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PHOTO: Sam Wermut

In the last two posts, I’ve explored how to get other people to care about information governance (IG): from more general, high-level considerations to more specific guidance around how to align with what non-IG folks care about so you can get stuff done.

In this post, I want to continue the trajectory and dig even deeper to address how to leverage existing (and already funded) business initiatives to make progress with IG.

Related Article: No One Cares About Information Governance But You

Fuzzy Proposition + Fuzzy Guidance = Fuzzier Mess 

No one outside of IG really understands IG, so despite your best efforts to explain it to the wider world, you’ll always fail — information governance will remain “fuzzy” to them.

Given that, your first instinct may be to tie IG to high-level corporate goals and objectives … but these tend to be only slightly less fuzzy than IG.

We’ve all experienced it: top execs head off to a cushy off-site location to do corporate planning. They come back with a diagram that’s some flavor of a circle, broken into three segments, each named something like growth, agility or innovation, with a ring around them labeled governance or corporate responsibility or compliance. Picture the Mercedes logo and you’re 90% of the way there.

You might be tempted to try to tie information governance to this vision because, after all, it’s the organization's direction and would seem to be the best bet for getting support and funding. And if you do, you’d be wrong. Precious few folks at your organization (especially those with funding and support) understand how to execute against this glorified peace sign, so tying IG (already a fuzzy proposition) to this equally (if not more so) fuzzy guidance is a losing bet.

All you’ll accomplish by doing so is making IG an even fuzzier pursuit, which is something you want to avoid at all costs.

Related Article: Why Would You Care About Information Governance?

Hitch Your Cart to the Getting Stuff Done Stars

In the face of this exponential fuzziness, your best bet is to find the people who already have funded initiatives and piggyback on them to get support. But you can’t do this if you speak to them of information governance rather than business — they’ll give you blank stares and send you packing. Instead, you need to hear what they’re trying to accomplish and then connect the dots in business language for how your IG efforts can help them achieve their goals.

And while the specifics will be almost entirely dependent on your organizational context, here are some industry specific generalizations to get you inspired:

  • Energy (Utilities and Oil and Gas): Improving asset management (preventative and corrective maintenance, turnarounds, safety, etc.) relies on getting the right documents to the right resource at the right time.
  • Healthcare Generally: Patient data needs to be handled with extreme precision, whether according to existing regulations (HIPAA, HITECH, GDPR, CCPA) or expected (immanent federal regulations on consumer privacy).
  • Health Payers: Reduction of claims paid versus premiums collected relies on accurate and timely data about health care spend among various demographics.
  • Life Sciences: Integration with third parties (whether due to mergers and acquisitions or leveraging partners for R&D, clinical trials, regulatory, manufacturing, etc.) requires knowledge of what data resides on what systems.
  • Property and Casualty Insurers: Evolution to customer-centric operations (e.g., mobile apps, born digital processes, etc.) requires full command of data and repositories.

This list is far from complete, but is a good start. Again, take the time to understand how you do business and how you make money — then tie IG to that and you’ll find it much easier to get support and funding.

Related Article: Success in Data Handling Must Be Guided By Ethics

No Really, No One Cares About IG

Your organization already funds the work it needs to do. Trying to get IG funded for IG’s sake on top of that is a losing proposition. Instead, work to find ways to tie IG to already funded initiatives and you’ll increase your chances of success — as well as your impact on the organization.