Recently, I had the pleasure of participating on a panel at the ARMA NOVA chapter (Northern Virginia) to discuss trends in information governance (IG). One of the first topics we discussed was regarding the rise in importance of IG over the past year and what seems to be driving it. Organizations working to transform to be more data-driven or information-centric through Big Data initiatives have recognized that governance is key to ensuring these are delivering correct results. IG is benefiting from such initiatives because Big Data provides a tangible top-line financial driver for improving the management of information assets. Historically, IG had been seen as a bottom-line driver or essentially a program focused on reducing cost and risk by improving operational efficiencies. Now, it can impact both sides of the information economics equation by delivering value to Big Data ensuring the quality of data being used for analytics. The old GIGO, garbage-in-garbage-out, saying of the 20th century needs to be replaced by QIQO, quality-in-quality-out, as we go forward in the 21st century.
The opportunity to apply analytics and leverage data to improve the customer experience, competitive position as well as tactical and strategic decision making can enable organizations to increase performance and profitability. It is very important that analytics engines use correct data in the process or the results generated can actually do more harm than good. If the data is bad or is not of high quality, the results generated could lead to incorrect decisions being made and negatively impact organizational performance. Thus IG has risen in the view of executive management as a program that can be extended to address Big Data to ensure the organization is continuously improving data quality. That means the organization is able to improve its overall information economics by ensuring data needed to meet regulatory and legal requirements is retained. Likewise, IG provides the capability to identify data with business value to keep while allowing the disposal of non-valuable data or debris, which ensures quality data is available for analytics. CGOC members have indicated the need is recognized at the executive level and is supported by a research report from the Aberdeen Group, The Big Data Imperative: Why Information Governance Must be Addressed.
The overall theme for the ARMA NOVA panel session was to identify on-ramps to information governance or simply ways to get started. Emerging IT projects to clean up legacy data or mining dark data to separate the valuable from the junk demonstrate how IG provides a great way to begin adding value. Sometimes used interchangeably, these efforts enable the organization to dispose of data no longer of value and improve the quality of the data retained to benefit analytics activities; essentially reducing storage and eDiscovery costs and delivering better analytics results for planning and decision making.
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