27 Jul 2015

What is Information Governance?

July 27, 2015Uncategorized

Nobody knows. (That is only a slight exaggeration). The Information Governance Initiative, (IGI,) is responsible for coordinating the new discipline. According to their website IGI says “Despite this rapid evolution, there is still no universal understanding of IG. Some grouse that IG is simply a rebranding of existing disciplines like records management”. There has been a lot of that sort of rebranding in the records management world. Since the 1990s we have seen a number of attempts to re-label the discipline including “knowledge management” and “enterprise content management”. It is very possible that IG is the next coat of paint. It could also be the next big thing for information management if you take a historical view.

Archivists and librarians existed before records managers. They were focused on information organization and preservation. Records management sprouted from those disciplines when governments realized that everything created did not need to be preserved beyond its point of usefulness. Records managers focused on finding that “sweet spot” through the implementation of records retention schedules, policies, procedures, and training. For the most part, records that were not historical in nature were seen by management as a necessary cost. Programs were funded just enough to satisfy legal requirements. Organizations who did not implement an effective records management program sometimes paid a heavy price. Most changes to records management involved technology applications like microfilm, digital imaging, bar coding, and specialized software development.

As Information Technology and records management diverged, some records and information management, (RIM,) practitioners found themselves and their departments taking a back seat to the latest gizmo or process. Regulatory developments like Sarbanes Oxley sometimes elevated to discipline in the eyes of management but it was not until the creation of Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles, that the discipline seemed to gain an appreciation of upper management, who were already very familiar with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, (GAAP,) in accounting. Information Governance seems to be attempting to bridge the gap between information management practitioners and upper management.

IG includes big data analysis and modeling; these are strategic more than tactical. It also tends to be more proactive in that it guides plans for future growth rather than maintaining compliance by responding to discovery or audit requests. IG appears to be satisfying claims RIM practitioners were making years ago – namely that records management is capable of adding value, in addition to lowering cost and managing risk. For the moment, IG has captured the spotlight. What remains to be seen is whether this emerging discipline will be the one charged with coordinating privacy policy, information security, asset management, and compliance issues. Either way, you will need reliable partners to help manage information assets. Advanced can help you with information governance issues as well your records and information management and disaster recovery preparation. Call us at (323) 727-7277 or e-mail us at Cartons@advancedrecords.com to find out more.