Legal22 January, 2016

How to implement an Information Governance strategy

Today volumes of electronic data are being generated faster than it takes to print out a contract. Discussions about what data is created, where it is stored, who is responsible and what its value is are commonplace in boardrooms today as businesses discover that they need a plan to manage their data. Information Governance (IG) is the solution adopted by many organizations to address the situation. Although there is no official definition, it is the umbrella term used to describe the policies, behaviors and technologies organizations use to minimize the risks and costs associated with data retention and collection to make better business decisions.

Below are some words of advice to follow when implementing an IG strategy.

Don’t get stuck before you start

The timing is never going to be perfect to put an IG strategy in place, which is why it’s a good idea to create a long-term roadmap when you start. A long-term roadmap is helpful to look at the big picture and decide what you will conquer this year and in subsequent years.

Appoint an officer

An Information Governance Officer is qualified to lead the program and make decisions about data in order to provide an in-depth understanding of how the company’s data can be used to enhance business decisions.

Break it into pieces

IG is too complex and involves too many steps to execute as a single project across the organization. In order to prevent you from losing steam before you’ve started, break it up into smaller projects with a defined goal and benefit for each step.

Don’t forget about compliance

Even with a proactive IG strategy and the right infrastructure in place, employees will still contribute to the efforts. Failure to comply with the proper policies can create information chaos. Proper policies for data loss, security and privacy should outline what is permitted and what is not.

Establish clear metrics

You can’t manage unless you measure – and this holds true for IG. Organizations have to remember to make the data visible so people can take action. Make sure that all employees are involved in training so they understand why the organization is implementing an IG strategy, how it affects them and why they’re included.

Invest in infrastructure

Traditionally, IG has been a manual task, with employees categorizing and managing their own data. As a result of the volume of data generated today along with the associated security risks, this approach is no longer desirable. Solutions should assist in automating the process of identifying, categorizing and storing the data. Legisway helps legal departments digitize their legal documents and provides valuable insights to drive decisions based on the data.

Takeaway

When considering the abundance of unstructured data throughout an organization , an IG strategy is moving from a “nice-to-have” to a “must have.” Successful IG programs take months, if not years, to fully develop and require a strong relationship between decision-makers, the legal department and corporate IT departments. IG is more than just managing your data: it can result in a much smoother workflow and better cost control.

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