Consider the data that drives your organization, from spreadsheets to emails, reports, presentations and even text messages. Effective information governance ensures security and accessibility of that information while improving regulatory compliance and reducing data storage costs.
Although organizations generally recognize the benefits of data governance, implementing and sustaining a successful information governance program can prove challenging. With so much data and so many people involved, all too often even brilliant strategies fail to thrive.
As with any initiative, careful planning means the difference between improved productivity and efficiency and wasted time and money. Set the stage for success by involving key personnel, timing your approach and focusing on simplicity.
1. Get the Right Stakeholders Involved
While technology facilitates data management, people and processes form the heart of any successful information governance strategy. Begin by securing executive sponsorship. An executive who fully buys into the governance program will drive the process forward, building engagement and understanding.
In addition to the executive sponsor, representatives from all business areas should take a seat at the table. This helps to break down information silos and also ensures that strategies address the unique information needs of each area. In addition to management, front-line employees provide valuable perspective into workflows and data usage.
Finally, the organization should appoint an information governance leader with the authority and vision to move the strategy forward. With executive backing, this leader will work across department lines to build understanding, maintain connections and enforce policies.
2. Choose the Right Time
Implementing successful information governance will likely require changes to the way employees and partners create, store and dispose of data. Often, people resist change unless they can connect that change to a clear benefit. Tying information strategies to a large project or an accepted goal improves organizational and individual buy-in.
For example, migrating to the cloud with Office 365 requires substantial changes to business processes. This presents a perfect opportunity to introduce data policies. Other opportune times to implement information governance could include a company merger or a major software upgrade.
3. Simplify for Successful Information Governance
Do you remember the last time you determined to lose weight by exercising two hours a day and following a complicated diet plan? Chances are that your brilliant plan lasted no more than a few days. Just like diets, overly complicated or unduly difficult information governance strategies tend to fail.
On the other hand, companies succeed at information governance when they keep strategies simple, easy to understand and implement. Start lean and grow incrementally, one project at a time. Pick projects that can demonstrate ROI or clearly address a business risk. For example, an organization may choose to begin with a GDPR compliance project.
In addition, wise use of technology can help make information governance seamless by automating much of the process. For instance, with Office 365, organizations can set controls for email retention and document sharing, thus reducing the need for employees to remember specific policies.
Partner with Information Governance Experts
With information silos, limited budgets and a lack of understanding about the importance of data management, all too many information governance projects fail. Ensure success by securing buy-in, tying information governance to key projects and making it easy to understand and implement policies.
The information governance experts at eMazzanti have helped organizations around the world to develop plans for managing data and mitigating security risks that threaten sensitive information. We can work with you to protect your information assets while increasing productivity and reducing costs.