The dark corners of Information Governance

Information governance is a subject that’s interested me for years and one in which I actively worked both as an analyst at 451 Research and in product marketing at Recommind. But it’s a slow burner – that’s for sure.

The recent Information Governance Initiative report that I looked at here made just about the best attempt I’ve seen so far at assessing the realistic state of the market and made some very interesting points that I summarised in that post.

But there are a couple of things holding this market back that I think we could solve quite simply. Firstly, I think there’s still too much navel-gazing about a definition of the market and we should accept the one that IGI uses – or something very close to it – and move on. That would enable us to focus the discussion on the business problems that can be resolved – or at least aided – through an efficient information governance program combined with the right technology.  And secondly, I think we also have to accept that there isn’t a market in for information governance management applications, that is an application that can monitor and manage all aspects of information governance inside an organisation from one place. Rather, there are point applications that perform the functions that together make up an enterprise information governance program that will be managed by a combination of people and technology.

One of the most common of these point functions is data migration. Sure, it’s been happening for years, yes it’s quite boring; but it’s what information governance looks like in reality. In the dark corners of enterprises around the world, where applications are being retired because companies don’t want to pay maintenance just to have access to their data, or the vendor has end-of-lifed the product, people are moving data from legacy systems to new ones.

When you do that you might as well make an effort at cleaning up the data so you don’t bring over redundant information to the new system. That used to be too hard to do as nobody in their right mind would want to manually go through megabytes of data by hand. Now it’s gigabytes, terabytes and petabytes we’re talking about that, the only way to do that is by using technology to automatically sift through it. Luckily, such tools exist. I used to work for one such firm, but there are others too, depending on your budget and project scale.

That, folks, is information governance, at least in part. It’s not sexy, it’s not even particularly exciting. But it’s necessary and useful to the overall information management strategy of any organisation.

In future posts I will look at other aspects of information governance, including C-level attitudes towards it, some of the models put forward, the cloud and how IG aligns with other business application areas.

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