The IGI Tackles Information Governance for All

The Two Bobs, Office SpaceThe Information Governance Initiative (IGI) released their 2014 Annual Report this week. I was actually sent a preview copy, but I was at the beach and it took me a while to get to reading the entire report. I could have readily written a simple write-up based upon the great executive summary, but I wanted to dig deeper.

I am glad that I did. It is easy to argue with the conclusions but without reading the facts behind them, it is wasted effort. That is one thing that I really like about the report, there was real thought into what the results of their surveys and conversations meant. That is something that you don’t see in many of these reports.

Defining Information Governance

The IGI offers a definition for Information Governance. It is fine for a working definition. No definition is perfect but I don’t see the point in quibbling over official definitions like I did when I started writing. The important points are there.

  • It is more than Records Management and eDiscovery.
  • Leveraging the value from information is as important as mitigating any risk/costs from keeping it too long.

The CIGO Role

This is one point on which I agree and disagree with the IGI. Yes, Information Governance needs more exposure at the Executive level. We just don’t need another CxO role. As I’ve discussed before, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) should own Information Governance and leave some of the technical details to the Chief Technology Officer (CTO). The CIO should have a direct report that manages the Information Governance of the organization full time and that person should be well known to the CEO, but the Chief Information Governance Officer (CIGO) title is a bit much.

Think of it like this. We have Chief Financial Officers (CFOs). Do we have Chief Financial Governance Officers? We don’t because the the governance of money is part of the job. In 10 years, if we are lucky, Information Governance will be part of the core operations of business will not clamor for more than a Director or VP title. Why not just start there and have them report to the CIO?

Not Just Policies

Agreed. Policies are nice, but it needs to be part of the culture. The tools are important, but the processes are the tricky part. In the industry, the processes have involved too much human interaction. We need to optimize those processes to make sure they aren’t creating substantially more work for the everyday person working in the organization. We need to embed policies into procedures in such a way they are automated by technology.

The Market is Moving, but Fast Enough?

Here is the thing. People want to buy Information Governance. Vendors want to sell it. Practitioners want to implement it. Yet the projects still take too long.


There are many reasons. They start with trying to do too much out of the gate. They continue with people starting with the technology and not with a vision of how work will be done in the final end-state. They conclude with disconnects between the needs of the organization and the needs of the people trying to get things done.

There is no single plug-and-play methodology that will universally work. While many organizations have very similar business models, their current state and political environment is unique.

  • Define ideal Information Governance environment, aka the Vision
  • Identify areas of greatest risk
  • Identify areas of greatest unrealized value
  • Tackle the areas, one at a time, that provide the greatest impact for the effort required
  • Remember that the goal is constant improvement, not instant perfection

Beyond that, it is all tools that help achieve each of those steps. Not technology tools, but analysis that helps you reach each decision with confidence that you are more right than wrong.

Waiting for the perfect decision implies that the perfect decision is actually possible. It isn’t. Not today. We are still working to accurately quantify the value from these efforts. We know it exists but reaching numbers that everyone trusts is going to take some more time.

Read the report. Realize that nobody has Information Governance conquered yet. Get smart people with open minds to help you on your journey because things are going to change a lot before you are finished.

Good luck.

The Delicate Balance of BYOD

Pope Benedict XVI using a tabletOne of the projects I recently worked on was preparing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy for a financial institution. Having written the policy for AIIM, and other organizations over the years, it was a straightforward task. The real challenge was determining the right balance between convenience for employees and security for the organization.

Organizations are more and more willing to allow people to use their own devices, even though 30-35% of BYOD is invisible to an organization. The question is, “What are those organizations giving up?” What can organizations do so the restrictions placed on devices doesn’t make the employee feel like the device is no longer their personal device?

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How NOT to Succeed at Social Media

Turtle on its backFirst off, I’m not an expert on Social Media. I have a lot of experience, have observed a lot, and keep tabs on the ‘best practices’. I have never run a corporate social media strategy or spent too much time analyzing how different strategies impact my effectiveness, though I have consulted on both.

I simply share what I want to share and talk to people. That is the point after all, isn’t it?

Even so, I can see when someone is doing it wrong, even without a critical article being written to clue me in to the problem. Recently I have been watching a company try to get their social media engine running and they are flailing.


I want to share the what they are doing poorly.

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Joining the Practitioners at the Information Governance Conference

The Information Governance Conference LogoLast week I talked about my upcoming visit to the Information Governance Exchange, which is an event filled with business owners and decision makers. The next week in September, the 8th through the 10th, I will be winging my way up to Hartford, CT for the Information Governance Conference (InfoGovCon).

The InfoGovCon will be filled with practitioners participating in an agenda filled with different perspectives on Information Governance from multiple industries. There are also training sessions from ARMA, the Information Governance Initiative, and many others.

While there, I am presenting on Removing the “Work” from Information Governance. Sounds interesting but what does that mean?

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Repeating Past Mistakes Won’t Make ECM Work

Stitch banging his head against the wallEvery now and then I read a post that makes me wonder if the older Enterprise Content Management (ECM) vendors are intentionally trying to keep the industry stagnant. They make a fair penny selling to people who tried their competitor’s solution and failed. Whey not keep it up for another decade?

That was my response when I read How Free Puppy Syndrome Can Ruin Your ECM Strategy. My first thought that this was going to be a generic attack on open source. While I no longer work for an open source vendor, I am still a fan and think that open source solutions provide strong value.

It wasn’t that simple. The article attacked everyone who is trying to take the industry from one of failure to one of universal adoption. I am going to address all the bullet points.

The author meant for each point to be an indicator for failure.

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Heading to the Information Governance Exchange

Recently I’ve begun filling my Fall conference calendar. I always enjoy attending conferences because it is a great way to test my ideas and to hear new ones. The best conferences leave me with fresh perspectives and concepts that I want to try out immediately.

I always enjoy returning to some conferences, like AIIM and Monktoberfest, because I know that I will get value from my fellow attendees. New conferences are different experience. They provide an opportunity to meet and interact with a new community. The first week of September, I am trying one such conference located here in Washington, DC, the Information Governance Exchange.

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Information Governance and eDiscovery

Back in May, Julia Colgan wrote a great post breaking down the latest version of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM). She outlined the changes in her post but the most significant change is the use of Information Governance instead of Information Management.

Version 3 of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model

Before I dive into the model, I want to make one thing clear. The purpose of this model is to show how all these concepts work together for the purpose of eDiscovery. It is meant to drive understanding.

Which is why I am not happy with the model.

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