August 27, 2015

A Practical Approach to Information Governance

4 minute read
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According to a recent survey conducted by Cohasset Associates, ARMA International and AIIM; the majority of organizations (87% overall; 95% of large organizations) have a records and information management program. Despite the varied options that exist, however, many of these organizations are still struggling to govern information effectively.

A PPT (People, Process, Technology) strategy has been tossed around by industry experts and makes a ton sense in solving the information governance sprawl.

Let’s discuss how applying this strategy aids in the proper approach to information governance.

People

First, you must engage key stakeholders to bring the right people to the table. Key stakeholders can include: Information Technology, Records Management, Privacy, Security, Legal, Human Resources, Finance, etc.

Next, you must understand how people currently use information in your organization. Some of the ways to gather this include: interviews, surveys and possibly even informational lunch and learn sessions. In our experience, the latter has worked well because users are in a relaxed setting and are willing to share their ideas and experiences.

However, much will depend on the culture of the organization to decide what will work best; a hybrid approach will mostly likely prove to be most successful. In the end the choice is yours.

Process

Once you have been successful and have brought the right people to the table, the next step is to decide if the current business process actually works. In other words, is your current process meeting the goals of the business? For example, suppose during one of the interviews with your legal department, you find out SharePoint is used to transfer data to other counsel. Why? Because it’s easier to share information using a repository like SharePoint rather than by email, due to file size restrictions and limits.

However, you also find out that each user operates a bit differently, and as a result, duplicate data is scattered across multiple sites without the ability to apply governance policies. This process must be dealt with immediately and the existing process will need to be amended.

At this point, an organization must decide on a process that is aligned with the business goals. Please keep in mind, the new process should not make it harder for users to do their jobs. If it does, your efforts will fail.

Technology

After you have engaged with the right people, evaluated processes, and spent time refining the processes, you must leverage technology to ensure the long-term success of the new strategy.

Organizations have three options:

  • Utilize existing technology
  • Purchase new technology
  • A hybrid approach – combination of existing and new technology

When trying to decide which option to choose, it’s important to be sure that the selected technology continues to align with your business process and overall goals.

Suppose that after much analysis, it’s decided that the functionality of your existing technology can longer support the requirements of the business process and goals, so the organization chooses to purchase new technology. Perhaps a software application is required to enforce information governance policies. Under no circumstance should the process change because of the purchased technology. In order to be successful, the technology must be able to properly enforce policies and grow with the business. Not the other way around. It’s simply not practical and will once again lead to failure.

At Gimmal, we’re confident that if organizations follow this three-step approach (People, Process, Technology) their information governance environment will no longer be considered a black hole, but a secure repository that is trusted by everyone in the organization.

Do you need information governance help?

Let our team of experts help you get control of your environment and aid in the completion your information governance projects.

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