Information Governance Benchmark 2017: The Business Value of Long-Term Digital Information

In 2016 we were pleased to work closely with IGI Supporter Preservica to benchmark the state of the industry on the critical issue of governing and preserving long-term digital information. Our Benchmark Report exposed the troubling dynamic that while virtually every organization (98%) needs digital information for longer than ten years, very few (16%) have a viable approach.

This year, we dig even deeper, trying to get to the bottom of this dysfunctional dynamic and learn what IG professionals are doing about it.

The upshot?

Our 2017 research could not be clearer: long-term digital information is more important than ever. It’s driving business value and protecting organizations from risk. It is also proliferating, and can be found in more business functions and systems that before. Finally, the consequences of failing to properly govern and preserve long-term digital information only grow graver, with the impact felt all the way up to the CEO and board of directors.

Here are some additional highlights:

It’s the C-suite that suffers most. IG professionals told us that their CEOs, General Counsels, heads of Records Management, CIOs, and Boards of Directors are those most affected by failure in this area. Dropping the ball on governing and preserving long-term digital information not only creates multiple sources of legal, security, and compliance risks, but it also starves the organization of the information raw materials it needs to understand what happened so it can intelligently predict what will happen. As big data technologies and techniques continue to radically improve our ability to harness our data, this failure will only grow as a grave threat to competitiveness and innovation.

Business value rises to compliment risk. Value and risk are two sides of the same coin –a dynamic that has played out since the very beginning of commerce itself. But while legal and regulatory requirements have long driven preservation and governance of long-term digital information, the quest for business value is rising as a major driver too. In fact, the vast majority of organizations (83%) realize (or plan to realize) direct business value from their long-term digital information, targeting areas like market analysis, product development, and customer service.

Proliferation across systems and functions. While it is no surprise that collaboration environments (e.g., file sync and share, enterprise content management) are identified by IG professionals as the most likely location for long-term digital information, we were surprised by other systems in the top five, including accounting and transactional systems. Long-term digital information is proliferating.

Awareness of technological solutions lags. Why do organizations struggle to realize business value from their long-term digital information? IG professionals told us that two of the biggest reasons are organizational immaturity and a lack of proper tools and technology. At the same time, they told us that capabilities like “ensuring readability and usability of information” and “proving authenticity and trustworthiness” are critical to their ability to govern and preserve long-term digital information. These are capabilities that can in fact only be delivered through technology, and in fact technology that has been designed specifically to address the range of challenges inherent to long-term digital information. These technologies are available today, and it is disappointing to see that awareness of them and access to them continues to plague organizations.

We have captured additional insights in a series of infographics that we encourage you to download and put to good use as you build support for solving this problem in your organization. It was a pleasure to work with Preservica on this research, and we hope you get value from its insights. We look forward to bringing you the next benchmark in 2018.

Click here to view & download the Preservica 2017 Benchmark Infographics in the IGI Community.