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Laying the Groundwork for Your IG Strategy

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[INDUSTRY BLOG] Information Governance (IG) is truly a strategic initiative of any organization. As such, the connection to organizational strategy must be made concretely. The starting point for any IG initiative must be the organization’s corporate mandate, policies and strategic directives, mission and goals. The resulting tactical elements must be aligned with the organizational plans, objectives, and the operational targets of management.

One needs to develop a strategy that addresses how to mitigate the organization’s main risks while upholding the needs of the stakeholders, and demonstrates real value in supporting your organization’s objectives. An effective IG strategy must address the need for a change in organizational culture.

For most of us, we experience information from our laptop and PC with windows folders, or for some, it is still mainly in traditional paper format. This information is organized using the simple folder paradigm which most of us have organized in whatever way we see fit for our personal use, and we hoard all information that comes into our possession. We have tried to survive the deluge of information in whatever way we can to continue to perform our work tasks. So when true Information Governance is implemented, it is a dramatic change for the individual, the departmental workgroups, and for the organizational culture.

A key question that must be addressed – is change needed or desired? You must know your stakeholders’ needs. The stakeholder is first and foremost the employee, but that must be broken down into categories of stakeholders and their unique relationship to the flow of information in the organization.

The stakeholder is also your customers and prospects. Those that need information to make a purchase, perform their daily tasks, or simply to transact business. Why would they want a change? Leveraging desire for change is easier than belligerently forcing it.

Another important question – what is driving the need for change and what is the biggest pain? To answer this, you must be connected to the business to know who benefits from change, and how to manifest that change. It is also advisable to link to other organizational change initiatives that need Information Governance to be more effective.

To form a winning strategy, you need a winning vision for the future of information management in your organization. This must be a shared vision amongst the majority of key stakeholders, including senior management. For your strategy to work, it must be developed in the context of the organization with stakeholders who feel the need for change and are engaged in the change process.

Trying to develop a strategy without a framework and a method is difficult, and in most cases does not include all the key elements of good strategic thinking or planning.  

Strategies in and of themselves are not actionable without supporting tactical elements to be executed and these need a well-defined scope to form actionable plans, but these tactics cannot be developed without a strategy to coalesce around. Your tactics must support the strategy in a holistic and cohesive manner.

Special guest blogger Keith Atteck is an experienced and results-driven Information Governance and project management facilitator, mentor, and coach. He provides IG, ECM, and KM expertise to support organizational initiatives and projects. He helps companies achieve their goals and deliver value by deploying efficient and effective Information Governance and management strategies.