Information Governance isn’t so Bad After All

Technology – Technology is a foundational component of the information governance framework. When planning your enterprise, be agile in your systems approach. Consider implementing an enterprise content management application or a lot of organizations use applications such as a geographic information system (GIS) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) as points of control or platforms to deploy shared services.

Implementing this type of technology will introduce automation to your information management and automation ensures consistency. There are three common avenues you can take in terms of ECM implementations:

The first is ECM as the single point of control for complete information lifecycle management. A rules-based structure is the key, but don’t forget about the quality of the information you capture. Remember a content repository is only as good as the content it manages. As a wise person once said, “Garbage in, garbage out.”

The second approach involves looking at your information architecture from the user perspective. Here’s your opportunity to be agile in your technology implementation. This method is known as “dynamic personalization.” Dynamic personalization allows the user to access information in the manner and environment in which the user is most comfortable. The user can access the ECM application directly or through any other application through which the user works. In this case, think of ECM as a sort of integrative middleware. Middleware, by design, makes the sharing of information resources transparent to users. It provides consistency, automation and security.

The third approach is the implementation of ECM as a shared service platform. This is most often implemented by governance-mature organizations. Enterprise information management is literally that — information shared across business units or functions. This is particularly attractive to technology departments as it allows them to develop business processes that can be repeated across the enterprise allowing optimal resource efficiency, cost and service performance.

Risk Management – From an information management perspective, risk management means identifying the magnitude and impact of non compliance; most often as it relates to record-keeping. As regulators and agencies have increased their scrutiny on organizations, it is more crucial than ever to be sure that information is consistent, reliable and available. A well-vetted records management policy is crucial here.

Remember that records management needs to be deployed from an enterprise perspective across the entire portfolio of information assets. Technology is really effective as it ensures consistency. Ideally, the records management structure can be implemented transparently. This allows business units to work in the most efficient way possible, but the organization’s record-keeping integrity is still intact. Technology also allows you to establish monitoring and auditing processes to ensure proof of compliance and transparency. Look at the risk mitigation effort in a positive light. As crazy as it may sound, regulatory oversight can be a unifying concept for business.

One of the most intrusive risk management situations is the e-discovery process. At its most elementary, e-discovery is enterprise search, production and auditing of information. This is an arduous process that can be somewhat alleviated by an established information governance framework and stringent records management policies. Technology is again helpful as it allows you to cast a wide net and narrow down as needed. The framework you proactively build on the front-end will make this process less painful.

Disparate governance efforts, no matter how well they are implemented, cannot alone promise information governance. Mature organizations rely on organizational structures such as frameworks that are simple, coherent and transparent and that engage both staff and management. If we define successful organizations as those best able to thrive in their current environment, and we consider information the lifeblood of organizations, then an information governance strategy is crucial for all organizations to implement. Agile, adaptable organizations leverage their information as an asset. These organizations have mitigated risk, established standards and, most importantly, leveraged their information into quality decisions.

A 17-year software industry veteran and a frequent presenter at industry events, Kimberly Samuelson is director of government strategy at Laserfiche. She joined Laserfiche in 2001 as a regional manager and has served the company in several roles, including creative director and director of government marketing. Samuelson specializes in developing and delivering compelling content about ECM for the government market. Her background combines extensive marketing and business development experience. Kimberly can be contacted at [email protected].