Information Governance In Practice

March 21, 2011
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Governance of an organisation’s information assets is an area where you see a wide variety of practises. There are many organisational models used and even more consulting companies advocating ‘proprietry’ solutions. I have created successful IM capabilites in a number of organisations and I want to share with you one way I know that works, how to organise your own IM efforts and what it can deliver for you.

This post is the first of three that I will make over the next few days.

Governance of an organisation’s information assets is an area where you see a wide variety of practises. There are many organisational models used and even more consulting companies advocating ‘proprietry’ solutions. I have created successful IM capabilites in a number of organisations and I want to share with you one way I know that works, how to organise your own IM efforts and what it can deliver for you.

This post is the first of three that I will make over the next few days.

My view on what succeeds is based on three main factors. The first is my firmly held belief that information management in an organisation must be owned by an individual. Or in other words – not by a committee.

The second is that governance of IM must be exercised by the business leaders whose own success are most dependent on the effective use of the information being governed. Having ‘skin in the game’ is vital as it aligns your governors and IM team towards a common goal.

The final factor is determining what is to be governed. This is where complexity rears its ugly head. Even though IM is owned by a single individual, actually managing information is something that is the responsibility of a wide range of individuals and teams. Many would argue that it is the responsibility of everyone in the organisation (and their supply chain). This is possible in those few exceptional organisations where information is managed as a strategic asset. But I’ve never worked in such an organisation.

In my experience, such organisations are also exceptionally rare. Most of us operate within organisations where it is a daily struggle getting IM onto the agenda. A win is made when IM is taken into account even when all the strategic opportunities of information are not. Sub-optimal this may be, but few things in life are truly optimal. Life is a lot messier in reality.

But it is not all doom and gloom as IM wins are not only possible, but can be achieved frequently – and also be personally very rewarding. I’d like to detail to you one possible scope, organisation and governance model of IM that I have succeeded in creating and sustaining within large commercial organisations (i.e. big business). The next posts will deal with:

  • IM Scope
  • Organisation Models
  • Governance Processes.

I hope that this short series of musings will not only help other IM practitioners but also start a conversation about these practical aspects of IM. After 20+ years in the business I am still learning each day. I hope that my fellow practitioners are listening and will interrupt this monologue by turning it into a discussion with some alternative ideas, insights and other thoughts.