Designing an Effective Information Governance Strategy

By CIOReview | Tuesday, April 4, 2017
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Today, Information Governance (IG) strategy has become an essential component and businesses are looking for various strategies to implement a successful IG strategy to make information assets available to those who require streamlined management and reduced storage costs. Organizations are quickly adopting the IG approach to manage corporate information through implementation of processes, controls and metrics. However, developing an effective IG is a challenge. This requires enterprises to get the bigger picture of the organizational goals and then translate those goals into actionable insights in the strategy. Following are a few steps that can be undertaken to implement an effective IG strategy.

Mapping out a Plan

The first and foremost step is to design a plan. The business professional needs to visualize the complete program to get a clear picture of the end result. This includes identifying the responsibilities of an IG that include security, storage and database teams. Often, a holistic approach is taken for an IG strategy but it does not become evident until a major event occurs, such as a lawsuit, compliance audit or corporate merger.

Defining the Organizational Goals and Objectives

Goals help improve overall efficiency and productivity of a company, whether to increase share of the market, or improve customer service. If the company goals and objectives are understood better, the more likely businesses can identify areas where to apply IG practices. Objectives are the specific steps the company needs to take to reach the goals. Once an IFG program is devised, it is essential to commit to the program. It has to be checked and looked after from time to time.

Forming a Suitable Work Environment

An important aspect of a successful IG strategy is to keep the employees comfortable. Jobs should be distributed according to the various roles. For example, senior executives do not prefer to do information governance; they want to serve clients and increase their profitability. If they are forced to do a process that are irrelevant, they may just find a workaround. When launching an information governance strategy, considering the culture of the company is important to identify what works and what doesn't. All companies have different preferences and should have a culture matching to their needs.

Establishing Quick Wins

Organizations should identify pain points and go for quick wins. This way the company gets something positive to build on. Quick wins start with finding the data that takes up unnecessary storage in the form of mails, archive data and more.

Choosing CIGO and the Committee

A chief information governance officer (CIGO) leads a coordinated effort across multiple disciplines to ensure the enactment and ongoing facilitation of IG. Members of the committee should include business, legal, records management, privacy and IT departments. This committee is responsible for the successful implementation of the IG. In a model framework of a business leveraging IG in its daily activities, the legal department should ensure the organization adheres to compliance and regulatory requirements. The records management should keep a track on the information that has to be governed and privacy professionals are expected to manage the security of data. The responsibility of the IT department is to implement IG from a technology perspective.

Breaking the Silos

Finally, information silos need to be shattered. All the stakeholders of the departments should be able to work together cooperatively to achieve business goals, especially while making critical decisions. This is also the main reason behind the implementation of an IG strategy—employees merging information and communication with other departments.