A phrase more commonly heard at C-level meetings is “information is an enterprise asset”. Though it may not be listed as a line item on the organization’s financial assets listings, inaccurate information does have real known costs associated with it. This includes, but is not limited to, the overhead associated with poor quality data (due to having data silos needing rework or fixes to errors) plus the price from untimely access to information. According to some data quality studies and experts, these issues cost companies 15% – 25% of their operating budget, conservatively.

Information Governance and Management ensures that the information needed throughout an enterprise is available, valid, reliable and secure to the increasing number of people who have ready to access it. The need for governance and management is partially due to the explosion of information generated in an enterprise. New challenges from having growing numbers of data sources (e.g. social media), more types of information (e.g. RFIDs), more volumes of information, more locations of information (from a mix of on-premise and cloud sources, and possibly from merges and acquisitions).

The Information Management capability will provide more details regarding organizing, analyzing, and integrating the many kinds of data created in an enterprise. Together with information governance, the organization creates value and manages costs through the establishment of policies, procedures, vocabularies, and models to administer and use information.


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

Proven Practices

As with other maturity models, with maturity comes acceptance and support. To get even to the first stage of maturity requires education and changes to organizational culture. The information architect will assist with the transitions that will require patience, persistence and proof of positive outcomes.

Prior to having a basic maturity level, information architects may need to provide the business case to key stakeholders of the following:

  • Costs of having a culture holding information tightly without concern to share
  • Costs of enterprise information remaining in silos; internal and external consumers of the information complain, with increasing frequency and vexation, of the impossible task to present a single, reliable view of the company.
  • Assurance of undue concern from exposing information to more eyes; business areas may feel threatened when “their” data is accessible to others, when prior to this they were the keepers and distributors of data. In their minds, this accessibility diminishes their responsibilities.
  • Alleviate concerns of losing agility; architects must show that where business areas in silos were able to make changes without the approval or concern of others, the cross-functional benefit provides a greater compelling value.

These challenges can be overcome through:

  • Presenting similar efforts in the industry
  • Showing value of initial initiatives
  • Offering support and investment in training
  • Finding key business partners/leaders who understand the impacts and costs and will champion governance

Information architects ongoing efforts will include watching for and mitigating:

  • Seeing governance ignored; workarounds are found to bypass group
  • Council reputation lacks of credibility: too slow, too onerous, no perceived value
  • Underestimation of information management complexities
  • Criticisms of the as-is state of information; care must be taken to avoid this, as it, obviously, will have an adverse effect on garnering support from the business


Provide support and tools for Information Governance council

  • Create and Approve Information Governance Policies, Standards and Information Architecture
  • Estimate value of information assets – determine direct and indirect benefits, calculate hypothetical costs if information is lost and risks exposure
  • Plan and support Information Governance Projects and initiatives
  • Provide tools to monitor and measure success factors for information governance
  • Provide tools and management of information related issues
  • Provide tools for governors and stewards to monitor information asset usage and misuses
Iasa Certification Level Learning Objective
CITA- Foundation Learner will be able to:

  • Understand the purpose of standards, policies and other documents
  • Assist with gathering metrics to estimate value of information assets
  • State the requirements for information governance projects and initiatives
CITA – Associate Learner will be able to:

  • Assist in preparation of standards, policies and other documents requiring review by a senior architect for approval by information governance council
  • Run calculations to estimate value of information assets under guidance of a senior architect
  • Implement plans from a senior architect to support information governance projects and initiatives
CITA – Specialist Learner will be able to:

  • Prepare standards, policies and other documents for approval by information governance council
  • Assess calculation techniques to estimate value of information assets
  • Provide technical support and guidance for information governance projects and initiatives
CITA – Professional Learner will be able to:

  • Justify to members of council the value of information as an asset using metrics and with an understanding of the business’ strategy
  • Review and critique estimated values of information assets
  • Review technology, processes and value for information governance projects and initiatives



Business Intelligence Solutions, What Enterprises Can Realistically Expect From Their Investment , April 2015 p. 32. <>

Ambler, Scott. Agile/Lean Data Governance Best Practices.

University Alliance. Data Governance: Moving Towards Better Data Management.

The Data Governance Institute.

Data quality trends, with expert Larry English


  • The DAMA Guide to the Data Management Body of Knowledge (DAMA-DMBOK). Bradley Beach, NJ: Technics Publications, 2010.
  • Godinez, M., Hechler, E., et al. The Art of Enterprise Information Architecture, A Systems-Based Approach for Unlocking Business Insight. IBM Press, 2010.
  • Berson, Alex and  Dubov, Larry. Master Data Managment and Data Governance, 2nd Edition. McGraw-Hill Education., 2011
  • Dreibelbis, A., Hechler, E., Milman, I., Oberhofer, M., van Run, P., Wolfson, D. Enterprise Master Data Management: An SOA Approach to Managing Core Information. IBM Press, 2008.
  • Loshin, David. Master Data Management. The MK/OMG Press, 2009.


bina reedBina Reed
Enterprise Information Architect – MPI Research

Bina has held many roles in IT over the past two decades, including Software Developer, Systems Programmer and Information Architect. She has worked in a variety of industries in the U.S. – software, higher education, CPG, healthcare and drug-development – implementing large, complex technology solutions with multiple components. She has extensive experience managing the interplay between enterprise, legacy, customized and vendor systems, with the objective of achieving beneficial results in cost-restricted environments.

She holds an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Georgia and a Bachelor of Architectural Engineering degree from Penn State University.

Prior to switching careers into IT, she was a licensed Professional Electrical Engineer (P.E., State of Illinois). The irony of becoming an architect in IT after being an engineer in the building industry is not lost on her.