The Challenges of Information Governance: Taming Your Business’ Data Liabilities

Information governance practice has a huge impact on businesses — the absence of good information governance practice is told in fines, lawsuits and missed opportunities for efficiency and profit. More factors than ever have arisen to complicate the equation and put companies at risk. In the digital age, we face the proliferation of content formats, systems, and file types; these universes of data are rapidly expanding as we speak. In addition, we transact business in totally different ways. I might execute a contract in email, modify it in a text message and breach it on a social networking site.

Then there are technology platforms: LANs, WANs, SANs and a whole host of other computers full of records. Compounding matters are the presence of third-party service and storage providers, Cloud computing vendors and social networking sites with servers potentially choked full of company records that go unmanaged or ill-managed. For many organizations large and small, knowing what records exist and where they live has become a major headache.

Today’s business environments and “big bucket” retention systems have created a false sense of confidence and the mistaken impression that the establishment of company-wide information governance practice is too “old school” in this age of databases and hosted applications. This assumption is wildly mistaken.

Add personnel and process to these already-choppy waters: a key person who had a department’s methodology in his head leaves the company abruptly, or multiple employees at a company have competing and overlapping systems, with no clear, designated owner of the documents.

I’ve seen these factors conspire to create huge drags on a company’s efficiency, profitability, and morale. I launched this blog to highlight the very real problems faced by companies like yours — and deliver some practical ways to start making better sense of the problems. In my years in the business, I’ve seen and solved almost every information governance scenario out there. I humbly hope that you find this experience valuable. Thanks for reading.

  1. Chris RyanChris Ryan12-06-2010

    Jeanne, thanks for the posting. The challenges of information governance are many but so are the penalties if it is not done correctly. I appreciate your bringing these important issues to light.