Implementing Information Governance is like growing a garden. Let’s dig in!
Much of the work of planting a fruitful garden starts before seeds and bulbs are even bought and planted. Gardeners must strategize—figuring out what to grow, where to grow, and what to do with all the goods once they’re grown. This isn’t unlike the Strategic Alignment that must accompany an information governance program. Strategic alignment supports an information-driven, decision-making culture and ensures its workforce at all levels has access to the information they need to make good decisions in real time.
Without Data Governance, an organization’s data is here, there, and everywhere. It’s an essential sub-domain of information governance that provides for the design and execution of data needs planning and data quality assurance in concert with the strategic information needs of the organization. Data governance is akin to the tomato cages that surround those wily plants, whose vines would shoot to the sky, but collapse down on itself without the support from wire cages. Tomato plants would sprawl out across the whole garden if growers didn’t try reigning them in.
Privacy and Security
Gardens must constantly be protected from predators—whether that’s invasive plants and weeds or cuddly puppies that see a garden as their own personal playground. Gardeners have been known to use fences and scarecrows to scare off invaders, as well as pesticides to keep insects from devouring their crops. Security and Privacy are also keys to strong information governance. The Privacy and Security Safeguards competency encompasses the processes, policies, and technologies necessary to protect data and information across the organization from breach, corruption, and loss. Preventing a data breach isn’t as simple as installing a menacing scarecrow or guard dog, unfortunately.
Gardeners learn a lot of things through experience—that mulch generated by one’s own household is equal to or better than the kind purchased in garden centers. As each winter passes they learn how best to trim back the old plants. The creative types may also find that talking to their plants in encouraging, loving tones helps them flourish. Mastering Analytics for information governance purposes also requires an ability to take stock of what has and has not worked based on numbers and statistics. It can keep an organization from making the same mistake twice, much like forgetting to water your tulips during a dry season.
Enterprise Information Management
Learning how to plant, grow, and tend to a garden asks that individuals learn a whole new dictionary of terms and lingo. Additionally, a good strategy for making the most of a garden is to learn canning, freezing, preserving, and pickling techniques so that fruits and veggies last longer—much longer—after harvesting. This is the equivalent to Enterprise Information Management in information governance. This competency focuses on managing information throughout its life cycle, and includes management of enterprise practices for information sharing, release and exchange practices, chain of custody, and long-term digital preservation.
Ultimately turning your backyard (or window box, if you’re a city dweller) into a food production machine requires a good eye for logistics. It requires knowing that tomatoes can become huge and crowd out those tiny jalapeno peppers. It also means knowing what grows best in your climate and environment: tomatoes do better in shadier spots than sunny ones. It’s also best to be aware that growing certain plants close together encourages collaboration—and cross pollination. That’s what the core competency of Information Governance Structure achieves. It ties together the three core programmatic structures of Enterprise Information Management, IT Governance, and Data Governance. Above all, don’t fear getting your hands dirty—your hard work will be rewarded with tangible fruits of your labor.