Today's Currency – Digital Information
Information Governance. Another hot buzzword in information technology. It’s nothing new nor is it a radical new way of doing business. It’s just plain common sense. But why all the renewed focus? For over the past twenty years information has transitioned from being stored in paper format which requires vast amounts of physical storage facilities to digital format. Years ago, I had one client, an international bank, who stored all their archived information in caves – seriously. Now, most everything is digital. So a major change is the replacement of storage options for corporate information. But what else has changed?
Statistics abound about the growth of digital information. We all know that we are being inundated with information glut and managing that information, and if it isn’t a problem now it will be. The most widely used reasons to proactively manage information are typically practical and can be viewed as a mix of hard and soft dollars; improve search, increase productivity, reduce costs, etc. Achievable, absolutely. But what is changing is the view of digital information. It is not only the backbone that drives your business but it is the currency of your business. It is created, bought, sold, and often stolen. It is a business asset that represents value.
This is where information governance gets a bit more complicated. If we accept the assumption that digital information is indeed currency then it must be subject to the same rules and policies as any other corporate asset. In our Smart Content Framework™, two of the building blocks are Governance and Policy. To successfully implement both requires human involvement, from the top of the organization to the bottom. Governance is the broad umbrella that defines what needs to be governed and why. Policy is how to implement the controls that consistently improve the use, transparency, and value of the information to ensure compliance and achievement of business goals. This is what makes Information Governance a challenge. Quite simply, people are the reason for success or failure.
We’ve been implementing our building blocks for as an infrastructure component for companies of all sizes and industries. The most successful are those who believe that digital assets are currency and must be proactively managed to achieve quantifiable benefits. It isn’t easy but through a combination of technology, planning, and people as well as a step-by-step approach it is certainly doable and well worth the effort. Will it ever be perfect? No, because people will always find a way around anything. But technology is available that the human factor is minimized and in some cases eliminated to pave the road for success.