Throughout our conversations with people in the IG community, we have been told repeatedly that hearing what other practitioners are doing is especially valuable to advancing the discipline of IG. The community is eager to learn from fellow practitioners’ answers to questions like: How did you get started with IG? How did you “sell” the program internally? What obstacles did you encounter and how did you overcome them? What are you working on, now—specifically, how are you achieving successful IG? In Stories in Information Governance: The IGI 2015 Benchmarking Report, we look at how some practitioners have answered these (and other) important questions, and we provide useful “tips” to practitioners based on those responses. In our blog series, IG Stories, we explore excerpts from the Benchmarking Report.
In our last look inside the Benchmarking Report, we saw how one organization was breaking down silos to achieve IG success. Today, we learn how bringing in a consultant might help get your IG program started and how a lack of high-level support for IG can sometimes be a serious barrier.
Size: Over 10,000 employees
Program Maturity Rating: 2 – Repeatable (Self Ranking) / 3 – Defined (Our Ranking)
2014 IG Budget: Unreported
2015 IG Budget: Unreported
Evan is a records manager at a Fortune 50 insurance company. His position falls within the legal group, and he handles records management for in-house counsel and compliance, a group of several hundred people.
Evan’s responsibilities have grown over the years from shipping records offsite to now managing the totality of information that moves through his group. He is currently involved in a large information management project aimed at pulling together the different pieces of how information is being handled so that they can be uniformly managed.
Right now, he reports, it is difficult to have a clear view into other parts of the company, and he considers it a bit like “herding cats.” The goal is to bring all of this under control within a reasonable amount of time and money.
Using a Consultant to Get IG Started
Bringing in a consultant is sometimes an effective way to get an IG program or specific project moving. Consultants bring an outside perspective and can sometimes provide a clearer view of the problem (and hence the solution).
Evan is using this approach. The general counsel wanted to do better at IG and wanted to make sure that the company was not unnecessarily keeping outdated and useless information. To achieve their goals, they hired a consultant to help build consensus and to pull things together.
Taking the consultant’s advice, they are now working on a large project that includes a defensible disposition analysis and the development of an overall strategic plan on how IG should be organized and led. They started in legal but are now looping in other departments. There are initiatives underway in various parts of the company, and they are trying to pull these together with a consultant under one effort. The chief of staff to the general counsel is leading the charge.
The Need for C-Suite Support
Evan identifies the absence of a “CIO-type” leader as the single biggest barrier he faces. The responsibilities of a senior IG leader are now spread out across the company. He needs someone at a higher level with sufficient authority and budget to get the work done.
Many practitioners point to the lack of executive sponsorship as a barrier to achieving their IG goals. Some, like Evan, are beginning to see the importance of elevating the role to the C-suite. Many IG programs suffer from the absence of a single person with the authority and breadth of organizational knowledge to join all of the parts of IG at a company into an operational whole.
At the IGI, we support the creation of an IG-specific position, the Chief IG Officer (CIGO). The CIO could serve this function, perhaps, but at many organizations, they are only responsible for technology infrastructure and not the information itself.
Use Outside IG Expertise
Using a consultant can help bring new perspectives on old problems and can jump start an IG project or program. If your IG efforts are stuck, consider bringing in outside help to get you started. Consultants are sometimes a way to effectively supplement your internal knowledge base.
Create a Senior IG Role
The lack of a person with the knowledge and authority to tie an organization’s IG program into an operational whole can lead to its failure. Elevate IG authority to the C-suite with the creation of an IG-specific role, like the CIGO.