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There is a significant difference between ‘information governance’ and ‘information management’.
Most organizations have records or other information management functions as part of their overall IT function (note the emphasis on IT, rather than business). The reality is few organizations understand and implement meaningful information governance (IG) programs.
For context, let’s begin by focusing on the definitions of these two terms.
Management is, by its nature, is a reactive activity. Managers typically react to something in front of them. They solve problems or deal with a situation based on the circumstances of the moment. This is, most often, how organizations handle information.
Governance, on the other hand, is proactive – or, at least it should be. It involves anticipating situations before they arise and establishing information handling protocols to avoid problems in the first place.
At the heart of IG is the ability to identify what information you have and what you need to do with it in advance of having it in front of you. For this reason, IG also happens to make information management significantly easier.
So, what does it take to truly govern your information more proactively? Building an IG program requires a return to basic principles and process.
Though it is often time and labour intensive, it’s imperative to ensure your team has performed the appropriate research and addressed every stage of the document. It is also critical to follow through with any and all noncompliance sanctions. The last stage is critical because achieving full compliance depends on meaningful consequences for policy and procedural lapses.
There are no formal IG roadmaps, rules or guidelines to fall back on, and that can be challenging. Just as no two organizations are the same, neither will the parameters for how they first govern and then manage information.
Ultimately a successful IG program is a product of understanding the unique qualities of your environment, the outcomes you want your program to achieve and your compliance requirements. Filtering those through a proactive / reactive lens, you can determine a unique set of policies, procedures and best practices to fit your unique environment.
Tomorrow’s technology is shaping business today. To learn more about how MNP can help you improve your information governance initiatives, contact John Desborough, Director Consulting and Technology Solutions at [email protected]
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