Think Information Governance Will Put an Expensive Burden on Your Company? You’re Wrong

Think Information Governance Will Put an Expensive Burden on Your Company? You’re Wrong

Progress in the area of information governance (IG) can be frustratingly slow. We recently read that only 29 percent of Europe-base companies are GDPR compliant, and CGOC research has found that in the U.S., IG maturity remains low, despite the reality of the GDPR, as well as the CCPA going into effect next year and new federal rules being considered.

The biggest obstacle to maturing information governance programs is the very limited way organizations continue to think about the benefits. If these programs were really just an expensive investment with no benefit other than marking off compliance checkboxes, then it would be understandable for organizations to take a wait-and-see approach to every step. But that’s far from the whole information governance story. An information governance program offers several vital business benefits, and organizations should not have to be dragged kicking and screaming to ensure customer confidence, enable innovation, protect their IP, increase productivity and save money.

The Benefits of Information Governance

Information Governance is about knowing what you have, where it is and who has access to it, so you can eliminate data siloes, better manage data quality and lineage, control access, retain data where necessary, and delete it when you can or must. In addition to enabling cost-effective regulatory compliance and avoiding increasingly large fines, the benefits of a comprehensive, well-run information governance program extend across the organization.

  • Reputation and customer confidence – Consumers are beginning to pay attention and companies that intentionally or inadvertently abuse private information will face an increasing backlash.
  • Innovation – High-quality data is required for big data, AI and customer experience initiatives, and breaking down data siloes to enable effective management of data quality and lineage is essential to making high-quality data available to teams.
  • The cost of managing data – A defensible disposal program that eliminates data with no business legal or regulatory value is an essential part of an information governance program and can substantially reduce storage costs, as well as the resource requirements for managing unnecessary data.
  • The cost of e-discovery – Eliminating data with no business legal or regulatory value also reduces the cost of production for e-discovery and ensures that organizations are not creating additional risk by producing more information than necessary.
  • Data breaches – Knowing what data is where and eliminating unnecessary data makes it far easier to identify and protect the company’s crown jewels.
  • Worker productivity – Knowing what data is where and eliminating unnecessary data makes it easier for business users to find what they need, and for IT to provide fast, secure self-service access to the most relevant information. This, in turn, can help IT mitigate the problem of shadow IT. Employees won’t need to use unapproved applications if the approved applications are providing the access they need.

Getting Started

Once you embrace all the potential benefits of information governance, how do you convince the rest of the organization to get onboard? A recent CGOC webinar, “Enable Governance and Value in the Information Economy: Through Data Cataloging, Categorizing, and Mapping,” is a great place to start. Candace McCabe from JB Hunt and Amir Jaibaji from IBM get into some of the nuts and bolts of creating the foundation for successful information governance and making the business case. You should definitely check this out.

The CGOC provides other critical resources, including the Information Governance Process Maturity Model and the Information Lifecycle Governance Leader Reference Guide. The following articles should also be required reading:

As a member of CGOC, you can interact with and learn from other legal, privacy, RIM, and IT professionals; participate in practice groups; attend workshop and webinars, and gain access to our latest research.

The equation is now very simple. Managing data for regulatory compliance is essential. And while a comprehensive information governance program is the most cost-effective way to manage data for compliance, it is also indispensable to the success of initiatives across the enterprise. The value it delivers will far outstrip the investment in the program.

I challenge every executive to embrace the power of Information Governance to transform your organization and share that enthusiasm with every employee.

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