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How to get started with Information Governance

By now, you’ve heard the phrase “data as a strategic asset” or “enterprise data assets”. On the surface, this sounds really good. But, seriously, how many of you know what it *means*? Most corporations are just scratching the surface of which practices to put in place to actually support data as an enterprise asset. Enter information governance.

Before we get to a definition, let’s talk about why you should care. If your company has any of the following characteristics, then governing your information is key to mitigating costs (operational and fines) and optimizing value:

  • Legal requirements
  • Regulatory and standards compliance
  • Information-heavy projects like business process engineering, predictive analytics, and strategic initiatives.

By following the approaches outlined below, you can deliver information-heavy projects both on-time and without excessive rework. AND you can use these new-found skills for your next information project, which reduces cost.   

Information governance is a management process that provides oversight to ensure successful execution of your information initiatives.  Information governance involves the management of people, information assets, and processes to policies, standards, and objectives, including the ongoing oversight necessary to manage data risks.

It can be applied to one project, can be started with one data domain, and should be extended to the enterprise.

Information Governance framework

In this article, let’s talk about starting on a single, small project and then extending your skills to a larger, more strategic project.

First, how do you choose the project? Ideally, this is a project with tangible pain. Yes. A good place to start is in the mailroom. Your mailroom can likely quanitfy, both in terms of money and resources, the value of having poor address governance. Work with that group to get a realistic cost number.

Step number two is to track down the business group that is feeling the pain as a result of this poorly-governed information. In the case of the mailroom, perhaps your marketing department is feeling the pain because their campaigns aren’t as successful. Or perhaps your Accounts Receivable group is feeling the pain because their bills aren’t getting paid in a timely manner. Talk to these groups. Find the most vocal group–who also understands the value of data–and partner with them.

With that small stakeholder group, establish an owner for the key data element. Sit down with the data owner and try to truly discover the current quality state of the applicable key data elements. SAP provides SAP BusinessObjects Information Steward for exactly that purpose.

Now that you know where you ARE, you can make more informed decisions on both (1) what “good” means for this data element; and (2) which metric to capture to show success.

Now comes the hard part…get started!

Information Governance framework
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