Risk Update

IG Week (Part 2) — Politics of Information Governance

Another interesting ILTA article of note comes from Leigh Isaacs (Director, Information Governance & Records Management at Proskauer Rose) and Doug Smith (Records Manager at Crowell & Moring) present a fascinating take on: “Politics of Information Governance” —

  • “How do you identify the dominant culture in your firm? Does your firm encourage innovation and free market success to find creative solutions? Do they prefer to take a more methodical approach and identify a best way to move forward which, while not as innovative, yields a more predictable result? Perhaps your firm lies somewhere between, allowing innovation in some areas while requiring standardization in others.”
  • “Once you have identified your firm culture, we will present some steps to establish a successful information governance initiative. These steps will serve as a starting place for you to lead the evolution of information management for your organization.”
  • “In short, starting your journey with a firm grasp of your firm’s culture can go a long way to securing the endorsement and support you need. IG is not a “one size fits all” in any organization but this investment in time and resources will help you navigate the political landscape to achieve success.”

“Conservative” Firms:

  • “Conservative firms might encourage users to operate within a traditional model using a standard taxonomy, very secure systems and traditional tools. These firms want to encourage safe innovation modeling to others, breeding success while taking fewer risks. Their risk tolerance is very low and while not yielding huge, quick benefits, ensures a predictable, stable return. These firms are sometimes referred to those that like to ‘be first at being second.'”
  • “So you have identified your firm as being generally conservative in nature. What information governance elements should you push first? Which key processes will yield the quickest wins allowing you to build momentum for more funding and support?”
  • “Principles which might yield quick return in this report at a more conservative culture would include addressing retention/disposition practices, legal holds, information security, and monitoring of key processes.”
  • “What implications may result from being a conservative firm? Your organization will likely not benefit from new technologies before some of your competitors. You will need to guard against staying with existing, functional technology past it its optimal usefulness.”

“Progressive” Firms:

  • “Progressive firms typically utilize newer technologies, a more open information sharing system and are willing to risk small failures hoping to yield much larger results. They embrace change with all the inherent unpredictable results.
  • “They understand there is value to failing, failing quickly and resisiting the pressure of perfection…This firm will have less competing ideas and will likely coalesce around a strategy faster than other firms. The organization can identify, engage and deploy new technologies and processes quickly.”
  • “Information governance awareness and education will be paramount to inform, train and monitor users to ensure they are in compliance with stricter controls. A progressive firm will have a variety of projects at various different levels. It’s important to stay in tune with those to find opportunities to infuse good IG practices from the outset.”
  • “You will need a strong audit and remediation effort to monitor compliance with and to fix instances of breach of policies… You will need to have a meticulous process to monitor user behavior. The process needs to be flexible to account for different technologies and systems. You will find issues where users have compromised your policies. If you do not find them, you will need to evaluate the effectiveness of your monitoring. How you address these variances of behavior will be a better indicator of strength of your program than the program itself. Users will stray. It is your job to identify the variance, assess and fix the damage.”
  • “Progressive firms seemingly enjoy several advantages. The propensity for quick change and early adoption of new tech increases risk as well as the need for vigilance in developing concurrent governance strategies and tools.”