Information Governance: Why it’s a priority, not an option

Published by CapGemini
By Sukant Pandey

A lot is being talked about information governance these days. Like any other buzzword, even ‘Information Governance’ has managed multiple definitions. Wikipedia defines information governance as “the set of multi-disciplinary structures, policies, procedures, processes and controls implemented to manage information at an enterprise level, supporting an organization's immediate and future regulatory, legal, risk, environmental and operational requirements”. Gartner defines it as “the specification of decision rights and an accountability framework to encourage desirable behavior in the valuation, creation, storage, use, archival and deletion of information”.

We, for the sake of simplicity, believe that Information Governance is about putting people in charge of fixing and preventing issues with data so that the enterprise can become more efficient. It ensures that information can be trusted and that people can be made accountable for any adverse event that may happen because of low data quality. Information Governance is a major component of enterprise Data Management activity. As per DAMA’s DMBOK1, Data Management comprises a plethora of functions, with Data Governance as its central or core activity. Some of the data management functions and their underlying activities are illustrated.                                                                                                                  

Why go for information governance at all? 
Organizations today increasingly recognize that the data they possess is a valuable resource. Most organizations are quite convinced that their data is absolutely controlled and managed. Yet, incidents of inadvertent release of confidential data are not uncommon. According to a Forbes Insight survey2 of over 200 business and IT leaders, fragmented data ownership is a common and significant roadblock to enterprise information management programs. As they say, devil lies in the details.
Despite purchasing highly sophisticated data management solutions from the best of vendors, organizations’ data suffers from inconsistencies with effects as minor, but embarrassing, as wrong address or contact person name being printed on customer invoice, to as major as wrong decisions being taken by top management because of incorrect/insufficient data being available to them. In extreme cases, the organizations may fail to support regulatory compliance, or might have to re-issue their financial statements in the face of reports containing inaccurate or incomplete information being presented to relevant stakeholders.
Hence, any data management solution must be complemented by equally competent implementation in terms of information governance, for it to deliver its full benefits to the business. The benefits realized from such modest projects far exceed their cost. Such combined solutions not only help in reducing the firm’s costs, by reducing to a great extent the possibility of occurrence of any of the events mentioned above, but also help in increasing the revenues. Information unavailability or redundancy often inhibits marketing effectiveness and leads to issues like high costs of marketing, unreliable or unusable analytics, out-of-stock items etc. The information ‘Godzilla’, once tamed, might help in streamlining not just the marketing efforts, but also internal business processes that contribute to overall efficiency of the organization.
Case in Point
Capgemini is actively working with a high performance components and sub-systems designing and manufacturing firm, which is a leader in aerospace and defense markets, on:
·       Master data management
·       Information governance framework
In terms of data management, the manufacturing firm, in collaboration with Capgemini is working on implementation of SAP MDG as the central hub for key master data elements. To realize its full potential, Information Governance Framework is being created in parallel that supports not just the master data management project, but also any other advanced information governance projects that manufacturing leader might undertake in future.

1. DAMA-DMBOK Functional Framework Version 3.02, by Mark Moseley, 2008
2“Managing Information in the Enterprise: Perspectives for Business Leaders,” Forbes Insight survey, 2010.