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Who Is Leading IG at Organizations, Today?

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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 IG program maturity assessments. Today, we look at IG leadership trends at organizations.

In analyzing the work of IG, we would be remiss to ignore one of the most important parts of any IG program, i.e., the people who design, develop, implement, and enforce our IG programs. In our annual research, IG practitioners identified developing a corporate governance framework for IG as the top project they would undertake if they had authority and budget to do so. These results suggest that there is a real hunger within the IG community for greater clarity on IG operations and leadership. But how are organizations actually addressing IG leadership? Here is what we found.

We asked practitioners if their organizations had delegated overall accountability for IG to a specific individual. Over a third said yes. These numbers are up from last year, and we would expect them to continue to grow as the discipline matures. Of practitioners who reported that their organizations had delegated IG accountability, over a third said that person also had the words “information governance” in their title.

We believe that IG leadership at large, complex organizations calls for a Chief Information Governance Officer (CIGO) who is on par with other C-level roles like the Chief Information Officer, Chief Data Officer, or Chief Information Security Officer. As it stands, just under a third of organizations that have delegated IG authority to someone have also designated an IG leader with this level of authority.

While we advocate for the CIGO role, we certainly recognize that not every organization is ready for one, or indeed, will ever need one. This does not mean organizations cannot benefit from an IG leadership position and at different levels of IG program maturity. The IGI’s CIGO Task Force developed a maturity framework to show what IG leadership might look like at different levels of IG program maturity. The model may be thought of as both descriptive (i.e., showing what an IG leader would do day-to-day at each level) and prescriptive (i.e., showing what it would take to move an organization to the next level). A detailed description of the IG leadership role at each level and a sample job description is available in the CIGO Task Force Report published on December 7, 2015.

Depending on how mature your organization’s IG program is, it may not be ready for a C-suite position for IG. However, that does not mean IG cannot benefit from a designated leader. Look to the maturity framework below for ideas of what an IG leadership role can achieve at your organization’s current IG maturity level.

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.