Zero-Based Information Governance

By Bryant Duhon posted 02-06-2014 14:41


When it comes to governance, at some point you just have to get started. Deborah Juhnke tells us how. For more, join her (and hundreds of your peers) for AIIM Conference 2014 in Orlando on April 1 – 3.

Deborah Juhnke, Director of IM Consulting, Husch Blackwell LLP, is a Certified Records Manager and Director of Information Management Consulting at Husch Blackwell LLP. As a member of the Firm’s Information Governance group she assists clients with information governance initiatives, including risk assessments, records retention, and e-mail system remediation. Juhnke brings more than 25 years’ experience to her work in records inventory, retention schedule and policy development, project management, records management program implementation, and legacy data cleanup. Her work has benefitted clients in a variety of industries, including public utilities, retail, manufacturing, business-to-business services, financial services, education, and healthcare.

Remember the paper-based world when junk mail was clearly junk? When we could easily identify the important mail? When there was no middle ground? When we were not afraid to throw anything away?

No longer. We now hoard our electronic documents and communications—all of them—in the new, “keep everything” culture. Because we can. Or can we? Exponential email growth strains even the most sophisticated servers and retrieval tools. Network shares are overflowing, and cloud storage is clouding our ability to understand the true extent of our information governance crisis. 

We can’t go back to paper, but we can take control of the creation, retention, and disposal of data. Enter “Zero-Based Information Governance.”

Rather than focus first on the seemingly insurmountable challenge of dealing with the backlog of messaging and unstructured storage, consider instead applying the finance-inspired concept of zero-based budgeting. Reverse the traditional approach that addresses only variance from an established baseline, which in the case of information governance is woefully outdated. Instead, start from zero. 

Start today to identify and justify every line item, every action. Cut costs by slowing the growth of information creation and applying a more critical eye to Band-Aid technology requests such as email archives or yet more storage, and thereby also achieve better alignment with long-term business goals. Interrupt the prolific creation of information at the beginning of its lifecycle, break through the paralysis of inaction, and avoid an early outlay for high-dollar technology. Establish oversight, personal accountability, controls, and guidance so employees may embrace their role for responsible creation and management of information, including timely disposal.

Zero-based information governance begins, therefore, by working to improve today-forward activities, rather than tackling the ever-growing backlog of information in a one-step-forward, two-steps-back shuffle. Though in time it may become important to address legacy data stores, the effort here is to first establish new creation methods and controls for new information. Eight basic tenets form the basis of zero-based information governance:

1. Executive mandate

2. Cultural attention

3. Personal accountability

4. Incremental improvement

5. Process & policy based

6. Coordinated, inter-disciplinary approach

7. Foundational structure based on law and business needs

8. No early technology purchases

Each of these is a critical component of the program. Without an executive mandate, without personal accountability, without cultural change, information governance initiatives fail. Early technology purchases mask the problem and often fall short of full implementation. The key to zero-based information governance is to do something to change the status quo across allof these dimensions and to do it well, even if the first wave initially serves only a small group. 

Find out more at AIIM 2014 during Wednesday’s session, “Zero-Based Information Governance: Breaking the Paralysis of Inaction,” where we’ll explore the oversight, accountability, controls, and guidance necessary for employees to embrace their role for responsible creation and management of information.


#governance #InformationGovernance #AIIM14 #infogov #information governance #AIIM2014 #ElectronicRecordsManagement
1 comment



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