Super Valu sign on building
Information governance must provide value for end users. PHOTO: Alan Levine

Knowledge workers in your organization don’t want to do records management and information governance. For the most part, they just want to do their jobs without daily impediments.

That's why information governance professionals must start small and demonstrate the value of their governance programs for end users.

Those were some of the messages Box executives and information governance officials drove home in a two-part webinar series with CMSWire.

Value, Not Risk, Drives Information Governance

“Focus on the value of information,” Chris Walker, principal at PHIGs Information Management Consulting, said on the webinar, “Tackle the Big 3 of Information Governance: Use digital transformation to power retention, discovery and classification."

“It’s good to see a lot more people are coming to the realization that information governance is really around the value of information rather than just about risk mitigation.”

When organizations focus on the value, Walker added, the risk mitigation stuff takes care of itself. 

What helps organizations keep the focus on value? Do not try to make users into records managers, automate whenever possible and build information governance into your business solutions.

“Don’t,” Walker said, “make it an afterthought.”

Keep your intentions with information governance transparent, said Tom Shepherd, director of customer architecture at Box, who spoke on the webinar along with Walker.

Transparency means value, which in turn means a better content management and governance experience.

“You’re trying to add value for the end user,” he said, “by improving their day.”

Build on a Clean Data Foundation

screenshot of box cmswire webinar

Walker said most information governance approaches boil down to common sense. 

If you don’t need the data, then why collect it? 

Organizations get “scared to death” by things like the GDPR. But if you’ve cleansed your data by eliminating unused data, you’ve got the start you need.

“Part of process has to be cleaning data and getting rid of PII [personally identifiable information],” he said.

Regulations like the GDPR are all the more reason, though, to ensure your facility has a good grip on all its data and where it’s stored, Shepherd added.

“I’ve worked with large multinational customers and this has been absolutely been a critical focus the past two to three years,” Shepherd said of pending data regulations like the GDPR. “Now is a great time to be thinking of the foundational part of information governance.”

Baby Steps to a Full Information Governance Program

Any information governance program is useless without an accurate picture and classification of your organization’s data.

The second Box-CMSWire webinar, “Information Governance in the Age of Digital Transformation,” argued accurately capturing and classifying information can lead to a simbiotic relationship between information governance and business processes teams.

From there, start small, focus on the very moment in time and what you want to accomplish now, rather than an extreme change.

Dumping a grand information governance program and vision can leave some end users feeling lost and overwhelmed. 

Box talks often about developing a “minimum viable product” when it comes to information governance.

By taking an iterative approach, employees can grow accustomed to the program incrementally and managers can gain buy-in for the program.

Have a defined set of tasks with specific people assigned to them. If it’s clear and focuses on those small set of principles, it can be achieved.

Mapping the Information Flow

screenshot of box cmswire webinar

Laurence Hart, director at Dominion Consulting, discussed on the webinar how information governance is part of digital transformation, which he refers to as a way to “transform the business to humanize the user experience.” 

Hart said some best practices for information governance include:

  • Mapping the information flow: Where do customers come to interact with you? What information do you need to access? What systems do they touch? Who needs to work with it? 
  • Automate what you can: The value organizations can bring is how they handle exceptions, the “edge cases which make or break organization,” Hart said. “How you handle that will define how people perceive your organization.” 
  • Focus on value: People cringe when information governance professionals come into the room for fear of increased requirements, costs, time to implement. That’s why the focus needs to be on bringing value to the table. 

“Start with a process that delivers value,” Hart said. “Move the scary things to the backlog."