10 Reasons Information Governance Makes Sense: Reason #10 — Certainty

IG Provides Certainty

“Less than 10 per cent of respondents claimed that they were ‘very confident’ that ’emails relating to document commitments and obligations . . . are recorded, complete, and retrievable.’

AIIM Industry Watch: Email Management, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly[1. AIIM International, “AIIM Industry Watch: Email Management, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,” AIIM International, May 2009.]

IN BRIEF: IG provides organizations with certainty that they are properly managing their information assets, and confidence that they won’t be surprised when litigation or investigation hits. Also, IG provides certainty that money and resources are being spent wisely, which is important in an era of increasing shareholder activism.

In “Life Without Lawyers,” Philip K. Howard argues that the structure and application of the law in the US makes it more difficult for businesses and institutions such as schools and hospitals to succeed. “Straining daily choices through a legal sieve basically kills the human instinct needed to get things done,” he writes.[2. Philip K. Howard, “Life Without Lawyers: Liberating Americans from Too Much Law,” W. W. Norton and Company, 2009.]

Managing information is complex, especially for global companies impacted by laws and regulations in multiple jurisdictions.  The fear of throwing away the wrong piece of information can be paralyzing – I have seen it first hand at many companies.

When I started working with one of my clients, they proudly showed me a binder full or well-written IG policies and procedures. As I read through them, I wondered why they needed me. Then, when I asked how the policies were being enforced, the reason became clear. They were in a fairly litigious industry, and due to multiple, broadly drawn and overlapping Legal Holds notices, the IG policies had in effect been suspended. No information was being disposed of, and it had been this way for over two years.  Information systems were under serious strain. Expenses were growing. And yet, the organization still lived in fear that they would be hit with a spoliation (i.e., destruction of evidence) claim.  The organization was being slowly strangled.

We helped the client build a better understanding of their information environment, narrow the scope of unnecessarily broad Legal Holds, and build a comprehensive, contemporary IG program. They began to move forward with confidence – even the outside litigators blessed the program.

IG provides certainty that information is being managed in a way that complies with the law and meets business requirements.  No program is foolproof. Nothing can totally inoculate you from future problems. But, a well designed and implemented IG program can provide a level of that enables an organization to focus on success.

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