November 25, 2020

What is Information Governance?

15 minute read

Now more than ever, Information Governance has become a high priority activity for most organizations. With information growing at a rapid rate, the potential risks that accompany this growth can pose a threat to sensitive information and business functions across various industries

This information chaos has pushed organizations to consider implementing an information governance program, but the main questions that often arise are “What is Information Governance?” or “Where Do We Start?”. 

In this blog post, we answer some common questions about the current state and future of information governance, and key strategies for implementing a well-planned and successful information governance program.

Question: How do you define Information Governance? 

Answer: Information Governance is the balance between the value of information versus the risk of having it. It is the people, processes, and tools that help balance how you manage and control information. 

Question: Why Is Information Governance Important? 

Answer: As we proliferate more and more information, it creates value for everyone that uses it. At the same time, having that information out there generates just as much, if not more risk. Information governance can help balance the value and risk by implementing certain compliance and security requirements. Additionally, by understanding your information, it helps democratize your information and helps people access it in ways they haven't been able to before. 

Question: How do you create a well-defined Information Governance strategy? 

Answer: The first step in the journey is to consider the different components of information governance and self-assess to determine where you stand as an organization, where you plan to be, and where the gaps areThis will help you understand where you need and want to be for each of the facets of information governance such as security, repository governance, and processes. Once you have insight on your goalsyou will be able to formulate a plan to get there.  This assessment will help drive projects and initiatives that are going to provide the most value quickly.  

Question: What are some of the biggest roadblocks to a successful Information Governance program? 

Answer: The biggest hurdle to any information technology program is the change management component. It consists of understanding the people and process side of the change - most importantly the people. The perfect piece of technology won't work if there is no adoption, no buy-in, and no understanding of that part of change. It is important to understand the goals and the why in order to put the right pieces in place to distribute the information in a way that’s effective. The other piece of it is having measurable success early. For instance, put projects in an order of highest value and the quickest gain (weighted-shortest job first) to achieve that measurable success. Most important and quickest tasks that you can finish in the shortest amount of time have the biggest impact and provide the most value. 

Question: In your experience, what are the major areas of failure during an Information Governance implementation? 

Answer: Definitely change. If no one adapts your initiative, it's going to fail. Additionally, sometimes the technology just isn't there. This makes doing things seemingly impossible and undoubtedly expensive. Another crucial factor is the time. If something takes too long because of changes in technology or project, it can prevent a task from getting done or even started. 

Question: If an organization chooses an Information Governance tool to use, what are some of the important factors to success for implementing the solution? 

Answer: Understanding the goal and what the information governance tool is supposed to do and really focusing on making it easy for adoption. The two most important components are knowing what it does well and matching that with your goals and making that same set of requirements and capabilities easy enough for end users and information and records management professional to use. 

Question: What major trends do you think will emerge in the Information Governance landscape in the next 12-18 months? 

Answer: A major trend will be in the realm of using some of the AI technologies for auto-classification to understand what you have in a structured format and applying that information to graph databases. This provides relationship and insights on how information is connected. These insights then create value and ROI as it reduces the duplication of content and helps improve quality of human interaction. 

Question: In the constantly changing Information landscape, what can an information and records management (RIM) professional do to be prepared for new methods and ideologies in the industry? 

Answer: As a RIM professional, it is important to keep an eye on the constantly changing regulations that may shift the way you achieve compliance in your organization. Additionally, doing individual research on new technologies such as AI, graph databases, classification engines, and machine learning will help you prepare to have these strategic conversations while also enabling you to better identify and utilize core information governance concepts. 

Information Governance can be better strategized and successfully implemented with an understanding of where your organization is in their journey and where they want it to be. It is also equally important to do independent research on new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence to gain insights on generating strategic interactions and planning for Information Governance.  

To learn more about Information Governance, check out our Gimmal events page for upcoming webinars and conferences: 


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