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The best time to start your information governance program is now

Debunking information governance myths for the greater organizational good 
By: Kedar Thakkar

Summary

Why you should - and can - start your information governance program now.

Time: 5 minute read
Building an Information Governance (IG) Program within an organization can feel like a daunting task – totally overwhelming and requiring a serious commitment. 

On the surface, this feels like a correct assumption, however I want to offer a different perspective. 

Organizations routinely suffer from information-related challenges. Yet there is so much reluctance in taking on a program that could potentially solve several challenges and minimize risk for the foreseeable future. 

I’ve been on both sides of the IG perspective – as an industry practitioner and a consultant. In my mind, it is almost an excuse that makes it feel easier to just put IG on the back burner.

Building an IG Program does come with its own set of challenges, but these challenges eventually result in streamlining the organization’s entire information platform. In this article, I will debunk some of the common myths and misconceptions around creating an IG program and simplify this initiative to demonstrate that it is not unattainable.


In this article, I will debunk some of the common myths and misconceptions around creating an IG program and simplify this initiative to demonstrate that it is not unattainable.

businessman looking at  wall of question marks

What are the actual challenges? 

One of the biggest challenges is getting around the huge misconception that creating and implementing an IG program takes a ton of money and resources. That is just not the case.

In many companies, getting everyone on the same page is often one of the biggest challenges – but it is not impossible to overcome. If employees are unaware of the organization’s policies, they cannot comply with them. This challenge is virtually free to overcome by simply communicating, training, and socializing the new policies properly. Then on the back end, more time must be spent to enforce, monitor, and obtain feedback on an ongoing basis. This is crucial and goes back to the notion that IG should be a long-term, sustainable program. 

Another challenge (and common misconception) is the belief that IG can be handled as a short-term project or series of projects – and that is unilaterally untrue. Initiating IG is a long-term, sustainable program, not a project. A proper IG plan is built with a multi-year strategy in mind. A good program provides built-in flexibilities that allow you to go at your own pace based on the organization’s priorities, current needs and challenges, resources, budget, etc. Although there are certain dependencies, it still has the capabilities to pick and choose from a myriad of projects that be undertaken under this initiative.


Who are the stakeholders? 

Developing an IG Program is not a responsibility of any one department within the organization, it is actually all about structure. An IG program relies heavily on putting together a structure within the organization that brings key stakeholders together to solve information related problems. 

By merely formalizing this structure itself, organizations can achieve some unbelievable results. Imagine! What can’t be solved with the right type of talented individuals sitting around the same table? Again, setting up a structure is something that can be handled in-house with no budget.

Another important thing to keep in mind is the fact that IG involves everyone. Information is being handled (and unintentionally mishandled) by every single person at every single organization. For the most part, employees try to do their best to handle information properly. But that is based on the knowledge they have on the information and tools they work with. 

And this is a key aspect of implementing an IG program – employees need to have actual education and awareness for doing the right thing with the information they work with; this can also be handled in-house.


Let’s talk budget

There is a lot you can do right now and without breaking the bank, you likely just need guidance.  A common thread I have seen across different organizations is the myth that resources and money are a huge challenge. In my experience, they’re really not.

Another common budgetary myth is what we call “the technology conundrum”. Many organizations have gotten into a habit of just throwing technological solutions to every problem. However, when not implemented correctly, they often end up creating more problems rather than solving them. 

An IG program does not revamp your entire IT world, nor does adding technology necessarily solve it . A lot of the time, organizations already have the tools that simply need to be tweaked with the right level of governance to bring out the best results.

It’s true that for a long-term program, you’ll need to assign ongoing budget, but if you start simply and work with a consultant or expert, you can achieve a lot before you spend any money.


So, when is the best time to start?

Let me say it plainly: right now. Talk with a consultant if you are unsure where to begin, but as outlined in this article, there are many things you can do to get going on your Information Governance journey. 

What you can do you should do – and you should do it now.


Ready to discuss where to begin? 

 
 

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Portrait of Kedar Thakkar
Kedar Thakkar is an industry-recognized records and information management practitioner with 14 years of experience in a variety of non-regulated and regulated industries. He specializes in developing robust IG programs to identify, protect and leverage the information assets of organizations. With a strong IT background, he also brings a unique perspective to this field. Kedar has experience working as an in-house practitioner as well as an independent consultant in IG, allowing him to understand and implement IG principles from both perspectives. 
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