How to Ensure Information Governance

By Carl Weise posted 05-02-2012 21:08


The records management program is a management function within the organization that manages the information assets of the organization.  An important perspective is that this is not a new area of management.  There has always been the need to manage the organization’s information, similar to the centralized control of human resources and the capital assets of the organization.  The need to manage information was not generally appreciated in the past because we had paper-based office work, which was difficult to control, repercussions of not managing information properly were not significant, or widely recognized, and there were not the computer solutions available to allow us to manage our records

Times have certainly changed!

With the need to manage information and records, and with more and more information being created by electronic means, there are computer solutions that can manage this information. These solutions fall under Enterprise Content Management, Electronic Records Management and/or Email Management solutions.  With these computer applications, we can address the business drivers identified as the four Cs – compliance, cost, collaboration and (business) continuity.

How to Ensure Information Governance

Organizations need to take a holistic approach to managing their records and information.  Policies and processes must address information across the whole enterprise.  As email and instant messaging have come into extensive use, we have seen additional policies to support their usage.  In the past few years, as social business has become very popular in organizations, we are seeing policies that cover social media which may very well address the use of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media applications.

In recent years, we have seen technology applied as narrow solutions to achieve the four Cs.  There have been isolated efforts to scanning paper records, capturing emails, creating isolated collaboration forums, and managing functional collections of information.  This has led to separate repositories of electronic information that hinders the sharing of records and information and their proper management.

There is the need to have a senior executive accountable for the proper management of information across the organization.  This is beginning to be recognized.  We are seeing higher level positions in the records management profession, such as Directors and Vice-Presidents.  Perhaps, shunning the term records management, we are seeing organization setting up information management functions under the senior legal executive, compliance and information and knowledge management.  In many organizations, we are seeing the Chief Information (Technology) Officer assume broader responsibility encompassing the management of the information, itself.  Without accountability, we will not be successful in managing these assets of the organization.

Similar to the Human Resources and Finance functions, organizations need to have information and records management professionals employed in a central function to carry out the responsibilities they need to be done.  These professionals need to partner with the legal and IT staff to ensure that information is managed in a way to achieve compliance and ediscovery requirements.  With social media becoming so prevalent in organization, records management professionals must also team with the communication professionals.  Professionals are required to support policy development and maintenance, oversight of the information management systems, legal research, coordination of ediscovery and disclosure demands and the development of standards, procedures and guidelines.  There may, very well, be continued central physical records storage activities that need to be supported.

What are your thoughts of information governance?

I will be speaking at the following events:

May 8th– 11th, 2012 AIIM ERM Master class in Silver Spring, MD

June 91th – 22nd, 2012 AIIM ECM Master class in Houston, TX


#ElectronicRecordsManagement #InformationGovernance #ECM #ERM