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Getting real about information governance

Jason Federoff | Dec. 19, 2014
Even mature organizations can use IG to reduce risk and increase value. After all, everything from families to snowflakes operates under governance.

In addition, a focus on value creation enables companies to take a more value-based, adoptable approach to developing IG policies and processes and deploying the technologies necessary to support the effort.

Making the changes

Every organization already has some form of governance in place, by design or default, but it can be very difficult to recognize the existing processes and agree on the need to change them. And even if such agreement is reached, it can be difficult to change what is already there and accepted as normal.

Consider the analogy of two divorced adults, each with children, who then marry each other. Each had his or her own baseline "governance" rules in place before getting married, so whose rules will the children follow now? What if one family had strict rules and the other lax ones? Whatever rules get set, someone will object and want to keep them the way they were before.

Companies have the same problem. Unless someone from the top provides a new set of enterprise directives outlining the value of information assets, each group will continue to do what it's accustomed to doing.

But don't think that you will solve the problem with a single purchase or initiative. Instead, take simple, pragmatic steps based on a standard enterprise approach. Define the assets and one standard set of policies, procedures, processes, controls, and metrics for managing the assets (and liabilities). Almost every company does this in silos for their products, setting standards for development, pricing, quality control, etc., but most don't do this effectively for all information assets. Here are four keys to making the creation of an IG program as simple as possible:

Information governance is an imperative for long-term success. The longer you wait to act, the harder it will be to achieve, and competitors will pass you by, lowering your chance for long-term survival. And although there are now many technology solutions and service providers to help organizations get started and implement enterprise IG programs, you must take the first step on your own. Like any recovery program, the first step is recognition or acceptance of your problem and opportunity. Rarely do people (or companies) readily accept problems or opportunities pointed out by others. You must recognize for yourself that your business bottom line will improve dramatically with more effective information asset management -- and that enterprise information management and governance is the way to make that happen.

For more information on how to develop and advocate for an information governance program for your organization, visit the CGOC (Compliance Governance and Oversight Council) website.


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