Information governance is a term that has been bandied about for some time now. However, as an action item for a CIO, until recently, it remained near the bottom of the list. This view has slowly been shifting as companies are achieving information governance success and using it as competitive advantage.

Information governance, as defined by the Information Governance Initiative, “is the activities and technologies that organizations employ to maximize the value of their information while minimizing associated risks and costs.” While this is a reasonable definition, the action items associated with information governance have still been a bit of a mystery.

ARMA International made a solid attempt at developing a list of activities associated with information governance in their Information Governance Professional DACUM Chart; the process seemed (to me) to be less linear and some areas quite amalgamous, nonetheless, it's a solid attempt. This likely is one area that we will be revisiting again.

EDRM released their Information Governance Reference Model, and it was a solid offering towards defining the stakeholder groups to information governance. I released the Optismo Information Governance Model Framework to take that one step further in defining the activities underlying the various stakeholder groups.

There are now several training courses related to information governance including ARMA’s Essentials of Information Governance, Robert Smallwood’s IG-B/IG-A and the Optismo SharePoint Information Governance course.

The industry is maturing, and with that maturity, comes a new need for subject matter experts, both in the consulting arena and within companies. There have been new resources to help raise the consciousness around information governance and to equip these new professionals.

With this industry maturity comes a unique opportunity for companies that embrace information governance: competitive advantage. With the benefits of well-executed information governance ranging from better responsiveness to reduced risk, information governance is indeed an advantage for companies that execute well.

In the past few years, we’ve seen competitive advantages for companies that have executed well on public social media (Dell, Comcast, etc.); we’ve seen competitive advantages for companies that have executed well on enterprise collaboration platforms (see this AIIM study). Now, there is a new opportunity for companies to take advantage of and reap benefits from information governance.

Those that execute well in the information governance sphere will likely gain great benefits of their execution. For those that are looking for competitive advantage, waiting for the studies on the benefits will likely be waiting for too long in an arena where technology advances move quickly and benefit periods are shortened. Those that embrace the new ways of governing information holistically will be the winners in the information economy.

Nick Inglis is a founding partner of Optismo and co-founder of The Information Governance Conference. For more information on the conference, visit Follow him on Twitter @nickinglis.


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