Evidence-Based Information Governance

We Don’t Know Ourselves

Imagine that you want to lose weight. You have tried cutting back, but it hasn’t really helped. Maybe you should get a little more exercise. Maybe you should eat less fat. Or is it sugar? Greek yogurt is supposed to help. Am I really drinking enough coconut water? Who knows? So you mention it to your doctor, or make an appointment with a dietician, or perhaps sign up with a club or clinic that specializes in weight loss. What is the first thing that they ask you to do? Keep a food log. A diary. Write down what you eat, record the exercise you do, and then report back in a couple of weeks so they can give you a customized recommendation.

Great! You have a made a positive decision to take charge of your health.

The first day you are on top of it, and even pretty honest. That corned beef hash that you accidentally ate at the diner when you stopped in for coffee? In the diary. The late-night bowl of sugary flakes? In the diary. Day two, only the good stuff goes in the diary, and a few days later you are still making a half-hearted attempt until finally, you just find yourself scribbling down a bunch of made up stuff in the waiting room moments before your next appointment.

Sound familiar?

For decades, the self-reported diary has been the primary research tool for studying and measuring our eating, sleeping, and other behaviors; the foundation of efforts to help us change those behaviors. But, it doesn’t really work. It is a fantasy.

The Quantified Self

New technology offers a different approach. In the past few years we have spent millions of dollars on a host of devices and apps that passively track our behaviors. Products from FitBit, Nike, Jawbone, Garmin and others. The theory of this technology, or movement (called “The Quantified Self” by some), is that more data –  and more accurate data –  about our behavior will help us understand ourselves better, and thus provide a foundation and methodology for improving ourselves.

Today’s technology tracks our steps, sleep patterns, communication habits, and more. Tomorrow’s technology will automatically log the food we eat, its caloric and nutritional components, and its effect on our bodies. This passive tracking of data clearly is a more realistic approach for us fragile, distracted, willpower-exhausted humans. The machine collects the data in clever way. The algorithms automate the analysis of the data to give us insight into our habits and patterns, and help us track our progress towards a goal.

Of course this approach to problems –  any kind of problem –  is de rigueur. We know it as Big Data and it is prescribed as a solution to everything from unemployment to world hunger.

We are bringing the Quantified Life philosophy to companies, governments, and to entire nations. Tomorrow we will have the Quantified Organization, with the promise that decisions based on tradition and superstition are replaced by decisions based on facts and evidence.

The Quantified Organization

It is easy to be cynical about Big Data. Sometimes I am. But mostly I get it and I believe it. Clearly it raises a host of business, policy, legal, ethical, and societal issues. In any case, it doesn’t matter whether I get it or not: it will be the way that we function as organizations –  and increasingly, as individuals –  moving forward.

The idea that we should make decisions based on facts or evidence as opposed to tradition, intuition, and superstition of course derives from the Enlightenment and the scientific method itself. But even in areas where you might expect that this approach is already baked in, there has been a push to focus on the evidence. In the 1990s, for example, the concept of “evidence-based medicine” (or “evidence-based practice”) was introduced into the medical field and has since taken hold as an operating philosophy in branches of medicine from optometry to dentistry.

Evidence-based practice is defined as:

Applying the best available research results (evidence) when making decisions about health care. Health care professionals who perform evidence-based practice use research evidence along with clinical expertise and patient preferences. Systematic reviews (summaries of health care research results) provide information that aids in the process of evidence-based practice.

If the practice of medicine  –  which has embraced the scientific method for over a century – can benefit from a heightened focus on evidence-based decisions and policy, then surely there are other practices that could benefit from it as well. Any come to mind?

How about Information Governance?

Evidence-Based Practice and Information Governance

Today in IG we make so many decisions, and craft so many policies, based on nothing more that tradition and superstition. This is especially prevalent in the records and information management (RIM) facet of IG, but it exists elsewhere as well. Why do we have 1000 categories in our records retention schedule? Because that’s the way the last guy did it. Because we inherited the schedule from a company we acquired. Because Janice liked it that way. Because that’s the right way. Because that’s what makes the most sense to me. Because that’s what my old boss told us to do. Because that is what the consulting company sold us.

Where is the evidence?

What is true?

Are these justifications based on anything more than tradition, superstition, or office politics?

I propose a new focus for IG practitioners – a focus on Evidence-Based Information Governance. This philosophy should be embedded in everything we do in IG. It is egregious that we wave our hands magically and use purely anecdotal evidence to create fear around information risk. The risk of a spoliation charge in a litigation, for example. How often does it happen? What is the risk of it happening? Go look it up for yourself.

We need to bring evidence into the practice of IG. We need evidence to quantify value. To quantify risk. Evidence to make decisions about how much time, money and effort we should put into managing specific kinds of information.

It is shameful that today, in 2014, this is the exception rather than the rule in IG.

Today we have incredible tools that can easily shed light on our information to give us the visibility and the evidence we need to make good decisions. Go take a look at the providers who support the IGI as an example, as a starting point.

Anyway this post is getting a little long.

But I am passionate about this idea, and will write and work to advance this idea.

Let me know what you think.

The IGI 2014 Annual Report – Round Up of Media Coverage

On August 11, 2014, the Information Governance Initiative (IGI) released its Annual Report 2014: Information Governance Goes to Work, a comprehensive analysis of the information governance (IG) industry. The report offers a definition of IG and its core concepts, discusses the projects organizations are undertaking and the products and services they are buying, looks at predictions for the state of IG, and provides practical tools and insights for IG practitioners. The IGI Annual Report 2014 and related infographics are available for download now at: www.iginitiative.com/community (registration required).

Below is a roundup of coverage of the Annual Report following its release:

Law Technology News—IGI Report Eyes Typical Projects and Expenses

Monica Bay | August 11, 2014

Excerpt:

“The Information Governance Initiative, which launched in February, has released its first annual report, announced Executive Director Barclay Blair, who also is president of consulting company ViaLumina.” Read More.

 

InfoGovCon—New IG Initiative Report Provides Clarity For Information Governance

Robert Smallwood | August 11, 2014

Excerpt:

“The first annual report from the Information Governance Initiative on the state of the information governance (IG) industry was released today. ‘2014 IGI Annual Report: Information Governance Goes to Work’ is chocked full of distilled insights based on a wide-ranging survey of IG practitioners, providers, and analysts. In it, IG comes into focus and we are provided some additional clarity on what IG is, where it is being implemented, who is responsible, how IG programs are justified, and more. You can find it here, after registering on the site: http://iginitiative.com/blog/.” Read More.

 

Enterprise CIO Forum—Annual Report: State of the Information Governance Industry, New IG Initiative Study Advocates New Chief IG Officer (CIGO) Role

Robert Smallwood | August 12, 2014

Excerpt:

“The report advocates the creation of a new, inter-disciplinary role: the Chief Information Governance Officer (CIGO), a viewpoint also recommended by the Sedona Conference in 2013. Some IG programs are being run by practitioners who are effectively taking on the role of the CIGO, but under a different title, and the researchers state that some organizations are actively creating the CIGO role and job description.

For CIOs who have hit the career ceiling, your next step up may be CIGO. Not just expert in IT, but privacy-savvy, security-savvy, legal-savvy, records management-savvy, and business-savvy. Solidify your credentials, get more security, privacy, e-discovery, and IG training, then groom your successor and lobby your CEO for this new role as CIGO.” Read More.

 

RSD—My Thoughts Related to the Information Governance Initiative

Tamir Sigal, | August 13, 2014

Excerpt:

“If you live and breathe information governance, chances are you heard about the IGI (Information governance Initiative). Simply put, the IGI is a think tank and consortium on advancing information governance in the market and within organizations.” Read More.

 

The eDisclosure Information Project: The Information Governance Initiative Publishes Its 2014 Annual Report

Chris Dale | August 13, 2014

Excerpt:

“Its purpose is to encourage and support those who are responsible for the multiple components which make up IG with well-sourced statistics and analysis, a definition of IG, and practical help towards selling the subject to the board, promoting awareness and designing and executing IG strategy within a company.” Read More.

 

WSJ Risk and Compliance Journal—Survey Roundup: Ignorant About Compliance

Ben Dipietro | August 15, 2014

Excerpt:

”Information Responsibility: Twenty-eight percent of organizations surveyed said they delegate their information governance accountability to one person, according to a report from information governance services firm Viewpointe and the Information Governance Initiative.” Read More.

 

Word of Pie—The IGI Tackles Information Governance for All

Laurence Hart | August 15, 2014

Excerpt:

“Read the report. Realize that nobody has Information Governance conquered yet. Get smart people with open minds to help you on your journey because things are going to change a lot before you are finished.” Read More.

 

InfoGovCon—InfoGovCon Partner, The Information Governance Initiative, Publishes Comprehensive Analysis Of The IG Space

Nick Inglis | August 15,2014

Excerpt:

“On August 11, 2014, InfoGovCon Partner, the Information Governance Initiative, announced the release of its 2014 Annual Report: Information Governance Goes to Work. The comprehensive report on the information governance industry, among other things, puts forward a definition for IG, reports on research data collected about the state of the IG market, and provides practitioners practical tools and insights relevant to putting IG into practice.” Read more.

 

Acaveo—Start Information Governance Right or Fiddle

Geoff Bourgeois | August 18, 2014

Excerpt:

“The Information Governance Initiative (IGI) published their 2014 annual report on information governance (IG) “Information Governance Goes to Work” – the first comprehensive analysis of the information governance industry.

 

The report is chock-full of great insights including a definitive explanation of what IG actually is: IG is the activities and technologies that organizations employ to maximize the value of their information while minimizing associated risks and costs. In our experience, one of the biggest problems many organizations experience in trying to start an IG initiative is trying to explain to management what IG really is and how it can benefit the organization.” Read More.

 

The New Model Framework for Information Governance

Nick Inglis | August 18, 2014

Excerpt:

“Information governance, as an industry, has been maturing and coming to the forefront at many leading organizations. I’ve had the opportunity to see much of this maturation at various organizations firsthand. We’ve seen the Information Governance Initiative form and release a new definition of information governance. I’ve been a part of the formation of a major conference around the topic. We’ve seen the topic move to the top of discussions at both ARMA, AIIM, AHIMA and other leading industry associations.” Read More.

 

Proofpoint—What is the business case for #InfoGov?

Robert Cruz | August 19, 2014

Excerpt:

“Semantics aside, we seem to be over-complicating the business case question. Sure, gaining executive sponsorship, aligning multiple functional stakeholders, and selecting the appropriate technologies are not trivial tasks. But, as noted in the Information Governance Initiative (IGI) Annual Report, 92% of surveyed organizations see “value and risk as equal partners” in InfoGov projects, and 68% indicated that establishing a clear, quantifiable metric is essential to their organization.” Read More.

 

SemanticWeb—A Look At The State of Information Governance

Jennifer Zaino |August 19, 2014

Excerpt:

“This month saw the release of the Information Governance Initiative’s Annual Report for 2014, a study aiming to report the perceptions of information governance practitioners, providers and analysts as well as advance information governance as a concept, market and operational model.” Read More.

 

HP—Information Governance: Key Takeaways from Information Governance Initiative’s 2014 Annual Report

David Brown|August 19, 2014

Excerpt:

“The Information Governance Initiative (IGI) released its 2014 Annual Report last week, which was billed as the industry’s first ever comprehensive analysis of the Information Governance (IG) industry. While not all information contained therein is aligned with the way HP views Information Governance, this body of work still represents a significant step forward in removing some ambiguity and providing the market with some clear direction and best practices.” Read More.

 

 

Recommind—Information Governance: Inaction and In Action

Nick Patience | August 21, 2014

Excerpt:

“Information governance is real, but projects are taking too long to get going and need better C-level support. They are some of the findings of the inaugural report of the Information Governance Initiative – the launch of which we have covered previously. Those findings may not strike you as revelatory, but now we have some clues as to why. The report is based on interviews with senior IG practitioners and a survey of practitioners, providers and analysts.” Read More.

 

The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel—Information Governance Initiative (IGI), Annual Report 2014: Information Governance Goes to Work

August 25, 2014

Excerpt:

“The following is a summary of a webcast in which Barclay T. Blair, Founder and Executive Director of the Information Governance Initiative (IGI) and President of the consulting firm Via Lumina, presents the results of IGI’s 2014 survey (see link below). An internationally recognized expert on information governance, Barclay is an advisor to Fortune 500 companies and software and hardware vendors. He is the award-winning author of several volumes, including Information Nation: Seven Keys to Information Management Compliance; Information Nation Warrior; and Privacy Nation.” Read More.

 

Compliance Week—Information Governance Goes to Work

August 25, 2014

Excerpt:

“Information Governance Initiative (IGI) has released its 2014 Annual Report, which was billed as the industry’s first ever comprehensive analysis of the Information Governance (“IG”) Industry. Download the report to learn some best practices for your organization to be prepared and take advantage of the growing IG market.” Read More.

 

Xerox—Information Governance: On-the-Ground Perspectives and Practical Guidance

Rachel Teisch | August 27, 2014

Excerpt:

“This report is particularly relevant to clients. It rises above the ‘noise’ in the industry surrounding information governance, providing on-the-ground insight into what is occurring right now within many organizations, practical guidance based on real-life experience, and a peek into what the not-so-distant future holds for many corporations.” Read More.

 

Pulling out the red pencil: one more last time on the definition of Information Governance?

Yesterday I published my first blog post on LinkedIn about the most fascinating subject known to people-kind: the definition of information governance. Believe me, this wasn’t my first blog post on the topic, just the first time I had published on LinkedIn. Anyway, in the post I discussed the definition we are advancing at the Information Governance Initiative and talked a little about my history with IG. My post came in the midst of some great back and forth among folks like , , and  on Twitter and great blog posts  by George, James, John, Laurence and others about the core concepts of IG. Who knows if anyone outside this circle finds the subject as fascinating as us, but what the hell, long tail and all that.

Anyway, today George published a thoughtful critique of the definition. Earlier in the day I was reading about a back and forth between a New York Times columnist and Walmart that has gone viral. It’s pretty interesting and funny (I mean the exchange, not the underlying issues being discussed) and feels like an important moment in how social media is radically changing the way that organizations interact with the media outlets who cover them. In any case, I was inspired (not that my output is “inspired) to steal the technique, and pulled out my virtual red pencil to respond to George’s post,  hopefully with less snark that the Walmart exchange. I’ve never met George but I’m sure we are almost certainly much, much closer in our positions that the NYT columnist and the Walmart PR flack. Below is the relevant portion of George’s post, and my response. You can read the whole post here.

The Definition of Information Governance Debated

Publishing on LinkedIn: The Information Governance Initiative Definition of Information Governance

I was invited to participate in the LinkedIn publishing program, so I thought I would give it a shot, with my first post about the definition of information governance developed at the Information Governance Initiative, with the support of 93% of those we surveyed. Check it out here.

IGI Definition of Information Governance

“There is no harm in keeping tiny emails”

Just a quick post –  came across this article when trying to fix a configuration issue with Apple Mail and Gmail, and I thought it nicely summed up the attitude I encounter from IT and others in our information governance engagements. Ask an attorney sometime if there really is “no harm in keeping tiny emails around in this age of ever-expanding storage space.” The drug dealers of the IG world have really done an incredible job convincing the addicts that the drug has no downside.

One of Gmail’s perks is a ridiculous amount of storage space, so Google has set it up to highly encourage archiving your email instead of having to make the decision to delete just some of it. After all, you never know if that rainy day will come next month or four years from now, and there’s no harm in keeping tiny emails around in this age of ever-expanding storage space.

http://www.macworld.com/article/2033842/make-mail-and-gmail-play-nice.html

More often that not, here’s what happens on that “rainy day,” in a depressing office park somewhere in the suburbs:

The company spent $900,000 to produce an amount of data that would consume less than one-quarter of the available capacity of an ordinary DVD.

RAND study on e-discovery, 2012

Now, folks outside of the IG and e-discovery bubble might reasonably think that, hey if there is ever a problem, I can just start deleting emails then, right?

Here’s a couple more quotes to consider.

Court Orders Mirror-Imaging of Personal Computers for Purpose of Preservation

Court Orders Production of Five Years of Content from Facebook, MySpace for Opposing Counsel’s Review

And, my favorite

Plaintiff Sanctioned for Burning Personal Computer