Effective information governance (IG) is an essential part of conducting business in today’s increasingly digital world. Many corporations are sill working to catch up, and have yet to implement an effective data management policy. The companies who have put policies in place are often struggling to ensure that they’re carried out properly.
Developing a solid information governance strategy can be a daunting task, and one that will be hampered by forgetting just one critical step in the process: completing a review of policies before putting them into action. Here are five steps that can help ensure a smoother transition from your current IT management approach to a streamlined IG solution.
1. Check Your Objectives
It may seem like common sense to suggest making sure your objectives will be met by your information governance policy, but failing to double check could lead to a slew of problems. It seems to be human nature to overlook the most accepted truths in nearly any situation; this is one time you can’t afford to let that happen. Your IG policies should be in line with your business objectives, and a quick double-check during review will ensure that your new standards will move you in the direction you want to go, not force you down the wrong track and backwards to boot.
2. Ensure Strategy Goals Are Met
As part of establishing new information governance policies, you should have evaluated your current work processes and identified areas that are vulnerable, redundant or are just disorganized and need cleaning up. During the review process, it’s important to make sure that these issues have all been addressed. After all, what good is an IG strategy if it isn’t meeting all the necessary metrics?
3. Disseminate New Policy Information
No matter how brilliant your new information governance strategy may be, it won’t work effectively unless all employees and management teams are aware of their roles going forward. This transition should start with an official company policy that’s been signed off on by all applicable parties; the review process is the perfect time to make sure this is in place. If you haven’t already conducted a company-wide awareness campaign, take the time to do that during the review process as well. Set standards now about employee expectations going forward, and be very clear about potential consequences if those are not met. Cooperation is a must to maintain effective data governance.
4. Lay Foundations for Automated Processes
Most information governance plans include moving some processes toward being either fully or partially automated. As part of completing your review, make sure these processes are in the wings and ready to go. Whether this means investing in new hardware, new software or a new IT staff, make sure that you and your team are fully prepared to make the shift.
5. Set the Date
The final step in the review process is to set the date for any new policies to go into effect. At the same time, you should also set up a schedule for running regular audits. Annual audits are ideal once your system is up and running smoothly, but running quarterly audits can be invaluable at the outset of establishing new information governance policies. Your audits help you identify what’s working in your new policies and what’s not; you can use that information to tweak your policies accordingly.
A Plan for Success
No information governance policy is going to be perfect out of the gate, no matter how comprehensive your review process is. Yet, without a thorough review, huge gaps can be left in your IG strategy that will cause far more problems down the road. Taking the time for a systemic, exhaustive review before implementing new policies can make all the difference in establishing a successful information governance strategy.
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