Top Benefits of Information Governance

While regulatory compliance or litigation activities are often the spur for initiating Information Governance, there are a wide range of benefits for any company that implements an Information Governance programme.

These include the tangible cost savings from better IT and information storage utilisation when the unnecessary data is removed from corporate systems. Information Governance will not only identify information that has no value to an organisation, but also the systems and storage media that are no longer required for processing or managing that data.

Increasingly, many organisations are focusing on the business agility and profitability benefits of an effective Information Governance programme. By clearly understanding the value of the information you have and setting in place the processes and procedures to securely access it when and where required, an organisation can unlock the potential of their information in areas such as business analytics and collaboration.

Here is our list of key benefits:

Data only becomes valuable when it is appropriate and accessible. Most organisations have an ocean of data but getting it to the right people, in the right place, at the right time is a major challenge.

Information Governance turns that data into business information by setting the policies and procedures to ensure that there are as few instances of that information as possible, that it is securely accessible to the people who need it and it is removed from the organisation as quickly as possible to meet regulatory compliance.

Organisations spend months, even years and millions of dollars in the discovery process. The business retains all of its information so the discovery team has to assess every piece of information that may be appropriate.

Information Governance enables fast and thorough e-Discovery by allowing only appropriate information to be easily identified and accessed. What could take a team of lawyers many months to complete can be accomplished with a fraction of the manpower and costs.

Information Governance helps to ensure that the information available to the business is appropriate and up-to-date. It should be underpinned by a process of automated categorisation and tagging, as well as clearly defined procedures for the archival and ‘defensible’ destruction of information.

As the regulatory environment changes and grows, gathering data for an audit can be achieved simply and efficiently. Record retention can be automatically built into the process, as can effective information security procedures to minimise business risk.

Big Data applications are increasingly important for many large organisations. The business collects massive amounts of data through its daily operations and the ability to analyse and interpret trends within that data enables fast and accurate business decisions.

Information Governance outlines at a strategic level how that information will be made available to business users. It sets out how unstructured information from both inside and outside the company can be combined with the structured data held in corporate databases to drive business agility.

Information Governance works with business users to fully understand how to deliver information with the greatest business value to users in their daily roles. For example, with contextual information, sales people have a greater knowledge of customers and prospects, can make informed and empowered decisions and can close more business earlier in the sales cycle.
Customers want to get their query answered by talking to one person on their first call. This means that customer-facing staff have to be able to quickly find all relevant information about a customer and their transactions. This is likely to be held on a number of different IT systems.

Information Governance sets the standard for the way that all information is organised, categorised and accessed.

When there is so much information, it is often difficult to locate the information you need – or even know it exists. A recent survey suggested that US companies lose $900 million in lost productivity each year for this type of information overload.

Information Governance can ensure that there are as few versions of a document or piece of information as possible and that the information is stored appropriately for the people that need to access it.

Many new IT projects fail to deliver the expected benefits. This is often because there is a disconnect between the IT department and the business user. When new IT systems are rolled out the business user may not see the value it delivers to their particular role. In such cases they often don’t use systems to full potential, or find ways of working round them.

Information Governance helps you to understand the value that information sets have for particular business users. It provides a strategic framework for new IT systems to ensure that business users also understand that value and can work in a way that is as natural as possible for them.

With as few versions of information as possible and clear automated archival and deletion policies established, organisations can save a significant amount of money on their storage and IT infrastructure.

Information Governance highlights where legacy data that provides no value still resides within the company. Often, much of the information within an organisation will have outlasted the person who put it there anyway. It will also identify entire applications and systems that are obsolete but still consuming space and management costs.

Streamlining and improving many of the processes involved in the retrieval and management of information enables an organisation to maximise its deployment of Full Time Employees (FTE). For example, highly paid lawyers can be moved from information search within the eDiscovery process to more suitable, high value activities.

Controlling and reducing the proliferation of information storage and infrastructure, can help lower the number of personnel required to manage its data centres.

A full 88% of organisations in an Information Governance survey admitted that they did not know the content of the data they hold. As the volume of information grows, this inability to turn stored data into usable information represents more than a risk to the business. It affects the organisation’s ability to operate efficiently and exploit market opportunities.

Information Governance is built on a foundation of identifying the true value of information within the organisation. A major part of this is ensuring that unnecessary data is removed as soon as possible. Defensible disposal enables the organisation to automate the process of deletion to meet document retention and regulatory requirements.

Collaboration is an essential part of business today but there is a tension between the need of employees to increase the ability to share information and the need of the organisation to control and manage that information. The growth of collaboration platforms like Microsoft SharePoint has seen employees create hundreds of collaboration applications within the organisation – often without the organisation having any visibility of these applications.

Organisations must be able to create a secure and managed environment to encourage collaboration between employees as well as with customers, suppliers and partners. This is the role of Information Governance. Putting in place the policies and procedures to ensure the organisation can leverage its chosen collaboration platform in a way that maximises business value while minimising the risk.

Remarkably, one survey showed that nearly 50% of companies have had to recreate business information because they couldn’t find the original. The time and cost required to duplicate effort is substantial. More importantly, there is no integrity of information – at best there will be guesswork involved.

Information has to be stored and searchable – whether electronic or paper – so that it can be quickly and easily retrieved when required. Information Governance will include the automatic classification of information so that it will always be available as long as it has value to the organisation.

An increasing amount of business communication today happens outside the corporate firewall. Communication channels such as social media and instant messaging are creating large volumes of data. Where the data applies to an organisation, it has to m be managed in the same way as information held on internal servers.

This means enacting the same Information Governance process of identifying which information is relevant, establishing its value and risk to the organisation and setting the policies and procedures for management throughout its lifecycle.

Over half the organisations questioned in a recent survey stated that they rely on employees to decide how to apply corporate policies. The amount of risk that this brings to any organisation should be unacceptable. How one employee interprets a policy in one country may be very different from another employee in another country. In the end, there is no single corporate policy.

Information Governance introduces the discipline required to have a single centralised information management policy that can be applied throughout the organisation. Record management features such as a Master Document Template allow for information standards to be imposed but have the flexibility to meet the needs of local business and regulatory requirements.

Improving Patient Care

Information Governance is vital to Healthcare organisations worldwide. Not just to protect patient privacy but to ensure the correct information is available when required.
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