In the breakout session “Information Governance in the Now,” panelists explored where IG stands today as a concept, as a practice and as a market.
This panel was moderated by Julie Colgan, Head of Information Governance Solutions at Nuix. Panelists included IGI’s General Counsel Jay Brudz, Partner, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP.
The panelists discussed the fact that information governance is moving from theory to practice. But what exactly does it mean when people say they’re doing information governance? Is information just a new name for records management, or is it something else?
Those may be hard questions to answers. But it’s Brudz’ opinion that while most mature organizations are good at managing records, the people in charge of that task don’t typically interact with the business people to ensure they have the information necessary to make the best decisions for their companies.
The solution to the problem is to create the position of the chief information governance officer (CIGO) – a C-level executive who can bridge that gap between the governance side of the organization and the business side to help business get done what it wants to get done, Brudz said.
“It’s not just about risk, it’s also about opportunity and where you can build that bridge,” he said. “For a more mature organization, CIGO is that bridge. Someone has to be in charge of the governance of information and we need accountability and properly empowered leadership to get this done.”
Colgan agreed that what’s needed is for disparate stakeholders to come together to ensure that big data initiatives have the foundation upon which to be successful.
“If we are doing data mining to uncover insights about our customers or markets we need to have reliance that the information has integrity and it’s good to make decisions on and that trends we are uncovering are real and reliable to make decisions on,” she said.
Brudz also said that cybersecurity – particuarly in response recent data security breaches – as well as big data projects are going to drive executives to think about adding funding for IG projects into their budgets.
Information governance, therefore, should incorporate all the tools needed to better manage information. Implementing an IG strategy will help unlock the value of data and improve decision making.
In the “Information Governance 2020 and Beyond” session, also moderated by Colgan, a panel of IG visionaries, including Barclay Blair, IGI’s Founder and Executive Director, looked into their crystal balls to deliver predictions about the future of IG.
“Good information governance practice requires knowing where important data is stored, understanding what it is worth and making sure it is protected,” according to ARMA. “Over the next decade, technological and economic changes will challenge businesses; new data consumers, types, sources and endpoints will require businesses to continually adapt their information governance and security policies or risk losing data integrity.”
However, there is an incredible vacuum at the corporate governance layer around the problem and the opportunities of information, Blair said.
“The CIO title is a lie,” he said. “CIOs do not own information, they own infrastructure. So who is the owner of the information? That is the unanswered question that is going to be answered for sure by 2020. Will that person be a chief information governance officer as we have posited?”
For his part, Blair said he doesn’t care what it’s called but there must be a coordinating function to bring together all of the silos in an organization that are trying to solve the same problems: What is the value associated with the information and what are the risks?
“There’s no clearing house for those things to be rationalized in a logical way and that’s what’s needed and that need isn’t going to go away,” he said. “And it’s going to get funded – money is coming from information security into information governance.”
Panelists agreed that information governance is here to stay because the information silos are converging and now people in all departments are sitting together at the table, working in a more coordinated effort.
“Whether we call it information governance or not, I really don’t care,” said Jason Stearns, corporate vice president in the business resilience department and corporate records manager at New York Life Insurance Company. “Are we working in a coordinated effort for the same end result. That’s what I care about.”
Some panelists weren’t sure whether the person heading up this function needed a special title, such as chief information governance officer, as long as that individual was getting the job done. Others, however, said in terms of wading through the politics of an organization and selling IG programs internally, title matters – but the substance behind the title matters more.
“We need to entice people into the industry and if a title help people to be respected, then we need to have some sort of label, but we need to ask what the job description is,” Stearns.
Blair said the IGI is working on a job description for a CIGO – not to solve world hunger – but to push market forward to highlight the fact that there is a clear vacuum at the executive layer around who owns the information.
“Definitions are important because big companies won’t invest money in something unless Gartner says it’s a thing,” Blair said. “Vendors won’t put money into developing technology to solve a problem unless they think it’s a thing.”
For IG to become a mainstream discipline in organizations, it has to coalesce around a common understanding, so definitions matter, Blair added.
“We have to be speaking the same language to have this conversation,” he said.
As to the question of whether there is an IG market, Blair said, “our research indicates that people are buying and selling stuff that they think of as IG. If that’s not a market, I don’t know what it is.”
By 2020, a successful adoption of IG would mean it would be embedded into the way we do business rather than as a separate discipline and market, according to Blair.