You're probably thinking using "digital transformation" in the headline is a dirty trick to get people reading about information governance and records management. 


What it is is a dirty trick to get information governance people to read about digital transformation — and how it's providing them with the chance to finally achieve their compliance goals at scale.

Face it: when records managers and lawyers walk into any IT initiative kickoff, the staff groans. They know this signals the arrival of a bunch of requirements that will bog down development and prevent their transformation efforts. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. 

The separate information governance fields should walk into that meeting with a plan to not only improve information exchange, but to further the capabilities of both the business and the information governance stakeholders.

What Is Information Governance's MVP?

Digital transformation aims to automate many of an organization's repetitive functions in a way that links systems and provides a more seamless experience to the end users. Or to put it simply, transform the business in order to humanize the experience.

This begins with a minimum viable product (MVP). A term from the startup world, an MVP represents a prototype/proof-of-concept that is not only meant to work in production but also serve as a foundation for the next iteration. Connect systems, test, improve and connect the next system. 

The question is, what does information governance require in a MVP?

The answer is: tracking the information.

Tracking the Information

All information governance initiatives start by determining where information resides, even if the answer is email and on people’s desktops. 

When working on a digital transformation project, the MVP requirement is the same:

  • Where is the information?
  • Which systems “own” the information?
  • Where would someone go for a definitive piece of information?

That’s it. Control doesn't enter into it here — it's too early in the process. 

Your goal is to make sure that the information is tracked and understood. Many systems will share this information, so knowing the source of truth and what information is flowing where is critical. When content gets involved, tag it with enough information to provide a complete context at a later time.

In subsequent iterations, information governance requirements can come into play. 

Your next step should be determining how to handle personally identifiable information over the long term. Take this step before adding control or retention. Simply point to the risk of a breach and IT staff will jump on board.

Lastly, ensure you're asserting the minimum amount of control it takes to accurately preserve information. 

Join the Digital Transformation 

When people talk about enterprise content management and information governance, they often refer to it being a journey. Typically, this is because stand-alone projects often wither and die. 

Taking things one step at a time is viewed as the pragmatic approach. We’ve been on this journey for over two decades and we still don’t see the end.

I've got some advice for you: forget the journey. 

Transformation projects are changing the enterprise. Jump onboard now to implement information governance. Don’t start with control, start with mapping the information. Contribute to the transformation effort. Help position the new processes and systems for later adjustments. Make sure that security isn’t the last thing that is thought of when designing systems.

Now is the time to make information governance the foundation for the next generation of solutions. If we transform how information governance is implemented, we can transform the industry.

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