building an IG initiative

Building a Strategic Information Governance Initiative

Information governance isn’t something new, Morgan Templar told us in our recent webinar: Three Quick Wins to Kick Start Information Governance. Maybe you’ve called it something different, or didn’t have a name for it at all, but it’s been there in your company. Compliance requirements, growing regulations, especially around privacy and the use of data, have always been a concern. Now we add to that the growing amount of information collected, it’s improper storage and often improper usage.

It’s not good enough to say you didn’t know employee Sarah was storing PII information in her Google drive or that employee Todd let his kids play games on his laptop where he keeps a copy credit card applications to work on at home. If you don’t have some type of information (or data) governance plan in place, you’re asking for trouble. And guaranteed  you’ll get it.

In our webinar, we asked attendees what the current state of information governance was in their organization. The results in the chart below show the work that needs to be done.


InfoGov readiness

Building an Information Governance Plan

“Despite this growing focus on information governance, it can be challenging to motivate an organization to take it on as a corporate initiative. When information governance is perceived as a large enterprise project driven from the top, stakeholders can be discouraged by the lead time and effort required to obtain results.” (Morgan Templar)

In the webinar, Morgan talked about three things impacting the need for a governance plan:

  1. Regulatory or Accreditation requirements: It’s only about meeting regulations, it’s about dealing with the results of an audit that shows you aren’t meeting a regulation. Maybe you’d like to think you have everything under control, but it’s more likely that things will slip through the cracks. When they do, you need a way to ensure you can remediate the problems and get back on track. Morgan noted that projects tied to meeting regulations or accreditation are more likely to get funding.
  2. Data Quality Impacts: Data quality comes in several flavors: those that arise from customer or stakeholder complaints and those that are known inconsistencies in data and need to be dealt with.
  3. Customer Experience: There was time when the connection between information governance and customer experience wasn’t known or discussed, but today it’s a key driver of governance programs, particularly those that focus on privacy. But it’s not just about the quality of your customer data, it’s also about delivering a consistent experience across all customer touchpoints (web, mobile, telephone) – if you don’t have a governance program ensuring your information is connected and the same across departments and applications, you will have issues.

Tips to Building the Strategic Initiative

Morgan provided several tips to help you build your strategic information governance program.

  1. Establish a consistent strategic framework. You have to know what information is important to measure because you can’t measure everything. What is driving business outcomes? That’s where you need to start defining your framework.
  2. Identify key performance indicators. Focus on KPIs that are consistent across departments and teams such as 90% quality on data entry, or obtaining a customer experience approval rating of “x”. Once you know the KPIs you will track, you’ll know what information you need to capture.
  3. Think beyond your team or department. A true governance program works for your entire company, not a single team or department. You have to involve stakeholders who work across the entire information lifecycle. Understand how information is created in one area and used downstream to get a full view of your information.

Building a Culture of Collaboration

“Get in the habit of being inclusive of all Stakeholders creating a culture of collaboration. This is critical for successful governance.” -Morgan Templar

Morgan suggested to socialize the vocabulary of outcomes of governance as you work on initiatives. A few tips:

  • Call people by their titles
  • Include references to data dictionary, data glossary, and/or data model when you frame your governance messages
  • Add a governance impacts section to your weekly status reports
  • Ensure that outcome reporting rolls up to the highest levels

Stakeholder buy-in requires building and maintaining trust and that trust is built through clear and regular communications. You need to involve all stakeholders from the beginning and ensure their input is articulated and reported on. You will also need to be clear when something doesn’t fit the scope of the project and outline a path to getting ideas approved and added in to later stages.

Morgan also talked about having a clear communications plan that RASCI (who is responsible, accountable, supporting, consulted and informed), and that you continually demonstrate the value of the governance framework to ensure continued support.

You can hear more from Morgan by watching the webinar on demand.