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 a complicated process, but here are 5 recommendations that will help you improve your information governance outcomes.

1. Invest in cross functional training

Anyone who’s involved with information management, including 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 invest in a cross training program so that your team build a broader understanding of information governance issues. This means:

  • information governance knowledge for programmers and analysts; and
  • database skills for information management specialists.

We can’t build better systems if your team can’t apply their specialist knowledge because they lack context for their tasks.

2. Review your metadata standards

When it comes to managing information, businesses need to clean up existing content. Without controls and standards, folder titling and metadata tagging becomes random.  Establishing metadata standards, and re-tagging with standardized metadata is the way to tidy up. When this is done, you’ll be ready to create new systems and able to leverage your existing systems.

3. Automate metadata capture

It can be costly and time consuming to tag content with metadata. Basically, it comes down to working smarter, not harder. Businesses need to utilise auto-classification tools that automatically capture metadata, so users don’t have to spend hours entering data into fields.   Nor should they be expected to drag and drop documents deep into file plans.

This is where we need ECM systems with flexible architectures. They enable businesses to achieve this automation.

4. Utilise better search tools

Often businesses don’t have the time or resources 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 make search engines work effectively. That means expanding your business’ classification tools with semantic equivalents (alternate labels, non-preferred terms) to enable more effective searching.

5. Revise your processes for digital transition

As information becomes increasingly digitized, paper-based systems are becoming redundant and outdated. However, using the old paper based classification systems for digital information is not proving effective. Often, we neglect to take into account the needs of business users who may use records in many different ways.  That’s why it’s important to analyze information processes up front to take into account the needs of all stakeholders with respect to your digital records.

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.

Find out more about Pingar’s solutions for developing control tools for better information governance.