In our previous look inside last year’s IGI Annual Report 2015-2016, the industry’s most comprehensive research on information governance (IG) as a concept, profession, and market, we discussed what is driving IG programs and projects at organizations. Today, we look at practitioner ratings of their organization’s IG program maturity, both overall and across five parameters. We also look whether they consider their organization’s IG program proactive or reactive.
Throughout the IGI Annual Report, we explore multiple dimensions of the IG work organizations are doing, including what projects they are working on, how long it takes to get started, and the factors that block or drive IG efforts. These snapshots into the work of IG provide important insights into what is happening at organizations, but we also wanted to know how advanced typical programs were overall. Specifically, how mature are IG programs, today?
We asked practitioners to rate the overall maturity of their organizations’ IG programs and then to rate maturity across five additional parameters which together are integral parts of a full IG program. We also asked them to assess whether they saw their IG programs as fundamentally reactive or proactive. We used the same general maturity scale throughout, in ascending order of maturity: non-existent, nascent, intermediate, and advanced. We also provided a description of what each level meant on each question. (See the Annual Report for details.) Here is what we found.
Overall IG Program Maturity
The vast majority of practitioners ranked the overall maturity of their IG programs and their components at either a nascent or an intermediate level. Very few practitioners ranked their programs as non-existent. This suggests that most of these organizations at the very least are doing something about IG and, overall, have either some elements in place, and are building the foundation (nascent) or have an established but still developing program and are building the framework and structure (intermediate).
This bodes well for the discipline. IG programs are moving forward. This is consistent with other findings throughout this Report showing that IG work is being done in organizations of all sizes across all industries.
Maturity of IG Policies and Procedures
With respect to the maturity of their organizations’ IG policies and procedures, practitioners are almost evenly split between nascent and intermediate with the latter reporting policies and procedures have been updated to reflect the current operating environment though they are still not comprehensive. Given these results, it is not surprising that updating policies and procedures is both one of the top projects organizations have underway today and one they would undertake if they had resources and authority to do so, as reported elsewhere in our Annual Report.
Maturity of the Facets of IG and Coordination Between Them
A major value proposition of IG is the operational role it can and should serve coordinating the various information-related functions (“facets”) across an organization, putting an end to “siloing.” For an IG program to work, however, key facets need to be in place and mature enough to function, as well as coordinate with each other. We explored both of these points under maturity assessments.
Most practitioners told us these facets are nascent, meaning that many relevant information-related functions are either missing or underdeveloped. However, most practitioners said that the maturity level of coordination was intermediate, meaning there was some planned coordination happening, but it was not comprehensive. These results suggest that, while organizations might be coordinating some information activities, many of them do not have all the facets in place or developed. Organizations need both to succeed at IG.
Maturity of Auditing, Monitoring, and Enforcing
Most ranked their programs as intermediate with respect to auditing, monitoring, and enforcing compliance (meaning some activity is happening, but it is not comprehensive), even though this is a higher rating than the average rating for overall program maturity. This is not unexpected, given that the catalyst for IG programs has traditionally been external regulatory, compliance, or legal obligations.
Maturity of the IG Technology Environment
Most rated their IG technology environment as intermediate, meaning that there is technology in place to address some IG requirements and that more advanced and comprehensive approaches are being considered and implemented. These results are not surprising when one considers how integral technology is to the execution of so many IG projects.
Are Most IG Programs Proactive or Reactive?
In our discussion of drivers of IG in our last look inside the Annual Report, we considered how organizations could sometimes find themselves reacting to incidents rather than planning for them. Ideally, as IG programs mature, they will shift from a reactive to a more proactive posture. When we asked practitioners how they view their programs, they were about evenly split with around half describing their program as reactive and half saying it was proactive. In contrast, three-quarters of providers rated their typical customer’s program as reactive, perhaps because providers are often called in after an event or incident has already occurred.
Your organization’s overall IG program maturity is a composite of its maturity across the parameters explored here, and many others. You may be doing great on one parameter but falling short on another. For truly effective IG, all of these parts of your program (and others!) need to be functioning. The goal should be that they, like the facets themselves, are part of an integrated, functioning whole. Look to these charts to get a sense of how your organization stacks up against others and to get a clearer idea of the parts of an IG program that are essential to its success.
The IGI has begun the process of developing the 2016-2017 IGI Annual Report, building upon the success of the last two years. As part of the research for our Report, we are conducting a survey of information governance professionals. Please participate in our survey to help us create a great resource for the IG Community. The results will be published in a comprehensive Annual Report which will include a variety of infographics and other tools we will freely provide to the IG Community under a Creative Commons license. These infographics have become part of many IG practitioners’ internal presentations, and the Annual Report has become the go-to reference guide for many in the industry. In the meantime, take a look insider last year’s report. All data you provide through this survey will be reported anonymously.