No one ever said that Information Governance (IG) is easy. In fact, many organizations shy away from IG due to its image problem: IG is often seen as amorphous, complex, time-consuming and riddled with internal politics. Unfortunately, most of this is true. Which is why, in Capgemini’s experience, most organizations, even the larger, more mature corporations, struggle to get a good grip of IG.

The solution to this of course is to approach IG in a structured manner, break it down into lots of smaller, bite-sized chunks, and to involve a team of experienced, neutral IG professionals to run the program.

IG programs face numerous types of complexities. They fall broadly into six dimensions:

  1. Data domains: For most organizations, Customer data is business-critical, plus maybe Product data (depending on industry), and probably Financial data. But each additional data domain complicates IG activities further. So, does your IG program really need to include Employee data, Location data and Asset data from the beginning? A Data Domains Criticality Assessment should provide the answer here.
  2. Business functions: Here, you don’t have much of a choice. Once you’ve decided on your data domains in scope, they automatically necessitate the involvement of business functions affected by this data. Be conscious that even one single data domain (e.g. Customer) can involve many different functions (here: Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Aftermarket, Finance).
  3. Organizational maturity/IG culture: How much information management maturity has your organization built up over the years? Is there already amongst your staff a certain recognition of the importance of information assets to the company’s competitive edge?
  4. Geography: Is your organization operating just in one country? Good for you. Most organizations don’t have that luxury and struggle with multiple territories, information management cultures, an overly complex international systems landscape and the usual time zone issues.
  5. Languages: Even if you’ve mastered the complexity of getting all of your country businesses to agree on a common set of standards and policies, that still leaves the need to translate the agreed definitions, pick lists, policies etc. into numerous local languages. And that is often not as straightforward as it seems, due to cultural nuances and local preferences and necessities. Also, each country has a unique regulatory landscape.
  6. Systems: following organic and inorganic growth over the years, most large and medium-sized enterprises run a myriad of enterprise applications, including many that are considered as ‘core’ systems, despite years of attempts to consolidate the applications landscape. But each core system adds to your IG effort.

Maybe your IG program is facing only 3 or 4 of these six dimensions of IG complexity. But even then you’ll need to prepare for a challenging program management environment.

For more information on Capgemini’s QuickStart Information Governance framework, please contact Ralf Teschner.