Information Governance Authority: Building the Right Team

Robin Woolen, The Records Guru®

The 2016 | 2017 Information Governance Benchmarking Survey by Cohasset Associates and ARMA International shows that while 85% of organizations have a records and information management program (RIM), only 25% have a strategy to transform it to an IG program.

Most organizations that struggle to develop a strategy have difficulty because they do not have the right team (with the proper skill sets) established in the first place. You cannot simply restructure an existing records and information management steering committee into an information governance board and expect overnight success.

Currently, a typical RIM steering committee is usually staffed with people whose sole focus is on record preservation, maintenance and usage. However, an information governance board is responsible for much more throughout the organization, such as privacy and security. This translates to greater involvement from IT and legal teams, among other departments. In fact, the records manager generally serves as a subject matter expert on records management for the IG board, along with the other groups that contribute their expertise.

An IG Board is composed of two key parts: an executive board and a working committee. The executive board is composed of senior management from all departments and is lead by a C-suite sponsor to ensure the program has the executive authority it needs to accomplish its charter. The executive board is responsible for establishing the IG policy for the organization and ensuring the program maintains the funding it needs to accomplish the strategic plan established to execute the policy.

The working committee is composed of subject matter experts from every department. These are the people that do the heavy lifting for the program. The working committee is responsible for implementing procedures that will ensure the goals of the IG policy that was developed by the executive board are achieved. The committee members communicate any changes — or challenges — in regulation, technology or other market conditions to the executive board, so that policies can be adjusted as needed. This group is also responsible for prioritizing and communicating budgetary considerations to the executive board, so that resource planning and technology purchases are adequate and support the policy goals. Finally, the individual members of the working committee are responsible for ensuring that their department executes whatever projects or duties are assigned to them, so that the policy is supported.

As the subject matter experts in their field for the organization, it is not unusual for the working committee to create drafts of various parts of the IG policy and submit them to the executive board for inclusion in the overall policy. The board should be a cooperative entity that works together with the common goal of improving the overall program.

Information governance encompasses the entirety of an organization’s information structure, with the goal of getting the trusted information to the right people at the right time. Creating an information governance board is the first step toward making that happen.

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