PHIGs Take Phlyte – Changing a Project to a Program

By Bryant Duhon posted 01-03-2014 11:30


Join Chris Walker on April 3 at 2 in Orlando for AIIM 2014 as he discusses how to apply information governance holistically across the organization in his session: PHIGs: Principles of Holistic Information Governance. Here's a preview of what he'll be talking about.

Chris Walker, AIIM 2014 SpeakerI am an Information Management consultant with over 25 years of experience. My focus is more on the business and functional side than it is on the technical / product side of information management solutions. I believe that information is a valuable asset and my goal is to help organizations leverage its full potential. Risk and compliance are real fears, however, I focus on the value and benefits of information management; I don't let fear take over. I am also a blogger, tweeter, and speaker. @chris_p_walker

This is a little story about how the Principles of Holistic Information Governance (the PHIGs) were leveraged to turn a pure records management project into something the entire organization, and its stakeholders, could benefit from.

AIIM 2014 Conference - Register TodayI partner asked me to help them out on a project for a public transportation company. Their project is to put together (and implement) a new Web communication and presence strategy. Where they asked me to help out is on developing a records management (RM) strategy. The two projects were to be separate from each other since the RM project was really to fill in some gaps in the client being compliant with legislation and in helping them to respond to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. There was no thought given to integrating the two projects or to looking at how a holistic approach could benefit the entire organization and its stakeholders.

As all good analysts and consultants do, I started gathering as much information about the organization and the projects as I could. The two critical documents that I had access to were the Web communication project strategy (summary and detailed) and the organization’s 20-year strategic plan and roadmap.

There were obvious tie-ins to linking the RM project and the Web project, but selling them to the organization wasn’t easy as they just didn’t care all that much. They were happy to go forward with identifying what was a record, and subject to FOI, then just firing that content into their RM tool (which they don’t have yet). The real clincher to getting the organization to accept a PHIGed approach was the long-term strategic plan. In the plan were articulated six values and five major objectives.


  1. Safety
  2. Customer service
  3. Sustainability
  4. Integrity
  5. Innovation
  6. Collaboration

All six of the values can be directly supported by information, provided it’s properly governed and managed, from cradle to grave.

Major Objectives:

  1. Develop financial sustainability
  2. Support and shape liveable communities
  3. Change the perception of Transit
  4. Deliver operational excellence
  5. Strengthen our people and partnerships

Like the values, the objectives will benefit from taking a holistic view of how information lives in the organization.

One of the other things that I did was to review the RM strategy document I was provided and link those objectives to the objectives in the Web communication strategy and the long-term strategy. It’s both funny and sad that folks get so focused on their own view of the world that they don’t see the bigger picture. The RM strategy probably had 85% of what was needed for an organization-wide (I’m trying not to use the word “enterprise” too much) information management strategy.

From a technology point of view there will be many different tools used to provide the solutions that the organization will, over time, implement. But, they’ll be underpinned by the PHIGs. The PHIGs are there to help organizations take a look at how and why information exists and affects all relevant stakeholders. The PHIGs aren’t about technology; they’re about business and doing it better by understanding what you need from information.

By reordering and rewording some of the RM strategy objectives, and adding a couple of new ones, we were able to change the focus from an RM project that would provide very limited benefits, to an organization-wide information management program that will benefit all stakeholders. Of course it’ll take longer to get to the end, but at least the client has taken the first step and realized the importance of information to the proper running of the business.

#PHIGs #Records-Management #ElectronicRecordsManagement #AIIM2014 #AIIM14 #InformationGovernance #governance