Planning Your Information Governance Technology Strategy

By Dan Griffith

As part of your Information Governance strategy, you need a technology strategy. This is something many organizations struggle with partly because there are so many different technologies available that can help and they don’t know where to start.

Your information governance technology strategy is a key element of your overall governance strategy and should serve as the foundation upon which you initiate both the complete strategy and the individual initiatives, or projects; you do as part of that overall strategy.

So what does this technology framework look like? Glad you asked. Here’s a quick snapshot.

Understanding the Information Governance Technology Framework

To build the underlying technology foundation for your information governance strategy, you need a set of capabilities that support a range of processes and governance initiatives. In the diagram above, these are the core capabilities:

  • Connect: Connect all your information repositories
  • Transform: Convert data into new structures to manage them easier
  • Discover: Find and clean your information repositories
  • Organize: Classify and organize the information you need to keep
  • Move: Move information to archives, new applications, the Cloud
  • Archive: Place information in an archival store you no longer use but are required to keep
  • Manage: Define and apply retention policies against your information

These seven capabilities are key to manage information properly. But look closely, two other capabilities wrap around these seven core capabilities: Advanced, rules-based workflow and AI-powered analytics. We don’t show these are separate capabilities because they are core to supporting all capabilities in some way.

For example, moving content to the cloud can be automated using an automated workflow process. Also, search across information to find all references to a company requires advanced analytics, as does applying a metadata tags to organize a set of documents.

These capabilities are not all found in a single technology platform which means you will have to implement several capabilities that work together to provide all the functionality you need. What types of software will support this information governance technology framework?

Implementing Information Governance Software

Breaking down information governance software is fairly straightforward. We see three core software solutions:

–        File and content analytics: Connect all your information repositories and index, organize and search for information.

–        Records Management: A central location to define, apply and manage retention policies.

–        Archive: Multiple tiered archiving solution to store information.

Of course, there are other solutions you may also look at, including eDiscovery software, enterprise content management, and digital asset management, depending on your specific requirements.

Do you have to go out and buy all your information governance software at once? There are two ways to answer this question.

Implement on a Project Basis

You can’t wait until your entire information governance strategy is defined to select and implement support governance software. It’s more likely you are going to work on projects that will support your overall strategy but can be implemented in a quicker time frame.

When you approach implementing governance on a project basis – a discovery project or a migration project, then you look for software that supports that specific project. So, for example, a discovery project would require file and content analytics software for a first phase, and possibly records management software for a second phase. An application decommissioning project would require software to help with transforming data and moving information to a new application or archive.

As you conduct a project, you will select software that supports that project’s needs. But, if you’ve been working on an overall IG strategy, you’ve likely identified a number of projects that will require the same software. Knowing what projects are in the pipeline enables you to create a set of high-level requirements that you can look for a solution to support.

What you don’t want to do is have multiple types of the same software solution for different projects. You should aim to have one solution in each of the core solution categories (mentioned above) to provide the capabilities identified in the technology framework.

Conduct a Pilot

Sometimes, the initial project is also a pilot. A pilot or proof of concept (POC) is a project that essentially proves whether a certain approach or piece of software can support the needs of the organization.

Once you prove the software works as expected for the pilot, then you can look at using it for additional go-live projects within the company. You may also choose to run a POC only for a certain department or content repositories or application to prove it works, or to understand what processes may need to change internally to apply the governance process. Later on, you can expand the POC into a full project and include other departments, content repositories, and applications.

Following either approach or some combination of the two, helps you establish a set of information governance software as your technology foundation that all projects and departments will use.

Plan Your IG Technology Strategy Carefully

The information governance technology framework we’ve defined supports most governance use cases. It may not support all of them, but you can use it as a guide and build it out according to your company’s requirements.  The software you select to serve as a foundation for your governance strategy should align to the capabilities in your framework, and you should aim to only have one type of software in each category defined above.

Also important is the ability for that software to integrate seamlessly. There are use cases where you don’t necessarily follow the technology framework as a set of steps, but moving back and forth between the capabilities depending on the work you are doing.

To understand more about each of the capabilities in the information governance technology framework and understand how specific governance use cases map to that framework, download our whitepaper: The Role of Technology in Information Governance:—the-role-of-technology-in-infogov

Dan Griffith is a seasoned technology professional with a “customer intimate” style.  As a trusted advisor to his customers, he helps them connect to, discover, organize, migrate and manage their information assets.
Dan is a well-recognized contributor on social networks and in the information governance community.
He resides in Greenville, SC.
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