What is Information Governance?
With the vast amount of information changing hands in the modern business landscape, information governance has become more vital than ever before. Essentially, information governance is the blueprint for how your business will manage information that already exists within an enterprise, while mapping out how new information will be ingested by the organization.
With that being said, information governance extends far beyond simply managing information. More specifically, information governance revolves around leveraging information to achieve business goals. This could include mining insights from big data, implementing automation to aid efficiency, or drilling down into data to help recognize cost-saving opportunities.
It’s not just digital data though—information governance must account for all physical assets as well. All devices owned by the organization and all paper files must also be part of an information governance program. For large enterprises, this can be increasingly difficult as the amount of digital data and physical storage space needed to house records is growing exponentially.
Why Information Governance?
While traditionally regarded as a legal requirement or safeguard for potential litigation, information governance encompasses far more. Aside from helping organizations build legally defensible programs, it’s also a constantly evolving discipline that remains in constant flux.
Because of this, it’s imperative that information governance programs are not left stagnant. They need to be constantly repurposed to address compliance and records management laws that can change at a moment’s notice.
Data overload is another reason why information governance is crucial for fast-growing companies. With the amount of cloud services utilized by the average enterprise now in the thousands, there are an increasing amount of data trails that span a long list of networks and systems that need to be accounted for by each organization.
Big Data, Big Problems?
It was Mae West who said that “too much of a good thing is wonderful,” but this saying doesn’t always hold true with data. Many organizations are infatuated with the idea that big data will drive process efficiency gains and cost-savings, yet fail to realize that with big data comes big responsibility.
If your organization’s information governance practices are immature, big data can often only add to organizational inefficiency. ARMA defines a “mature” information governance program that is either “proactive” or “transformational.”
The former implies that an organization’s approach to information governance is “not content to merely meet the minimum requirements; it is aiming to continuously improve.” The latter is even more desirable, as “meeting requirements (has) become utterly routine” for these organizations. Furthermore, their “information governance has evolved to the point where the focus is not merely on regulation and legal requirements but is now offering a competitive advantage and even improving client service.” The “proactive” and “transformational” designation are the highest ranks an information governance program can receive.
Conversely, the lower levels of the ARMA scale identify more problematic information governance programs. Level 1 is the lowest grade an organization can receive, identifying an “environment where records concerns are not addressed at all, are addressed minimally, or are addressed in a sporadic manner.”
How Western Can Help
If information governance has started to overwhelm your organization, it’s not something that can be swept under the rug. The longer an organization waits to address their information governance issues, the more complex and problematic they can become.
The experts at Western Integrated Systems have worked with organizations of all sizes, helping to construct a mature and adaptable information governance program that is in line with your business goals and compliance obligations.
These problems are often caused by the root issue of mismanaging paper documents. So why not eliminate that variable completely? The modern enterprise can’t expect to hire employees who don’t make mistakes, nor can they expect every vendor to pay on time, every time.
A document management system can help organizations realize a comprehensive solution that will help streamline this process so that your business keeps moving forward. They can capture documents at the beginning of their lifecycle, which will eliminate many of the pitfalls that come with managing paper documents. Those documents can then be routed to the appropriate personnel, based on a designated set of rules that are in line with an organization’s workflow structure.
Western Integrated Systems has been pioneering digital transformations for clients since 1981. Our 40 years of experience in the industry means we have both the experience and knowledge to tailor a solution for your enterprise—one that will help drive your bottom line and increase efficiency.