This week I talked to two different customers who were both going through organizational pain. In both cases, strong management had been in place. This management had understood the value of truly treating information as an enterprise asset. As such, programs were put into place:
- Data Governance organizations
- Metrics and scorecarding initiatives
- A Program rather than Project mindset toward information problems. (after all, you can’t just clean your house *once* and expect to never have to clean again!)
However, the strong EIM management at each of these companies is leaving to go to another company. The question is: What happens next? Can the initiatives survive without their spokesperson? Will the replacement manager have the same passion for quality information? Will the people who have infused the organization with quality information management practices survive?
The answer to these questions depends on how well the outgoing managers educated their management on the ROI of information management initiatives. Not in casual, anecdotal, or infrequent ways. But in sustained, measured, formal ways.
- How many information-intensive projects has the data governance group completed? How many were on-time? How many were on-time before the data governance group came in to assist?
- What hard value can you show for information initiatives? Can you show savings in shipping cost, customer satisfaction scores, reduced fees/penalties, reduced mailing costs, reduced inventory costs, better supplier-negotiated costs, or reduced re-work?
- Which functional groups is the data governance group serving most frequently? Can those functional groups provide before-and-after stories that you can use to show impact?
Unless you are systematically gathering and presenting this level of information, you run the risk of being overlooked when a charismatic leader departs.
One more area where talent retention matters is simply interesting work. One CIO told me that their EIM imitative supported their talent acquisition programs directly. His company spends lots of time ensuring that they are hiring the best possible employees. However, they used to then give these Top Talent employees uninspiring, manual work to do. By optimizing their EIM environment to deliver high quality information exactly when it is needed, these Top Talent employees can do the smart work of analyzing information, creating connections, and optimizing the environment (instead of manually fixing information, monitoring shared email boxes, and trying to figure out if the information is good).
Finally, of course there will be some turnover in your organization. Make sure to capture the work product and decisions made along your information journey—this way, the next Top Talent employee can hit the ground running. Capturing the decisions, key players, constraints, and alternatives is a key practice of information governance.
So much of what happens in EIM is about *people*, so it pays to monitor the talent retention dimension of those people.