Information governance (IG) is a mix of a lot that’s old and a lot that’s new. The good news is that while much of the terrain is very new (mobile, social, cloud, big data, and petabytes of files), there are proven, reliable methodologies that we can apply to keep us on solid ground as we forge ahead.
Start with an “IG program framework,” which is just a glorified checklist. But it has proven to be a useful checklist for those organizations who are addressing complex initiatives in enterprise information management, enterprise content management (ECM), records management, regulatory compliance, and e-discovery. The program framework organizes the individually necessary and jointly sufficient activities for planning and management initiatives in the content technologies.
Assembling these conditions and activities to effectively handle IG involves much more than just technology or process. Effective IG requires competency in a number of different areas. We have found that it’s most useful to bucket the areas of competency into six general categories:
Let’s look briefly at the first category.
Overall Information Governance Program Strategy
A best practice is to develop an overall strategy for an IG Program that encompasses and aligns your organization’s existing visions and strategies for IG, addressing significant gaps that may exist. The strategy should also establish, at a high level, general principles for the level of resources the organization will apply to the program.
The key elements of an overall IG program strategy typically include:
The good news is that, in the eyes of the law, you don’t need to be perfect; you don’t have to perfectly satisfy your retention, disposition, and other IG demands. You do need to use the Principle of Reasonableness and act in Good Faith, and, as outlined by Jim McGann and Julie Colgan in an article for Inside Counsel, this means the following:
Courts do not ask, expect, or necessarily reward organizations for perfection. Courts do expect, however, that whatever information management tactics an organization undertakes are appropriate to how that particular entity is situated (size, financial resources, regulatory and litigation profile, etc.).