Top 10 Things your Business Needs to Know about Information Governance
In today’s business world, every business should be adopting a good level of information governance, not only to comply with regulations, but also to establish a company-wide standard in how to manage information. Information governance is more than just handling records and meeting compliance requirements, it encompasses every aspect of a business.
What is information governance?
There are several definitions for information governance. InfoGov Basics’ definition is:
“The effective use and management of an organisation’s information assets to derive maximum value while minimising information-related risk. It encompasses all of the rules, regulations, legislation, standards and policies an organisation needs to comply with when it creates, shares and uses information.”
Information governance, or IG, is essentially the way an organisation uses and stores information via a framework of processes and procedures. But it goes beyond just keeping records, it also includes data stored electronically.
The core elements of information governance are content and records management, classification and auto-classification, imaging and archiving, recovery and access. A business needs to adopt the principle that information is an asset, it has a purpose and the business has an obligation to manage that information correctly, which goes over and above merely complying with regulatory, audit, legal and discovery requests.
Why does my business need information governance?
For many businesses, they are already overrun with the number of worldwide regulations that they need to comply with, be it industry-related, government-instigated, or on a voluntary basis. Add to this the data privacy laws and legal aspects of running a business, which prompts the need to be able to correctly store, search and retrieve information efficiently for a variety of purposes. But many businesses are also finding that information governance is unlocking the value of business information to drive development, customer improvement and agility.
Top 10 benefits of information governance
The benefits of adopting information governance are far and wide, from costs savings and improve productivity to better IT and data storage.
By clearly understanding the information a business holds, better decisions can be made about what is and what isn’t of value, the systems and procedures that are no longer needed, the gaps that need to be filled and the potential information can have on other areas of the business, such as analytics.
Benefit 1 – Data becomes valuable business information
Most businesses have so much data coming in but ensuring that the right people have the right data, at the right time and in the right place is a big challenge. The policies and procedures of an information governance program turns all that data into business information, so that it becomes only accessible by the people that need it, at the right time and place, and meets regulatory compliance.
Benefit 2 – Reduces risk, improves regulatory compliance
Information governance makes sure that the right information is available at the right time, and that it is up-to-date, using an classification and tagging processes that is clearly defined, including the procedures for archiving and ‘defensible’ removal of information. This allows for the quick and simple retrieval of information for audit, regulatory and legal requirements, thereby minimising business risk.
Benefit 3 – Better decision-making and improved business agility
Every business collects huge amounts of data. Being able to analyse and interpret trends using that data makes for better decision-making. Going one step further by defining how that data is accessed by end users, internally and externally, and structuring this alongside corporate processes, can drive business agility.
Benefit 4 – A better customer service
Today, the customer expects more from the business they are engaging with and that means staff need to be able to access relevant information quickly, wherever that data is held, in order to respond to the customer on demand. Information governance is the standard by which all information is stored, categorised and accessed.
Benefit 5 – Reduces costs of any potential discovery or litigation
Information governance allows businesses to not only decide which information needs to be retained, but also the information that needs to be identified and accessed easily by the right people, at the right time. Thereby, discovery costs are significantly reduced and legal fees are far less.
Benefit 6 – Improve the value of IT
As many new IT projects fail as succeed and even if the new IT system is rolled out, not all business users will see or know its benefits and the system is not used to its full potential. Information governance will help a business to understand the value of its IT assets, and develop a strategic framework for implementing new IT systems.
Benefit 7 – Remove unnecessary information from the business
Most businesses don’t know the content of the information they hold, and therefore are unable to turn that information into valuable, usable data. This affects the business’s ability to be able to operate and take advantage of potential opportunities. Information governance is all about business value. By destroying information that is not necessary or is useless, the information that remains is of value to the business.
Benefit 8 – Better collaboration between customers, employees and partners
The more staff and business partners collaborate, the more successful the business. Being able to share the right information to the right people on a collaborative basis, ensuring the business maximises its potential yet minimises risk, an information governance strategy can support this.
Benefit 9 – Reduce information storage costs and administration
Information governance will highlight data that is of no value, as well as identify systems and applications that are no longer required yet are taking up space, and costing the business money.
Benefit 10 – Consistent information policies throughout the business
Rather than how a policy is applied being decided by individual people, information governance defines how a policy is applied via a single centralised information management policy that is flexible, meets regulatory requirements, and meets the needs of the business.
At Archive-Vault, we understand the importance of document management, helping businesses to not only meeting the legal and regulatory obligations, but also securely organise, categorise, store and retrieve information at the right time, to the right people, in the right place. We specialise in making the process of document archiving, simple and seamless.