Information Management,This Information Governance Thing May Have Some Legs #informationgovernance
Will the adoption of “information governance” backfire on records and information managers?

The Thrill is Gone

Once upon a time, technology was daunting. Today, as younger or more knowledgeable professionals enter a business unit that reclaimed its information systems from a centralized Information Technology department, CIOs and CTOs face multiple reality checks. 

They work with generations who administrate their own mobile devices or disassemble and reassemble laptops as easily as the infrastructure services manager. Depending on the organization, the CIO may be hoping, calculating and presenting to senior leadership annually that the average hardware expenditure per user is less than Gartner’s recommendation. That’s not easy work -- in fact, it can be exhausting. It’s not necessarily stimulating, though.

It’s only logical that the next frontier (from their point of view) is tackling the absurd amounts of data the organization has created or migrated in the past 20 years. We records professionals know exactly what to do. We’ve worked our entire lives to arrive at this moment. The challenge is will the CIO view us as partners?

Who Will Adopt It?

I posed this question to a records colleague earlier today who said, “Litigators, not CIOs, are our new best friends.” This makes some sense; Gartner told us over a year and a half ago that

By 2016, 20 percent of CIOs in regulated industries will lose their jobs for failing to implement the discipline of information governance successfully. 'We’ve seen rapidly growing interest in information governance related topics, and this trend shows no signs of abating,' said Debra Logan, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. 'Information governance is the only way to comply with regulations, both current and future, and responsibility for it lies with the CIO and the chief legal officer. When organizations suffer high-profile data losses, especially involving violations of the privacy of citizens or consumers, they suffer serious reputational damage and often incur fines or other sanctions. IT leaders will have to take at least part of the blame for these incidents.'

I beg to differ on part of that opinion: records managers as well as business units know exactly what regulations they must comply with in day-to-day operations. The difference is some willfully ignore them. I agree that CIOs and CLOs should strategize best deployment. They should also include the records and information manager. Information governance equals long-term vision, but it’s more likely that an organization will embrace short-term payoff as opposed to investment strategy. 

Now For Some Data

Recently, I was a guest on a SharePoint panel. A very impressive gentleman from Microsoft encouraged all of us to experiment with LinkedIn more often. I thought it was a great idea and I’ve followed some of his advice: for example, for a short time I changed my professional description from “Mimi Dionne Consulting” to “Information Architect.” He was right: the number of colleagues external to records and information management (RIM) increased dramatically. I suddenly found myself connected to a new and fascinating cast of characters.

I’m running an experiment. Every twelve hours I post a RIM-related inspirational update on LinkedIn that is copied over to Twitter automatically. I’m leveraging specific RIM hashtags:

  • #agile
  • #CIOs
  • #cloud
  • #CTOs
  • #deduplication
  • #destruction
  • #ecm
  • #ediscovery
  • #electronic
  • #erm
  • #executives
  • #infopro
  • #informationgovernance
  • #informationmanagement
  • #o365
  • #paper
  • #records
  • #recordsmanagement
  • #recordsretentionschedule
  • #social
  • #supportyourrecordsmanager

I’m curious to know whether or not #informationgovernance significantly impacts number of views on LinkedIn positively (positively = over 100 views and negatively = below 100).  I realize the below is a small sample, but the short answer is: not necessarily.  See the data (click on image for full size):


The first column is the update/tweet. The second column is the date posted. The third column is the number of views in the first week of measurement. The fourth column is the number of views in the second week of measurement. Note I’ve highlighted the rows in which the number of views is over 100. I’ve also highlighted #informationgovernance in red whenever it appears in an update/tweet.

Proceed With Caution

I’m not one for wringing my hands. I do, however, proceed with a thorough caution whenever I can and in this instance I think it’s warranted.

I like the idea of information governance very much. Yet I don’t believe organizations are willing to embrace it without a thorough debriefing and vetted experience by other companies in that specific industry. In addition to my small statistical sample, I submit to you for your consideration the disparity between records competencies and advertised positions (admittedly, ILTA just finished its conference -- the good news is more information governance positions could be advertised soon).

The good news: ARMA is offering a certification. The bad news: it believes the certification is worth US$ 599. It could be a while before information governance is widely accepted.

I’ll continue to collect statistical measurements and report them back to you. As the hiring season for 2014 launches in the next month or so, this should be interesting.

Title image courtesy of Leszek Glasner (Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: Hungry for more Mimi? Read her Records Management: Retention Schedules Take a Back Seat