Getting Behind The Information Governance Initiative


Like many Information Management practitioners, I’ve seen a lot of re-branding of Records Management and its related disciplines over the years and as such have been very skeptical of Information Governance as a distinct concept.  I am always weary of what may appear to be product or vendor driven initiatives. I worry about organizations losing focus as they move from buzzword to buzzword and I’m a little exhausted of having to pay for certifications.  Full disclosure – I’m a Certified Records Manager and an Information Governance Professional.

However, with the release of the Information Governance Initiative’s Annual Report, I realize that it may be time to reconsider my reservations and back this effort to not only get control of our information, but to raise the profile of information managers and the value of our everyday work. The IG initiative is well coordinated and may be the best opportunity to date to help the C-Suite truly understand how valuable proper information management and governance really is.

We are proud to publish our first Annual Report on the state of information governance today. In this comprehensive 50 page report, loaded with infographics that information governance practitioners can take and freely use, we examine IG as a concept, as a market, and as an operational model. In other words, what is it, can I buy it, and how do I actually do IG? We advance a definition of IG based on overwhelming support from the IGI community. We identify typical IG projects and how much organizations are spending on them. We advance a RACI Matrix for IG, and provide a host of of other insights and recommendations based on extensive benchmarking interviews, surveys, and research days. – Release from

In the infographic provided below by the Information Governance Initiative, we can see the many facets of information governance across a typical enterprise.  As Records Managers and IT folks, we are already involved in so many of these areas that it does make sense to start thinking about our work holistically and defining it as involving “coordinated functions.”  As information and it’s formats proliferate at light speed and organizations continue to be overwhelmed, having a set of tools built around a well-defined concept of information strategy and management can be helpful.  By doing so we may also be able to create new opportunities for collaboration and consolidation.

I like to think of Information Governance, in some ways, as a summary of a DataMap, an overall view of how information flows in and out of an organization, revealing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats we all face.  It allows us to step out of the area under our control and influence momentarily and see the broader picture, which gives us the perspective and insight we need to work smarter and more efficiently in our own groups. Continue reading


The Myth of the Paperless Office – 12 Years Later

It’s been 12 years since I first read Abigal J. Sellen and Richard H.R. Harper’s book, The Myth of the Paperless Office.  It remains one of my favorite no nonsense analysis into the subject.

This bold and insightful analysis by two Microsoft employees into the psychological and practical reasons why certain business processes continue to rely on paper remains relevant even a decade after its publication. The book is especially helpful for records and information governance consultants more intent on providing their clients with a true understanding of the nature of their processes than selling them software solutions driven by buzz phrases including “The Paperless Office.”

Companies should certainly move toward imaging and digitization when feasible but the best solutions always require a sophisticated approach to rebuilding processes that recognize both opportunities, limitations and human nature.

Below is the blurb on the book from

Over the past thirty years, many people have proclaimed the imminent arrival of the paperless office. Yet even the World Wide Web, which allows almost any computer to read and display another computer’s documents, has increased the amount of printing done. The use of e-mail in an organization causes an average 40 percent increase in paper consumption. In The Myth of the Paperless Office, Abigail Sellen and Richard Harper use the study of paper as a way to understand the work that people do and the reasons they do it the way they do. Using the tools of ethnography and cognitive psychology, they look at paper use from the level of the individual up to that of organizational culture.Central to Sellen and Harper’s investigation is the concept of “affordances” — the activities that an object allows, or affords. The physical properties of paper (its being thin, light, porous, opaque, and flexible) afford the human actions of grasping, carrying, folding, writing, and so on. The concept of affordance allows them to compare the affordances of paper with those of existing digital devices. They can then ask what kinds of devices or systems would make new kinds of activities possible or better support current activities. The authors argue that paper will continue to play an important role in office life. Rather than pursue the ideal of the paperless office, we should work toward a future in which paper and electronic document tools work in concert and organizational processes make optimal use of both.

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