Something which has been sitting uneasily with me for the past few months is Information Governance and how it sits across all the different Information Management capabilities. What really prompted me to write this though is an article posted by a colleague of mine. Now I have no qualms with the elements of Information Governance to which the article refers but my attention was grabbed by the following diagram:
Now what grabbed me specifically was that this diagram failed to mention Data or Information Lifecycle Governance. So I looked further into DAMA DMBOK just to check my findings and it's true, there is no reference to Information Lifecycle Governance that I could find. What was more startling is that one of the functional areas is Document and Content Management.
So why am I so concerned? Well this is a pattern which I have seen in a number of different places recently and it relates to how the different capabilities of Data Management and Content Management operate. Note I say different, in my experience too many people see these as different capabilities and there are certainly differences but they should not be considered different.
Why is Document and Content Management a different function in DAMA's model? It is, after all, only a different way for Data or Information to be stored. Okay, I am being slightly glib but there is an important question there.
My other concern was around Information Lifecycle Governance and the lack of this in the model. Here is where I am going to out on a limb a bit but my assumption is that the model was created by a people who are more focused on Data Management, I.e. Not those who gave worked in Records Management. Why do I say this? Well it is my experience that people who work in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) tend to understand fully what true Information Lifecycle Governance is and what it requires. It's built into the DNA of these people from the start as Documents have a Lifecycle and many people talk about the Lifecycle. Those who specialise in Data Management tend not to have such a strong appreciation of this element of Information Management.
Having said that those who operate in the ECM space tend not to gave a strong appreciation of matters such as Master Data Management(MDM) and Data Quality. Specifically with MDM this is is an area where understanding this domain could lead to an improvement in the way Content is tagged.
What does this all mean? Organisations need to consider their Information as a whole. Whether that Information is held as a row in a database or in a document in SharePoint it is still Information which can be valuable or a risk to to an organisation in potentially equal measures. Functions such as MDM, Data Quality and Security need to be considered for all Information within an organisation, and applied where necessary. Even more important is that Information Lifecycle Governance is considered for all Information in an organisation. As we collect and store vastly increased amounts, and types, of information we need to have a full appreciation of how long we should hold this information for and when we should dispose of it. After all the Regulatory bodies will not care where the information is stored but if an organisation have not put in place the right policies and procedures to manage the information they hold then the risk of penalty will only increase.