It’s time to have an executive “conversation.” You know which one. The one that is tied to personal and organizational health. Here’s a typical checklist:
OK, OK, OK. I’ll do 1 through 8. I promise. I’ll be serious this time. I’ll do them ALL if you’ll just lay off number 9. Just please, please, please, don’t talk to me about information governance. Ever.
When I talk to executives, I often explain the importance of effective information management in terms something like this:
“You have financial systems in place to manage your organization’s financial assets. You have ERP systems in place to manage its physical assets. You have HR systems to manage your people assets. In the Information Age, you need a system and a process to manage your information assets.”
Usually I get a lot of executive head nods when I say things like this. Yet when push comes to shove, there’s a lot more good intention going on relative to information governance than concrete action.
According to AIIM’s Information Governance - records, risks and retention in the litigation age in only 15% of organization’s is Information Governance “in place, important and communicated and enforced.” 15%.
There are a lot of reasons for this gap between intentions and reality:
All of the above are true, but I feel the real reason for inaction is that the WHY? of information governance is not fully understood – at a gut level – by executives. It’s the same with the other items on the above Executive Check List. NO ONE eats more fiber or goes to the gym every day just because it’s good for you, at least once the glow of New Year’s Resolutions fades. The habit will not be sustained unless the underlying rationale is fully internalized.
Some of the ways we have traditionally spoken about Information Governance don’t really help it meet this gut test. According to Gartner, “Information governance is the specification of decision rights and an accountability framework to encourage desirable behavior in the valuation, creation, storage, use, archival, and deletion of information. It includes the processes, roles, standards and metrics that ensure the effective and efficient use of information in enabling an organization to achieve its goals.”
Yikes. I guess this is true, but not really what will get executive blood flowing. The Economist Intelligence Unit found that the single biggest worldwide challenge to successful adoption of information governance is the difficulty in identifying its benefits and costs.
Executives typically care about results and accountability for the following:
1 – Increasing revenues.
2 – Reducing costs.
3 – Reducing risk.
That’s it. And if that’s the case, it is through this triad that the WHY? of information governance must be understood if we’re going to make any progress in this area at all. Let’s take them in reverse order.
Reducing risk. This is perhaps the best understood WHY? of information governance. If you are in an industry in which there are either compliance or litigation concerns and costs (uhhh…let’s see…is there one in which these are not a concern?) then the only way to reduce this risk is to have defensible information management policies.
However, this is where the argument for information governance usually stops. Usually this leaves governance in the hands of people with “Information,” “Legal,” or “Records” in their title. In a tight economy in which competitive pressures are constantly rising, I fear that risk alone is a necessary but not sufficient reason to take information governance seriously. Forrester’s Alan Weintraub notes, “Good information governance isn’t just about risk, it’s about making the business more agile.”
Reduce costs. Left to their own devices, the “business” will view litigation, compliance, storage costs related to ever-increasing volumes of information as externalities. They will assume that “someone else” will pay for it, and continue to engage in a content and information consumption binge that will inevitably result in what IBM’s George Parapadakis calls “content obesity.” Per the Compliance, Governance, and Oversight Council, “90% of the data in the world was created in the last two years. We have reached a tipping point: the growth rate of information now far exceeds IT budgets and the processes for governing that information.”
The ONLY way to reduce these costs is by reducing the scale of information being saved. And the ONLY way to do this effectively is through information governance. And the ONLY way to scale information governance is by automating as much of it as possible.
Increasing revenues. Talk to any executive long enough and inevitably something like the following will come up: “We need to increase customer engagement as a pathway to capturing share and growing revenues.”
For many years, the content management industry has talked about “getting the right information to the right person at the right time to make the right decision.” Even though this rationale was overstated in the early era of content management systems, it is now at the heart of the business problem of customer engagement. Information overload and content chaos threaten to overwhelm our ability to understand and act on customer needs. It is through this prism that we need to consider information governance.
Content and information is the currency that flows through all of our core processes. Absent a strategy and framework for making its management an organizational priority, no one will be accountable for its success or failure. Per Gartner’s Deb Logan – “the root of all of our problems with information…is the fact that there is no accountability for information as such.”
So the time has come for the executive suite to take action. Get out of the office and manage more by walking around. Get more exercise. And get serious about information governance.
Have you checked out AIIM's new Information Governance course?
I recently did a post on the current state of play of SharePoint in organizations, and included some recommendations from Doug Miles, our in-house analyst -- Hot Off the Presses -- New Market Assessment from AIIM.
We're going to be covering this topic in 2 upcoming seminars, on October 1 in Minneapolis and on October 10 in New York City. The events are free, and are pre-approved for 5.5 ICRM Certification Maintenance Program (CMP) credit hours and 5.5 AIIM Certified Information Professional (CIP) credit hours.
Atle Skjekkeland has also pulled together the totals and the highlights of the Records Management and EDiscovery functionality in SharePoint 2013 into a presentation. Check it out HERE. Feel free to use and reuse and send to colleagues and embed and do whatever floats your boat.
I recently did a post on the need to sell the WHY? of Information Governance -- If you want the Exec Suite to care about #Information #Governance, you need to clearly answer WHY?
We've been thinking a bit more about this question, and have put some of the answers into a presentation via my colleague Atle Skjekkeland. Feel free to use and reuse and repost and embed.
Delivered at Kodak Alaris Global Directions conference.
We've just released our new SharePoint survey. First thing, before talking about some of the insights in the report by AIIM Analyst Doug Miles, is to GET YOUR COPY. The research is free, but only for a short period -- after that, it will become a member only resource.
I'll probably do a follow-up post on some of the numbers, but let me for now hop to the end of the report and recap some of Doug's recommendations based on the research. Sound advice.
Last month, I did a post on the need for greater simplicity in enterprise solutions -- I Want Simple Solutions Even a CEO Could Love.
The lack of simplicity and predictability in our enterprise solutions translates into frustration in the executive suite that is higher than I've ever seen it. A few data points from a recent CEO survey sponsored by the Harvard Business Review, The Economist, and others illustrate this frustration:
“Almost half of CEOs feel IT should be a commodity service purchased as needed.”
“Almost half of CEOs rate their CIOs negatively in terms of understanding the business and understanding how to apply IT in new ways to the business.”
“57% of the executives expect their IT function to change significantly over the next three years, and 12% predict a complete overhaul of IT.”
“Only a quarter of executives feel their CIO is performing above his or her peers.”
Of course, frustration is a two way street. I recently came across a funny routine by Scottish commedian Billy Connolly on how he sees the rising expectations that women have for men. Substitute CEOs and CIOs for women and men (and with some Garage Band editing to make the riff acceptable for a business audience) and I think you have a pretty good description of how CEO expectations appear to the CIO. Listen HERE. [Kudos to CIO of Oglivy for making this connection at an AIIM Executive Leadership Council meeting; love it.]
Check out the original post -- I Want Simple Solutions Even a CEO Could Love
We're doing a webinar on September 25 on what I like to think of as the forgotten link in the document lifecycle chain -- output management.
Generating variable data documents when and where you need them can really create workflow bottlenecks if your staff has to manually collect the information from multiple sources. Whether you’re printing, faxing, or emailing your documents, a centralized, integrated, and automated document delivery and distribution system should streamline the workload.
We're going to go over some brand new research -- it's worth a connect.
In addition to going through the new research, our AIIM Analyst Doug Miles will cover a series of recommendations on how to more effectively manage document delivery and distribution -- a sample...
Please enjoy these recent reports and new infographics from AIIM Market Intelligence which are free to download:
The Elephant in the Room is Compliance. Secure collaboration for financial services content via mobile and cloud
Research has shown that 33% of organizations expect to see “half or more” of their employees using iPads, tablets or digital clipboards for filling in forms in 5 years. Is your business ready to handle this shift in a responsible and secure way? Download here.
Mobile Content Security and Productivity
Organizations want their employees to have access to corporate information from mobile devices, but security and compliance are major areas of concern. This white paper measures the concerns over BYOD security, the issues with directly accessing on-premise content, and the collaboration functionality users expect on their mobile devices. Download here.
Jump-start your paper-free journey
The business case for kicking paper out of the organization is overwhelming – it takes up space, slows things down, creates costs and limits flexibility. This white paper looks at why organizations hold back from taking the paper-free step, and discuss the pros and cons of outsourcing document-oriented processes. Download here.
AIIM Trendscape: Content and the Cloud
Recently, AIIM convened a select group of content and information management professionals in London and Chicago, to deliberate the central question of the role that cloud-based technologies will play in the future. We are pleased to present the findings from those deliberations in this executive report. Download here.
SharePoint 2013 – clouding the issues
SharePoint 2013 brings new capabilities but also a number of new challenges. In this report, we look at the ongoing issues of user adoption as an ECM/DM system. We study the impact of the new 2013 features, particularly on third party add-on products. We look at the issues that cloud presents for SharePoint users. Finally, we measure spending plans for licenses, services and add-on products. Download here.
Intelligent Information Management - improving the customer experience
Improving the customer experience is critical to business success and competitive status. This white paper reviews the issues for improving customer experience across multiple input channels and the potential to automate response processes based on capturing and analyzing content. Download here.
A picture is worth a thousand words. These Infographics illustrate the challenges and solutions faced by today's Information Professional. From Social Collaboration to Enterprise Content Management (ECM), everything you need to convey key Information Management concepts is below. Download here.
ECM Maturity: is your ECM system maximized for business value?
Are you new to enterprise content management (ECM) or have you been developing your system for a number of years? Are you making progress fast enough to get the benefits of universal content access across the enterprise and between your core systems - or are you still struggling to get over that initial hurdle of user acceptance? Take this questionnaire.
Other AIIM research is available at aiim.org/research