Last week, I wrote about potential signs of maturity in information governance (IG) that are more red herrings than actual signs of progress. Despite the fact that many respondents to our IG survey have documented legal hold processes; few actually manage and track the process itself beyond the use of a spreadsheet. I then had a call with a reporter who asked me, “Why do companies have such a hard time getting started with IG?” I answered that companies that have not felt the pain of eDiscovery often don’t see the immediate need for good IG. Even for those that have felt the pain, getting budget for IG projects that cut costs and mitigate risks can be difficult; revenue generation is sexy while cost avoidance is not.
There is another reason that organizations find it difficult to get started on IG: there is very little practical guidance on how to set up such a broad initiative. But, Leigh Isaacs, Director – Records & Information Management at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, recently pointed out to me an interesting document she helped to create. It is called “A Proposed Law Firm Information Governance Framework” and it was built by a working group of records managers from several law firms that got together for a two day symposium on the subject (the above link will take you to Iron Mountain’s website, as the company organized the symposium and published the report).
The document is a good read. What I like is that it covers the full spectrum of IG processes (e.g. intellectual property protection, information security, retention and disposition) and how to relate those processes to each other from a central framework. It also reinforces that IG is a team sport, requiring multiple stakeholders to be involved. But, beyond that, the document gets at how to engage stakeholders so that IG will matter to them. Too often, IG is thrown at stakeholders and it doesn’t stick. Engaging with stakeholders in the right way can make a world of difference.
At 50 pages, the document is long enough to provide tangible value and short enough to be digestible in a timely manner. Any IG professional working at a Law Firm should read it, but truly any kind of IG professional will find good tips and tricks. I would recommend that IG workers from corporations use this document as a means to move IG initiatives along; do not be scared off by the Law Firm title – this Framework can work in any organization.
Sometimes, just establishing the Framework can kick start IG within an organization. At the very least, it gives structure to a program and that alone can help IG’s evolution. I recommend reading this document and using it as a guideline for IG programs.