The New Information Governance

The very definition of information governance is changing. While in the past much of the emphasis has been on reducing risk and ensuring compliance, more and more organizations are widening their attention on ways information management can actually boost the performance of the organization.

Today, using information to improve core processes, speed the pace of business, and unlock new and better customer experiences is essential for organizations everywhere to remain competitive. As a result, the implications of information governance have evolved to include a much broader potential strategic scope and importance.

IG Takes Priority in the New Norm

According to research conducted by AIIM International, 42% of organizations view information governance as their top priority and are looking for ways to move from a strictly “store and protect” approach to one that has farther reaching influence. But moving beyond business as usual remains a challenge; 26% report a lack of budget and resources and 24% say they lack a true strategy for managing information assets. A majority report that their efforts to innovate and digitally transform are either poor or need improvement. This should be a rallying call for technology managers and C-suite executives everywhere.

“Sometimes the greatest challenges bring out the best in us,” said Jason Cassidy, CEO of enterprise information management solution provider Shinydocs, in a recent interview on the Digital Transformation Podcast. “We’ve been forced to go in a direction that we needed to go in the first place, and change the way we think about managing information.”

Best Practices for the New IG Paradigm

Doing more with data to improve processes and products, boost brand satisfaction, and enable more effective decisions are just a few of the benefits of the new information governance paradigm.

And as the volume and variety of enterprise information continues to grow, so does the need for well-thought strategies and approaches for information governance.

What can you do today that can make a difference? Here are three best practices to consider.

1 – Modernize Your Infrastructure. It’s hard to capture improvements and be innovative when the organization works with outdated tools, manual paper-based workflows, and proprietary legacy systems. Working with outdated legacy systems is a common roadblock to digital transformation and innovation, yet many organizations are still working with systems that are sorely out of date.

By modernizing your information infrastructure, you are in a better position to reduce risk in terms of cyber threat and compliance, but also to improve the performance of people and systems in a remote work environment.

2 – Eliminate Risky and Redundant Data. According to some estimates, 70% or more of stored data is redundant and obsolete. This costs the organization not only in the hard dollars associated with storage and technology, but the soft losses associated with inefficient search and retrieval of important information. And don’t give hackers a treasure trove of information to steal. Thoroughly assess the information you have and what risk it represents, and then get rid of what you don’t need. In addition, information overload hinders an organization from developing the kind of “information agility” needed in order to digitally transform and remain competitive.

3 – Digitize Core Processes. It’s time to end the endless war on paper. Despite the ongoing digitization, paper usage in the U.S. has actually increased over the last 20 years. The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year and 45% of paper printed in offices ends up trashed by the end of the day. Look to digitize and capture information at the first available opportunity. According to AIIM, 85% of organizations see failure to digitize, standardize, and automate business inputs as a key digital transformation bottleneck. Where should you digitize? Start by focusing on core activities like new account onboarding, billing and accounts payable, and human resources.

Moving Forward

How effectively we use information has a lot to do with how effectively we manage organizational performance overall. Information governance is evolving to encompass a much wider strategic scope. One that addresses the new and developing challenges to data security and compliance, but also embraces organizational performance and opportunity in the mix. The keys to success include using a thoughtful approach to records management and examining the potential it provides to influence and improve competitive advantage. Look for partners and providers with the right mix of expertise, capabilities and vision to allow you to make the most of your efforts.

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Kevin Craine is the managing director of Craine Communications Group. He is writer, podcaster and technology analyst, as well as the author of the book Designing a Document Strategy and a respected authority on document management and process improvement. He was named the No. 1 ECM Influencer to follow on Twitter.