For the shortest month of the year, February sure packs a lot of celebrations into its 28 (or 29) days: Black History Month, Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, and Family Day (in Canada). Now you can add February 20th to your calendar as Global Information Governance Day (GIGD).
Information Governance (IG) seems to be everywhere I look lately. Just this month alone we’ve seen the establishment of the Information Governance Initiative, a group of IG pros coming together to help take the guess-work out of (IG) for practitioners, and the release of the 2014 Cohasset/ARMA/AIIM Information Governance Benchmark Survey Report (formerly the “Records Management & Governance of ESI” report), a comprehensive study of records and information governance practices at more than 1300 organizations. And ARMA just recently invited the industry to join its first ever IG Conference in April.
What are we celebrating? Information Governance is about collaboration amongst key stakeholders – records and information management (RIM), Legal, IT, Security and Privacy, and individual business lines — to meet regulatory and operational demands, reduce costs, and uncover value from their information within a framework of accountability. Truly something to celebrate!
It’s that last bit in particular – the value of information – that is inserting itself into the IG conversation today. Competitive and market pressures are driving businesses like yours to seek an advantage anywhere you can. One such opportunity comes from leveraging large volumes of information to increase market share, drive revenue, and maintain a competitive advantage. This extends to all facets of the organization, from customer care, collaboration, employee mobility, data mining and analytics, Big Data, sales, and more. Knowing what information you have, why it’s important, and how it can be used to further your business goals can deliver on this, creating what we call an “information advantage.”
So where should you start? There’s no such thing as shrink-wrapped “IG in a box” found on the shelf at your local office superstore. No two organizations are alike, so you need to create your own “ideal” structure that fits your situation today and prepares you for the future. You’ll need to consider your individual organization’s culture, state of maturity, risk profile, current functional orientation, advocacy level, and information needs.
Fundamental to your success is the identification of your advocates; those in your organization who can provide guidance and oversight. Look to global senior leaders in critical Information Governance functions – RIM, IT, Legal, Compliance, Security and Privacy, Data Office, and certain business lines – to be your IG Council. This group is responsible for approving the IG strategy, developing its operating procedures, providing guidance about technology and standards, assisting in the securing of funds, and advocating the business value of IG at the “C-Suite” and Board levels of the organization.
Finally, you’ll need an executive sponsor, a champion, to bring it all together. He or she should be someone within or close to the “C Suite”, such as the CIO, Data Officer, or General Counsel, who has both the professional expertise and profile to help your IG program thrive. Without this sponsorship, an IG program may be overlooked or undervalued by employees.
Now let’s celebrate! Use today to reflect on your particular corporate culture and how IG fits in. Think about how you can influence the construction of your own IG Council that strikes the correct balance of membership, participation, and collaboration. These early steps can start you on the path towards elevating your RIM program to embody all that IG stands for – stronger regulatory compliance, reduced risk and cost, and the realization of your information advantage.
Coming soon, Iron Mountain’s exclusive “Practical Guide to Information Governance,” a manual with proven practices to start building your own IG program.