The amount of information produced and consumed every day seems massive. The files are not only made up of signed contracts and other traditional documents but also of emails, text messages, tweets, and many other tools with the help of an M&A advisor. All this information can be assets to a business and therefore needs to be managed consistently across the business. If not, they could also be subject to liability.
Data produced and integrated by a business is transmitted through an increasing number of means, but all information, whether physical or digital, handled and processed by an entity must be managed from a risk-based framework. Information governance is a structure that allows a company to locate and manage its information, data, records, and content strategy to make it an asset.
The regulations that apply to information governance related to records management and physical records are clear. The rapid evolution of the sector also leads to the development of new standards and best practices concerning electronic data. The problem lies in their application.
For example, information governance assumes knowledge of the location, characteristics, and information types of all governed data objects. It is also assumed that you know the rules that apply to these data objects and that you can apply the rules that govern them.
Establish strong information governance and consistently apply corporate policy
Most businesses face the reality that the location of data is unknown, data objects are not identified with the correct characteristics, and content is mixed making it impossible to apply rules to a specific data object. This creates a major challenge.
The main digital issues are naïve and unrealistic assumptions about law or technology, poor system configuration, lack of data governance or records management software and information, improperly selected or misconfigured data governance or records and information management software, and operator error.
Let’s explore these themes a little deeper:
Bad system configuration
Naïve assumption: Using technology exempts you from any compliance regulations.
Reality: Most computer systems come with a long-term increase of tens, hundreds, or even thousands of systems with varying degrees of capability. Think about your computer systems. Do they “interact” with each other, and can you see how they interact? The answer is most likely no. Most of the time, IT systems are assembled without even thinking about compliance by people who do not know about compliance.
No information governance or records and information management technology
Naive assumption: Records management technology is innovative from a regulatory compliance perspective.
Reality: Your records management technology should allow you to manage your information assets for compliance. However, it only works if the software does what you think you want it to do and if you configure it correctly to do so. What you do with your software helps you meet compliance standards, not the other way around.
Manage records placed on hold for legal reasons, enforce policy consistently, and enforce retention and disposition policy from one application.
Operator error: insufficient or non-existent user training
Naive assumption: Users will learn how to meet compliance standards by using the software.
Reality: The users of RM software in your company are another extremely important factor. Have they received adequate training in the proper use of the system and are they using it correctly and consistently? You should search and find the system that suits your needs. It’s equally important to provide ongoing training to key personnel so that the technology continues to meet your needs. The IT department does not perform compliance checks; it lets you do that.
The fundamental element of successful governance for your digital strategy is planning through M&A advisory. Considerable time must be spent on thought and analysis before taking steps such as designing an architecture, purchasing software, integrating a cloud service, configuring software, or moving data into a system. Each of these steps is difficult to undo. If you make a mistake, you’ll probably have to deal with it.