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.

Why?

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.

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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You Will Never Have One Place for All Your Content


Dr Who in the rainYou read the title correctly. No matter how hard the industry works between now and the time you die, or are simply drooling in a wheelchair, you will never have one place for all of your content. I’m not simply talking the difference between work and personal pieces of information. Whether you are at work or home; on your computer, tablet, or phone; or any combination of those, you will always have content you need to access in multiple systems.

A little depressing isn’t it?

That doesn’t make it less true. If it makes you feel any better, it will not be entirely your fault. The problem is that you and your company do not own all of the content that you use. There is content out there that originates, and lives, in other places.

And there is nothing you can do about it.

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Doom and Gloom for Dropbox and Box?


If you have been anywhere near twitter the past week, you’ve seen the article from ZDNet asking Can Dropbox and Box survive as independent services? The author, Ed Bott, then goes into the pricing competition for storage and how both services are falling way behind the curve to Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

Ed misses the point. This isn’t about storage. Not anymore. It is also about convenience. How well can you synch across all your devices with products from the big three? How well do those products work with other applications on your mobile devices?

Even more importantly, how well do those applications serve the enterprise?

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Information Governance and Records Management Need to get Radical Together


A couple weeks ago I ranted that we were beginning to make many of the same mistakes with Information Governance that we had made with Enterprise Content Management (ECM), and to some extent Records Management. The post stimulated posts from James Lappin and George Parapadakis.

I respect both of them and it is entertaining to see them taking completely opposite approaches to the problem. It would be entertaining, for me at least, to see them debate the issue. I suspect it would get quite…energetic.

Of course, being on extremes, they both missed the mark.

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Information Governance Repeating the Same Mistakes


One thing I’ve been doing a lot of recently is observing the rise of Information Governance. It is eating all the bandwidth that Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Information Management, and Records Management have historically consumed. All the same players are involved; each trying to make a name for themselves.

As I participated in today’s #InfoChat, I quickly realized that the exact same chat could have taken place 10 years ago. Just substitute #ECM for #InfoGov and it would fit. There were no “new” ideas presented, just slight twists on the same concepts that have been pushed for the last 20 years.

We get it. Success requires “People, Process, and Technology.” How about telling us how those factors should behave and work together? What new technology might help smooth processes to make people’s live easier?

TELL ME SOMETHING NEW!

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Information Governance is a Journey


Scene from Stand videoI’ve been talking a lot about Information Governance of late. The reason I’ve been doing it is because if it simply becomes a term used in place of Records Management we will have wasted an opportunity. Information Governance is different. It needs to be different.

Records Management failed. We need a new approach. Information Governance has the potential to be that new approach, if we tackle it correctly. If we get lazy, we will be fighting the same battles for another decade.

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Moving Past Systems of Record and Engagement


Tom Baker & Matt SmithWhen the terms of Systems of Record and Systems of Engagement were introduced, they were a great way to introduce the concept of expanding social from the water cooler to the digital world. Then a  funny thing happened on the way to success. It didn’t work.

For every success story on the move towards social business, there are more examples where collaborative software didn’t take off. When you sit down and ask why, it becomes apparent that the issue isn’t always that people don’t want to collaborate. They just don’t want to do it in a forced manner.

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