August 16, 2016

5 Things CIOs Must Know About Their Information Governance Program

4 minute read

In most organizations anything having to do with information falls under the umbrella of the CIO. The concept of information governance is surely at the top of that list. Traditionally, the task of governing information hasn’t exactly been the CIOs sweet spot over the last decade or ever. Therefore, we wanted to share 5 (five) things a CIO needs to know about information governance to be successful. 1. The Key is People NOT Technology

A CIO has a tendency to try and solve organizational problems by purchasing new technology. It’s just in their blood to rely on technology. After all, they are “tech geeks” by trade, right? Technology might help solve some information governance problems relating to things like sharing content and user permissions, but it’s not a long-term solution that will last.

To illustrate: Think of Email. Over the past decade or so, the majority of organizations tried to control email by purchasing an Email Archive Solution. Did it work? In most cases it has actually made the situation worse. Why? Because it did not address the underlying problem: People.

It’s vital that CIOs understand how people in the organization work on a daily basis before even thinking about purchasing a software tool. The technology must fit the culture of the people, not the other way around.

2. Need Executive Support

True or False: the fact that the CIO is part of the organizations executive team and understands the importance of information governance guarantees success?


A CIO is a key stakeholder, but the buck doesn’t stop there. CIOs must get fellow C-Level executives (CEO, COO, CFO, CMO, etc.) and other decision makers to buy into the information governance program. Each stakeholder must be convinced of the benefits and how it specifically impacts their business unit. If not, people will continue to work in silos and find workarounds, leading to a failed program.


Related Post: 4 Ways to Keep Your Workforce Thinking Information Governance


3. It’s a Journey

As humans, we have a tendency to be very short sighted. We want to identify the problem and solve it immediately and move on to the next one. Many CIOs think the same way. However, they must realize that developing an information governance program is going to take time. It’s a process that will have its ups and downs. It is not a short-term project like a software patch upgrade.

4. Need a Content Management Expert

To ensure the immediate and ongoing success of an information governance program, a CIO needs a content management expert on their team.

A CIO cares about infrastructure first, not managing or governing content. This makes a lot of sense due to the infrastructure and developer backgrounds most traditional CIOs have. However, it’s probably the single biggest reason why most organizations have a content management problem. Not because the CIO is heavily focused on infrastructure, but that the organization doesn’t have a content management expert.

5. It’s Key to Solving Privacy Issues

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) Breach Database (which updates each Tuesday), there have been 584 recorded breaches and over 20 million records exposed so far in 2016.

One of the ways to mitigate such risks in connection with the aforementioned data breaches is to develop an information governance program. An information governance program will clearly define access permissions and outline best practices for sharing documents with third parties. Furthermore, it will ensure only the people who absolutely need access to sensitive data (social security numbers, tax returns, etc.) have access. So if a breach occurs, the CIO will know who to ask questions.

CIOs have their work cut out for them in connection with governing information. It’s a long winding road to success. However, it can be done as long as CIOs continue to stay educated.

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