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How Mature Are Organizations’ IG Programs?

Have you taken the 2016-2017 IGI Annual Survey? Help us develop our next Annual Report by sharing your insights! Take the Survey today.

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.

In Practice
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.

 

What Is Driving IG at Organizations, Today?

Have you taken the 2016-2017 IGI Annual Survey? Help us develop our next Annual Report by sharing your insights! Take the Survey today.

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 the barriers to getting IG work done. Today, we look at the flip side and consider what is driving IG.

We put together a list of common drivers of IG and asked practitioners which were the main ones that get IG projects and programs moving at their organizations. Responses were ordered from the most to least common response. Here is what we found.

As we have seen elsewhere throughout the IGI research, a risk orientation currently predominates. Three of the top four drivers are focused on reducing or responding to risk. Routine, good business management practices was the fifth most commonly identified driver for practitioners. The good news is that over a third of practitioners said that this was a key driver for IG at their organizations.

In addition, about a fifth of practitioners identified an interest in extracting value from information as a driver. This latter result, in particular, suggests that the value-side of IG continues to gain traction—a trend we expect to accelerate as more organizations move on from IG foundation-building and position themselves through better data hygiene and management for value creation.

Many of the drivers of IG reflected in this list are events, incidents, or triggers. Something happens—a lawsuit, a restructuring, a change in leadership, or a technology transition—that spurs IG work to be done. Anticipated or not, these events often create the best opportunities for IG progress, as they reveal the price of information inattention, dramatically demonstrate the hard dollars being wasted, and free up budget that can be siphoned from related corporate initiatives.

A technology transition, for example, is a chance to inject IG into a business process without additional interruption to workflow. Even something like a lawsuit, and the need to respond to it, can be an opportunity. Indeed, some great IG programs appear to have been set into motion by just such events (See our 2015 Benchmarking Report for stories from the field about the impact of such events.).

However, an orientation of simply responding to incidents rather than planning for them is not ideal. If you are constantly in a reactive posture, responding to and putting out fires, you may be getting IG work done in one sense, but not the work you hoped to do or planned for. This issue is also taken up in our 2015 Benchmarking Report.

If you are having a hard time getting IG started, look to this list for ideas of what drives IG at other organizations. As we noted, some of the mentioned events can serve as opportunities to achieve meaningful IG progress. You should also look to this list as a cautionary tale. Some organizations are in a reactive posture, responding to incidents rather than preparing for them. If something unexpected happens, of course you need to respond appropriately. However, if, for example, you are in a litigious or heavily regulated industry, you do not need to wait until you are sued or an investigation is underway. You can build responses to such incidents into your routine IG practices. Sit in the driver’s seat of your IG program rather than letting it be driven by someone else.

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.

 

What Are the Barriers to IG Progress at Organizations, Today?

Have you taken the 2016-2017 IGI Annual Survey? Help us develop our next Annual Report by sharing your insights! Take the Survey today.

In our previous look inside last year’s the IGI Annual Report 2015-2016, the industry’s most comprehensive research on information governance (IG) as a concept, profession, and market, we discussed the importance of quantifying the economic impact of IG and how organizations are doing it. Today, we look at what the barriers are to getting IG work done.

Whether your organization is just getting started with IG or you are trying to move an existing program forward, you will surely encounter obstacles along the way. We put together a list of eight common barriers to IG and asked practitioners to select the ones that bedevil them the most. We found that most organizations report that they are contending with more than one major challenge at a time. Of the eight barriers listed, a majority of practitioners selected five of them.

Responses were placed in order of the most frequent response to least. The most commonly identified barrier, selected by a strong majority of practitioners was a lack of understanding/awareness of the value of IG. Though 50% of practitioners identified insufficient funding as a primary barrier, it is interesting that it appears so low on the list (fifth), similarly with the next most common response that IG is seen only as a cost generator (sixth). Though we often hear about costs as a major barrier to getting IG done, these results show that it is not all about the money for many organizations, today.

These rankings also reflect industry-wide IG program maturity. Elsewhere in the Annual Report, we discuss data showing that most IG professionals ranked their (or their customers’) IG programs as immature. The top two barriers to IG identified here are foundational ones that are typically addressed in the early stages of a program. Other factors including costs and disruption to business efforts will likely emerge as more significant issues as the work of IG gets more fully underway at more organizations.

The good news? The four most commonly identified barriers chosen by practitioners can be radically improved by simply educating stakeholders and getting them to think more clearly about the problem—an activity that doesn’t cost big money. Closing this knowledge gap is precisely what the IGI aims to achieve through its research, publishing, and advocacy work.

Of course, this is not to say that all IG problems can be resolved through education alone. Money needs to be spent, technology and services purchased, people hired, and leadership gaps filled as your program advances. For example, while education will certainly help with the second most commonly identified barrier (lack of communication across functional areas), for many organizations, formal leadership by way of an IG steering committee and Chief Information Governance Officer (CIGO) will be necessary—not a trivial task. We take up the issue of IG leadership in detail in the Annual Report.

If you are facing barriers to moving your IG program forward, you are not alone. Take heart also in the fact that you can make significant strides through education, especially if your organization is just getting started. Look to this list of obstacles other organizations have encountered so that you can be prepared for what you might face and start building a plan to address them. Know that these obstacles are not insurmountable. Learn from others how they overcame these barriers to build successful IG programs. The IGI’s 2015 Benchmarking Report is a good resource to start with, as are IGI case studies and research papers freely available through our community site.

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.

 

Is Quantifying Economic Impact Important for IG Success?

Have you taken the 2016-2017 IGI Annual Survey? Help us develop our next Annual Report by sharing your insights! Take the Survey today.

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 looked at how long it takes for IG projects to get started at organizations. Today, we look at how important it is to quantify the economic impact, whether organizations are actually doing it, what types of models are being used, and what goes into those models.

We often hear how important it is to quantify the economic impact of IG efforts. Attend any IG conference, and you will hear the same thing. This is what we expect and even hope for. After all, choosing to undertake any IG effort is a business decision, and we expect organizations to justify any expenditure of resources (people, time, or money) in terms of value to the organization.

But, do organizations really consider quantifying the economic impact important? If so, is such quantification actually being used to “sell” IG projects and programs? We explored these and other issues in our survey with a series of questions about financial quantification of IG impact and the models being used to demonstrate it. Here is what we found.

Is It Important?
We asked practitioners how important it was to quantify the economic impact of IG to the success of IG at their organizations. Similarly, we asked providers to tell us how important their customers and prospects believed the same measure was at their organizations. A majority of both segments (61% and 59%, respectively) concurred that financial quantification was key. However, are measures of economic impact actually being used to make the case for IG?

Do Practitioners Do It?
We asked practitioners whether they use economic models to build internal support for IG. Surprisingly, a majority (56%) said no. Curiously, while most practitioners report that they think quantifying the economic impact is important, far fewer are following through and actually using it. In contrast, when we asked providers whether they typically quantified the economic impact of IG products or services as part of their sales process, a clear majority (70%) reported that they did.

This clearly displays the disparity inherent in many organizational decisions: We claim to make clear-eyed, fully justified, rational decisions, but organizations are just as likely to make decisions for any number of additional reasons, including politics, gut instinct, institutional inertia, existing investments that need to be justified, fiefdoms, personality conflicts, and so on. However, buyers clearly are not shy in requiring sellers to jump through the ROI hoop, even if the results are ultimately not determinative.

What Models Are Being Used?
Providers are using the same primary models to sell IG that practitioners are using to make the case internally. Return on investment (ROI) was by far the most common model identified by both practitioners and providers (77% and 83%, respectively). Total cost of ownership (TCO) was in second with 47% and 64% of practitioners and providers, respectively, saying they used it. Full cost accounting was a distant third for both groups.

How Are Organizations Developing Models?
When we asked practitioners who said they used models like ROI to make the case for IG how they developed their models, the vast majority (84%) said they developed them internally, with only 30% hiring consultants and a sliver (3%) going to product vendors. This aligned with our expectations. To be effective, financial models must be tailored to the specific needs of an organization, and what it cares about can be highly variable even among seemingly similar organizations. It is no surprise that the vast majority of practitioners who used these models develop them internally.

What Goes into the Models?
We were also interested in the factors that IG professionals use in their financial models. “Soft” factors including risk reduction and cost avoidance topped the list (in contrast to what we sometimes hear from practitioners who scoff at including non-direct costs), and as expected, hard costs including software, hardware, and staffing also came out near the top of the list for IG professionals on both sides of the market.

These results give a sense of the complexity of the models used and the multifactorial nature of the process that goes into quantifying the impact of IG. They also show that a mixture of both “soft” and hard costs are included. Some of these soft costs, like risk and cost reduction or increases in employee productivity, are arguably harder to quantify, though both practitioners and providers clearly think they are important factors to include.

In Practice
Quantifying the economic impact of IG is critical to its success. Current practice reflects the roots of IG in risk. However, if IG is to serve a coordinating function for most of the information activities at a typical organization, evidence of its value-generation side must also be demonstrated. ROI and TCO calculations are foundations of quantifying the financial costs and benefits of IG and are the primary models used by organizations quantifying the economic impact of IG to build a case for it. Practitioners should master and use them as well as consider additional options tailored to their organizations.

While both practitioners and providers alike recognize the importance of quantifying the economic impact of IG, practitioners are not using this valuable tool to build support for IG as much as they could. In part, this may be because some quantification could be more difficult. However, hard to do does not mean impossible. Though practitioners should tailor their programs to meet the specific needs of their organizations—which will require internal steps to develop their models—practitioners might consider turning to providers that have more experience making the IG “sell” if they are hitting roadblocks when building their models.

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.

 

How Can You Increase the Velocity of Your IG Projects?

Have you taken the 2016-2017 IGI Annual Survey? Help us develop our next Annual Report by sharing your insights! Take the Survey today.

In our last look inside the IGI Annual Report 2015-2016, the industry’s most comprehensive research on information governance (IG) as a concept, profession, and market, we looked at what IG projects practitioners are working on or had planned in the next year. Today, we look at how long it takes for IG projects to get started and some ideas on how organizations can move them along faster.

We asked practitioners how long it takes a typical IG project to begin at their organizations from the time it is first conceptualized to the time that money and people are allocated to the project and it actually begins. We asked providers the same about their customers. Here is what we found.

IG projects take too long to get started. Most practitioners reported that it can take a year or more. We believe this is indicative of a lack of formality in corporate governance and decision-making structures around IG. In other words, at most organizations, it is still unclear where the budget comes from or who is in charge. This means more drawn-out processes that are often a threat to project success, as many of our benchmarking interviewees attested. (See Stories in Information Governance: The IGI 2015 Benchmarking Report).

Providers also report long lag times for IG projects to get started at their customers, although those lag times are shorter than what practitioners report for themselves. This may reflect that providers are being brought into IG projects later in the decision making process.

How does your organization compare to these project timelines? If your typical project is taking a year or more to start, you are certainly not alone. But do not take solace in this fact. While many IG projects are complex, remember that we are just talking about the time it takes to get started here, not how long it takes to actually do the project (which legitimately may take years, not months, like any enterprise project). Use this as a call to action to put foundational elements of your program in place so that you can speed up these times.

We expect this to improve as IG leaders emerge. A clearer understanding of what IG is and what it can achieve, as well as clarification of IG leadership and operational models, will help. This is a central mission of the IGI, and we address it throughout the Annual Report.

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.

 

What IG Projects Do Your Peers Have Underway?

Have you taken the 2016-2017 IGI Annual Survey? Help us develop our next Annual Report by sharing your insights! Take the Survey today.

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 looked at what IG projects practitioners would tackle if they had the authority and budget to do so. Today, we look at what projects IG practitioners were actually working on or had planned in the next year.

IG practitioners report that they have multiple projects in flight, today, and their focus is currently on foundational activities that underpin a solid IG program. As part of our research, we asked practitioners to identify the IG projects that their organizations were currently working on or planned to in the next twelve months. Here is what we found.

Practitioners identified updating policies and procedures as the most common project being undertaken. A strong majority of practitioners (69%) told us that their organizations had undertaken this type of project or planned to within a year. Updating policies and procedures was also in the top two on the aspirational list discussed in our previous look inside the Annual Report. The good news is that this foundational piece of any IG program, and one that is critical to its overall success, is both being recognized by the community as important and actually being done.

Interestingly, although defining and implementing a corporate governance framework for IG was the number one project practitioners said they would undertake if they had authority and budget to do so, it only ranked seventh on the list of projects practitioners were actually doing or planned to do in the next year. Several remediation-related projects ranked ahead of it. This suggests that while practitioners desire clarity on both IG leadership and operations, they are tackling more tactical projects.

As with the aspirational list, if you are just getting started with IG, look to this list for some ideas of where to begin. Consider using these lists as a way to benchmark your organization. How does your organization measure up against others? Are you ahead of the curve or falling behind? Again, however, only use these lists as a starting point or guide. Your IG program should be tailored to meet the specific needs of your organization. Finally, be mindful of how what you are doing stacks up against what you think you need to be doing to meet your organization’s objectives.

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.