs.” However, people have different perceptions of what exactly that means. To some, it’s analyzing records, to others it’s enterprise search, privacy or cyber security. All of these are important considerations for any organization.
4 ways to advance IG
Baron and the IGI suggest four ways to advance the cause for IG in your organization:
- Establish a leadership structure that will actively champion IG and promote organizational accountability.
- Update your policies regularly, including privacy, security, eDiscovery as repeatable processes.
- Initiate new IG initiatives by starting small. Executing on modest projects will show early success and enable you to get buy-in with key stakeholders.
- Consider data remediation to classify data as deleteable or categorizeable for a small data set. This is an easy way to show ROI and success. Avoid starting off month one with a proposal to have IG done.
Don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about other IG trends. Join Jason R. Baron and other IG industry experts for the complete session at #ARMA2014 Monday, Oct. 27 at 9:15 a.m.
Hope to see you there!
Vice President, Global Solutions, Iron Mountain