Keeping Information Governance Simple (ASSESSMENT) - Part 1

By Jim Merrifield posted 06-13-2014 14:56


Information Governance is the headline of every conference, book, whitepaper, blog post, webinar, tweet jam, you name it! There’s even an entire day (third Thursday in February) dedicated to information governance. Yes, information governance has gotten so popular that it has its own holiday. It’s simply the hottest two words in our industry today.

Over the past few years, industry experts have spent much time defining information governance in an attempt to educate organizations about information governance and it’s value. Now, organizations must take the words off the printed page and put this knowledge to use so all that hard work doesn’t go to waste.

The goal of every organization is to implement an Information Governance Program that REALLY works. After all, why would an organization spend time, money and resources implementing a program only realize the program is not being followed? That doesn't make much sense at all. The key is to keep it simple.

When your buying a home, it's important to learn everything about it and identify any problems or defects that need to be fixed. You hire a home inspector who carefully examines and assesses the condition, uncovers safety hazards and shortcomings, and prepares a detailed report on the findings. The same concept can be applied to Information Governance.

Before attempting to kick start an IG program an organization must identify what it’s doing well and where its falling short as well as the risks associated with those shortcomings.

Using a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) is one of the best ways to conduct an assessment of your current IG state and uncover the risks involved with not having a solid program.

Below is an example of how an organization might use a SWOT analysis to evaluate its current IG state.

STRENGTHS – What do you do well when it comes to IG?

  • Example – Policy, procedure, retention schedule

WEAKNESSES– What do you do poorly or even at all when it comes to IG?

  • Example – Fail to enforce policy and defensibly dispose of information.

OPPORTUNITIES – What changes in technology may help enhance your ability for good IG?

  • Example – Big Data, Predictive Coding, Cloud

THREATS – What changes in technology are threatening your ability to manage information?

  • Example – Social, Mobile, BYOD

Assessment of your current state is only the first of three steps to developing an IG program that "REALLY" works. In my next post, I will discuss the second step, "Build Your Program."

What has worked best for you, when assessing your current IG state? Whether you are a practitioner, consultant, solution provider or someone else, I'd love to hear your experiences. Please let me know in the Comments section below.

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