Member Spotlight: Andrew du Frense

By BOSHIA SMITH posted 07-02-2020 11:10

Andrew du FresneMeet Andrew du Fresne!  Andrew is a Professor of Communication at Finlay University.  If you have not had a chance to meet and speak with Andrew at AIIM20,  please reach out to Andrew and introduce yourself here! 

Name: Andrew du Fresne; Finlay, Ohio
Position:  Manager; Adjunct Professor  
Company:  University of Finlay

How long have you worked in information management? 

I have been in the information governance industry for about five years. Completed my doctorate in May.

What does your work entail? Do you have company support?

So, my doctorate entitled, the effectiveness of IG audits and organizations. So, what I do for my day job is I teach communication; television, multi-camera television production, communication. So, while I've been getting my doctorate, this is what I've been doing.

About your dissertation. What were your discoveries?

So, there are three main questions. The first question was, do audits make information governance programs more effective? The second question is to make compliance objectives more effective. The third question was if those two questions are accurate and they do, and they're in the affirmative, why do not information governance practitioners use them more often? What I found was that the first two questions are yes, they do make programs more effective, make the client's objectives more effectively. The third option, the third question was why do practitioners not use them more often. It comes down to reality, one is they don't have the funding. Audits have a negative connotation. So, maybe there's a possibility of a name change there so we don't call them audits anymore.

It's a scary word and everybody thinks about the IRS when you think of audits. So, maybe there's an opportunity to start focusing on changing the nomenclature. So, those are the main findings.

For organizations that do the audit, what are the benefits that have realized as a result?

Well, they make them more efficient. They are able to seek more funding from the organization. In the study, I did five case studies, two federal agencies, one county agency, one public university. The public university probably struggled more out of those three ... out of the four.

Do you see change now with organizations taking on a bit more of a focus on information governance?

I believe it's still a struggle. But I still think that it's coming to a focus because of all the cybersecurity issues and privacy issues. So, I think there's an opportunity there for sure. One of the things is, what I noticed was that many of the opportunities that are available to the CEO to make these choices, they had to look at it from a fiduciary standpoint, that they're not looking at ... it costs ... information assets have a value, they have a monetary value [inaudible 00:05:13] protecting those monetary values, those assets, then they're losing an opportunity. I think that's where the compliance aspect comes in. So, if you're not willing to do that and recognize the fact that these assets have monetary value, that you're losing the opportunity there.

Cybersecurity insurance is definitely an indicator from the C-suite level that this is a top priority. What other ways are organizations finding advantage by having a more thoughtful approach to information governance?

Well, I think it's locking down their information assets. That's part of it. They're becoming more risk-averse to what's happening on the exterior as well as the interior of what their products are. So, I think that's a big thing is that they're becoming more risk-averse because I think, in my opinion, the fiduciary value that's going on in the industry.

What should CIOs and business owners be thinking about and strategizing for in order to be prepared for the world in 10 years' time?

Well, I would say that the first thing they could do is conduct a gap analysis, determine what exactly their flaws are and I think that part of the problem is that they're unwilling to do that because people don't like to be told what's wrong with their company, you know-

What's the biggest value for you as a professional that you have found from your involvement with AIIM?

I think networking, just the educational opportunities that, when I come here, every day ... I work in the television industry right now, so I'm always looking for some way that I can better promote information governance just in my little world of the university, but in a broader sense, you know how can we make that ... utilize the media to broadcast information governance, the importance of it. So, I have more opportunities here to learn more about what's going on in the industry because I'm not in it every day, which I'm trying to get back into.

1 comment


07-03-2020 10:34

Hi Andrew, interesting dissertation!  I enjoyed reading your comments.  I agree with you about the "audit" terminology being a word that scares people off.  I use audit tracking tools with our RM software and also do "quality control" on what people are bringing into the records repository to ensure that the naming conventions and metadata expectations, etc., are being handled properly.  I believe even "quality control" are words that people find scary and I've even been told that people shrink back in fear when I am seen heading for their offices, even though I'm always extremely respectful and try to come across as being helpful when I show them something that needs to be changed.  However, without this quality control, people don't follow through with the steps that are needed and then your records program becomes less and less able to meet the expectations of people looking for the records.  I've even know fellow municipalities that report that they abandoned their expensive RM software programs because the records were completely useless without a way to find what they were looking for.  All because they did not ensure that the naming and metadata requirements were not enforced.  What a waste!  It would be great if the vendors that sell the software were better able to assist their clients throughout the set up and implementation of new repositories, even if it was just helping them find the right help (such as connections with AIIM!) to get them started on the right track with best practices.  Our Vendor was very helpful.  Our willingness to reach out and ask for help from other municipalities ahead of us in their implementation steps was also of benefit to us.  So, auditing and quality control... scary, but necessary!