As part of the IGI’s ongoing work to help professionalize and promote information governance (IG) we have the opportunity to see how hundreds of different organizations approach IG. Although every organization’s IG challenge is unique there are actually more similarities than differences in IG problems and their solutions.
By looking at one organization’s experience with IG in detail, we can learn valuable lessons and gain practical insights that will help all IG professionals mature their IG programs.
This case study reveals a typical but complex IG problem: managing the relationships among key IG players, including:
- Outside law firms that play a central role in approving, blocking, and/or advising on key IG decisions (like information retention and preservation).
- IG technology vendors that supply the necessary capabilities to understand and take action on your information.
- IT departments that actually have their hands on the dials and levers of the systems that house and control your information.
- Business stakeholders like department heads who will be directly affected by the policy and technology choices you make.
- Risk-focused departments like legal and audit that own key IG decisions.
IG projects require tight alignment and coordination amongst these groups. However, given that these groups often have differing levels of interest, expertise, and even competing goals, this dynamic often derails otherwise well-designed and executed initiatives.
The key to navigating this dynamic is establishing clarity about the role of each stakeholder – especially about each player’s mandate and level of authority. Again and again we see nobody taking IG decision-making authority unless it is clearly given to him or her – often simply out of a desire to avoid conflict and to get along with colleagues. Given the relative immaturity of IG, the owner of this authority is often unclear.
As we will see in this case study, Les Schwab found a way to work closely with these stakeholders, and in particular establish a close and fruitful relationship with an outside law firm that not only accelerated its project, but also helped to increase its positive impact on the organization.