5 essential tips for information governance

5 Information Governance essentials

We’re living in the age of Big Data. We’ve got advanced analytics, apps for everything, mobile and cloud computing and a huge rise in the use of social media.

What this means is a proliferation of data from multiple sources. Unless a business has robust systems in place to manage and govern this information, it becomes a hindrance rather than a highly useful tool for making business decisions.

Information governance is almost an industry in itself, but we’ve distilled it down into 5 recommendations for better information governance.

1. Invest in Cross functional training

Anyone who’s involved with information management, and particularly records management systems, needs to be able to see the whole picture and understand where IT, records management, and business analysis meet.  It’s important to provide a rigorous program of cross training, including:

  • Information governance knowledge for programmers and analysts
  • Database skills for information management specialists.

Achieving a better system of information governance isn’t possible unless your staff have the specialist knowledge needed.

2. Review your Metadata Standards

When it comes to managing information, businesses need to clean up their content. This means documenting and standardising metadata values, especially if they haven’t had a major overhaul for several years.  Once this is done, you’ll ready to create new systems and improve your existing systems.

3. Revise your processes for digital transition

As information becomes available on an increasingly digital platform, paper-based systems are becoming redundant and outdated. However, putting active documents into electronic folders is not always effective, especially when the process stakeholders require many different views of the records.  It’s important to analyse information processes to make sure that you’ve covered all of your bases for all stakeholders with respect to digitization.

4. Automate metadata capture

This ties into the above point on digital transition. Basically, it comes down to working smarter, not harder. Businesses need to build metadata models that facilitate the capture of metadata, so they don’t have to spend hours filling data into fields.  However, if it’s still necessary to fill in some fields, it’s important to be able to multi tag, bulk edit, etc.

This is where ECM systems with flexible architectures and great usability tools come in. They enable businesses to achieve this automation.

5. Develop Better Search tools

Not all documents need to be tagged and classified, and often businesses don’t have the time to deal with piles of legacy data. That’s why it’s important to have good search tools.  Not just search engines, but search tools like ontologies, thesauri and synonym rings that connect terms and their variants together. That means expanding a business’ classification tools to enable more effective searching.

Summing up

This isn’t rocket science – it’s information science, arguably just as complex at times. Following these 5 tips helps you take a structured, ‘scientific’ approach. If you do, you’ll be better placed to take advantage of the information available to your business, as well as the technologies to manage it.

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