Analysts Examine Current Pitfalls, and Best Practices Associated With Information Governance at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, 4-8 November in Cannes, France
Gartner predicts that organisations who do not approach information management in a coordinated, enterprise manner, will fail in the first or second year at a rate of more than 90 per cent. Many organisations want to exploit their information assets and address issues surrounding information overload in order to achieve their efficiency, transparency and differentiation objectives. At the same time, they want to ensure appropriate safeguards and measures are in place to protect sensitive information and minimise risk. Despite the recognition of the importance of the issue, many organisations do not have formal information governance programmes, or coordinated information management strategies in place.
“IT professionals have focused for too long on technology and not enough on information,” said David Newman, research vice-president at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo. “The business expects to have the right information at the right time to get the job done. It also expects information to be accurate and consistent. Furthermore, senior management expects that adequate controls and defined accountabilities are in place to assure compliance and reduce risk. That’s why information governance is top-of-mind among any of our clients today.”
According to Gartner, a lack of information governance affects the bottom line. For example, companies in North America have lost more than $600 billion in revenue due to poor quality data. A telecom provider in the UK instilled data-quality awareness into its culture and improved revenue assurance by reducing revenue loss due to inaccurate billing from more than 15 per cent to less than 1 per cent. Additionally, compliance with regulatory initiatives (such as SOX or Basel II) are straining IT’s limited resources, which impacts the delivery of new development or system enhancements.
Most organisations manage information in separate silos: system-by-system or department-by-department. The result is a lack of consistency, transparency and quality of information assets across the organisation. Very few have a coordinated strategy or plan that seeks to reduce the cost, complexity and integration difficulties of sharing and exchanging information assets. Recognising this need, Gartner has established a framework for managing information as a corporate asset. Known as enterprise information management (EIM), Gartner’s framework consists of seven essential building blocks, which information governance is one of the seven essential building blocks of EIM.
Gartner defines EIM as an integrated discipline for structuring, describing and governing information assets (both structured and unstructured), to improve operational efficiency, promote transparency and enable business insight. Gartner predicts that through 2009 growing demand for consistent and transparent information management across the organisation will force EIM to mature as a discipline in 60 per cent of Global 100 companies.
“The purpose of information governance is to define the accountabilities and responsibilities (commiserate with organisational level) that ensure the accuracy, integrity, accessibility and security of information across the organisation,” added Mr Newman. A formal information governance discipline achieves the following tangible benefits:
Furthermore, the success of information governance relies on companies creating a working definition of information governance for their organisation. They need to distinguish between information that is valuable, worth structuring and investing in and everything else including what might constitute a risk. “Governance has different levels and different domains, what is maintained by the individual, the workgroup and the business (internally and externally facing) has different potential value for both parties and, therefore, requires different levels of investment and attention,” said Mr Newman.
Finally, information governance is practiced at all levels of the organisation. “As we see in compliance and regulatory mandates, information governance extends all the way from the boardroom to the mailroom. The organisation, at large, is responsible for the accuracy, security and integrity of its informant assets. It is not a one-time event or decision, but rather a continuous discipline that cascades across the entire organisation and is part of sound business practices,” added Mr Newman.
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