information overload
Less than half of companies surveyed have an information management compliance culture. PHOTO: Jorge Franganillo

Despite years of talking about information governance and compliance, less than half of companies surveyed have a compliance culture  — and many companies apparently have no governance strategy at all.

In addition, more than half of those surveyed for the Providence, R.I.-based Information Coalition’s (IC) Information Strategy 2017 report rate their organization’s information-related metrics as severely lacking. In fact, they add, employees turn to unauthorized apps to get the information they need to get their work done.

Nearly 1,000 people responded to the online survey IC shared on its website and through social media. The survey looked at corporate information strategy and the impact information strategies have on information workers.

On the basis of that research, IC identified 1,000 data points covering the use, management and securing of enterprise data in the US. To make the data more useful, IC President Nick Inglis said the organization broke it into 15 actionable nuggets.

“If you pull up other reports they are every text heavy, very numbers heavy and I’m not sure that that is really what companies need to move things forward,” Inglis told CMSWire. “What companies really need is something or someone who shows them what they need to move their projects forward."

Small Steps to Better Governance

Inglis formerly worked at AIIM and was responsible for developing some of its training programs. The IC, founded three years ago, is a relative newcomer to the space. It is the same group of professionals behind the Information Governance Conference, and the developer of the Information Governance Model.

The Information Governance Model is a benchmarking/assessment tool that can be used by enterprises to assess whether their information governance and management strategies are working or not.

This year’s report, taken as a whole, is sobering.

“It’s time for a call to arms. We are seeing continued struggles and there hasn’t been a lot of leadership that has been effective around information governance, especially compliance and security,” Inglis said.

“Then there is risk and value. The last 20 years have been focused on risk, the value hasn’t hadn't received a lot of attention. That has to change.”

There is a lot of value to be had in effective strategies. Take, for example, communications between management and workers.

Improving Communication Strategies

Since the last report in 2016, more organization are improving their communication strategies about information management and systems. According to the 2017 data, at least half of respondents said their communication strategies are now “good” or “great" — but more than 40 percent still believe communications are an issue.

“The message is being received — that was one of the findings that is brand new and something that really surprised me,” Inglis said.“Seemingly people are starting to pay attention to the things that information governance professionals have said for the past 20 years.”

Information security remains a priority for more than 90 percent of organizations.

“With highly publicized security failures, all attention is focused on information security these days,” he said.

“However, while many organizations are spending heavily on security, they are still neglecting information architecture. The two elements — security and architecture — need to be developed together."

Making Information Findable

While a lot has been done, there is still much to do. Most organizations are still struggling with making information findable for employees, for example.

“Issues with findability stem from a combination of poorly executed information architectures and incredibly high user expectations because of the effectiveness of consumer/web search technologies like Google,” the report reads.

“The CIO focus has been on security and infrastructure so organizing information hasn't been a high value priority. The CIO or CTO needs to shift focus on this, but it’s not clear how this will unroll."