The Dos and Don'ts of Starting Information Governance

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Information Management Spirals out of Control

There is very little consensus about how to alleviate the problems with information management.

I write about data management and governance a good deal, but the fact is, there's a lot more to manage than structured data these days. That's why more experts are talking about information management and information governance.


Of course, data governance isn't easy, simple or even popular, and as you might expect, the challenges only grow when you step outside the traditional data domain to manage information as a whole.


Maybe that's why so few companies are doing it. Hewlett-Packard commissioned a survey of 641 business and IT leaders about information management and 70 percent did not have a holistic approach to information management. Of the quarter that have a holistic approach, it's only partly implemented.


If that's where information management is, you can imagine where information governance ranks. But when you go to manage something, it's never too long before you have to look at governance.


The good news is, information governance isn't an all-or-nothing proposition. In fact, starting small is probably smarter than a "mass remediation," because you're less likely to become overwhelmed and paralyzed, according to Barclay Blair, president and founder of consulting and professional services firm ViaLumina Group.


TechTarget's SearchContentManagement interviewed Blair and other experts about what it takes to start an information governance program. Among their recommendations of Dos and Don'ts:


  • Don't try to use someone else's program or even rely upon a consultant to do the work for you, but do tailor the governance strategy to fit your company's needs.
  • Don't start by asking employees to change operating processes or give up something they use, but do find governance advocates or sponsors within each line of business and bring them to work together on cross-functional governance.
  • Don't just impose governance. Do seek out similar, successful initiatives, such as data privacy, data governance or MDM, that can serve as a starting point for information governance.
  • Don't do governance for it's own sake. Do establish specific business goals and apply metrics to measure achieving those goals.