What is Information Governance?
Information Governance assures that shared enterprise information aligns with business strategic value, meets expectations for all processes relying on it, creates efficiencies, and is reliable, secure and compliant. This requires people and processes to accomplish this.
People in the group need to:
- Have open and timely communications using a common vocabulary
- Determine and understand what entails ownership of information- understanding the impacts, throughout the enterprise, of changes through the lifecycle of the information
The governance model needs processes for:
- Proposals and initiative for improvements
- Measuring the value of their information as an asset
- Measuring initiative outcomes (metrics) to see the value of governance
Leaders in the business may initially see IT as the owners of the information, since they maintain the systems used to create, update and store data. However, just as applications ownership has moved from IT to the business, information generated from these applications should be seen in the same light.
The technology used to support governance falls in line with the Information Management capability.
Note: Information Governance has been referred to as both a committee and a council, with each enterprise determining its naming choice. This piece will refer to it as a council.
How does Information Governance work?
Governance is accomplished by:
- Agreeing on goals and measures to gain value
- Understanding of roadmap and maturity level
- Policies and procedures for the governance group as well as the information
- Provide funding and resources for initiatives and projects established by governance
Like business architecture, governance needs to align its goals with the enterprise’s operating model, improving information’s strategic value through the governance work. The objectives and goals should be established in the charter for the council. As the governance council matures, it will go from silo efforts to thinking and acting globally. It will go from reactive to proactive to governed.
Parallels can be made of the functions of the governance council with some political structures, providing executive, legislative and judicial functions. The council requires having the following mechanisms in place:
- Establishing rules (legislative functions)
- Procedures for assigning the various governance roles for information ownership
- Determine policies and rules for information asset use covering all aspects of information management –modeling, standards, quality, security, lifecycle, compliance, integrity, methods of usage
- Defining governance framework (voting, quorum, formal controls, decision-making process)
- Approve information standards and information architecture
- Enforce rules (judicial functions)
- Monitor and measure information assets (metrics and reports on usage, quality and exceptions)
- Technology support for monitors and measures
- Plan for allowing exceptions
- Implementation of rules (executive functions)
- Process for information asset issues management
- Process for prioritizing and escalating initiatives and issues
- Plan and sponsor funding and resources
- Measure and assess the value of governance work
Places often see governance initiated from IT, yet success to leverage information will be achieved only with commitment, drive and resources coming from throughout the organization.
Business ownership of shared information means they will need to understand the impacts of changes to the processes involved with their owned entity, and changes to the entity’s structure and integrity rules. The information architect will be able to assist educating, enabling and providing tools to the business to monitor, gain insight, and collect metrics for their owned entities. Usually these business information owners are identified as either Governors or Stewards/Custodians. The group along with the information architects and other key stakeholders will form a Governance Council.
Governors are business leaders who have the authority to make resources available and have decision-making responsibilities in the organization. Stewards (a.k.a. custodians) are business subject matter experts (SME) who can ensure information entities meets business needs and enforcing quality information. They are the appointed trustees of information. Though they could be from a single functional LOB or department, their responsibilities now include the entity’s use across the enterprise. Quality issues are familiar to these individuals, who often “feel the pain.”
The information architect, as an expert custodian of the information assets, will assist with the technical support for data management, provide safeguards and enable effective usage in the areas:
- Data Quality management/architecture design and support
- Information Integration management/architecture design and support
- Metadata and Master Data Management management/architecture design and support
- Analytical and Operational management/architecture design and support