information governance

Info Gov 101: What is Information Governance & Why it is Critical for Your Organization?

Linda Coniglio, Director of Privacy & Information Governance

Information governance (IG) is a framework for managing data by establishing policies & procedures for how information is created, stored, used, valued and deleted. It encompasses the policies, standards, processes, metrics, and roles guiding the efficient and effective use of information for your organization to realize its objectives.

An important goal of information governance is to provide employees with data they can trust and easily access while making business decisions. In many organizations, responsibilities for data governance tasks are split among security, storage and database teams. Often, the need for a holistic approach to managing information does not become evident until a major event occurs, such as a lawsuit, compliance audit or corporate merger.

Why is information governance important?

Information governance provides a wide range of benefits. It ensures the following:

  • Whoever requires access to certain information can receive it.
  • Underlying data is properly managed, stored and secured.
  • Data is deleted after it has past its retention period or if it no longer has business value.
  • Regulatory requirements are correctly observed, where necessary.
  • Risk management is in place to minimize any issues that might arise from incorrect use.

Why is information governance critical for your organization?

While regulatory compliance or litigation activities are often the spur for initiating information governance, there are a wide range of benefits for your company if you implement an information governance program pro-actively. Read on to understand the importance of information governance to your organization.

  • Turn data into valuable business information.
  • Improve organizational agility. Give key decision makers an enterprise-wide perspective that recognizes the impact on other stakeholders.
  • Provide better customer service. Customers want to speak with a single person on their initial call to get their question answered. This means customer-facing employees must be able to locate all pertinent information about a customer and their transactions rapidly. Customer information will almost certainly be held on different IT platforms. The standard for how all information is organized, categorized, and accessible is determined by information governance.
  • Improve compliance and reduce risk. Proper information governance ensures compliance with laws, regulations, industry standards, internal procedures, and legal discovery. A successful IG program also minimizes the risk of noncompliance such as censure, penalties, prosecution, reputation loss, and financial loss.
  • Reduce the cost of litigation and discovery. Information Governance enables fast and thorough eDiscovery by allowing only appropriate information to be easily identified and accessed. What could take a team of lawyers many months to complete can be accomplished with a fraction of the manpower and costs when an effective IG program is in place.
  • Improve employee productivity by facilitating intelligent collaboration through information sharing. Your employees throughout the organization work with the same version of a document in real-time.
  • An effective IG program will support your business objectives, priorities, and needs in line with your organizational culture and available resources; significantly reducing the cost of information storage and administration needs.
  • Information governance improves the value of information technology to business and information analytics capabilities. Individuals in an organization can access information faster and easier because it’s better classified, supported, and secured.

What is an information governance framework?

An information governance framework is the structure that provides a holistic overview of the interrelated relationships that characterize how an organization creates and manages its enterprise-wide information assets (records, information and data). Understanding, assessing and documenting your organization’s legal, regulatory and business requirements are essential steps in formalizing and maintaining your information governance framework.

Components of successful IG programs include:

  • Categorization
  • Defining how information is used
  • Access management
  • Records management
  • Document handling
  • Information lifecycle
  • Disposition
  • eDiscovery
  • Cybersecurity

How to build an information governance strategy and framework?

Implementing an IG program can be a complex undertaking that can be riddled with a myriad of problems if it is not tackled strategically. The five tactics outlined below will help your organization to design an effective and efficient IG program that achieves business needs, objectives, and legal requirements.

  • Assess your current state.
  • Involve your leadership team.
  • Establish a cross-functional committee
  • Develop a clear, comprehensive policy.
  • Understand IG is an ongoing initiative, not a one-time project.

Bottom line

Information governance is a unique process for every company and requires a personal touch that cannot be found in out-of-the-box services. Innovative Driven learns your requirements and your goals and builds a customized solution, working alongside you every step of the way to execute, maintain, and strengthen your program. 

Innovative Driven governs your data with world-class care and security. It’s not what we do, it’s who we are. Reach out to our information governance experts today! 

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