Records Management and Information Governance: What’s the Difference?

Last week I spoke at the MER 2011 Conference in Chicago. It was a good conference, with lots of discussion about the future of records management. Any similar discussion today usually also involves a discussion of Information Governance, and what it brings to the world of records management.

I have this discussion quite frequently with clients and others, and thought it would be useful to lay out some thoughts on how records management and IG are similar and different. There are varying opinions about what these terms even mean, but the need for clarity is not merely academic. And, simply changing the name of your existing RM function to IG is not the same thing as “doing” IG.

This is the topic of our latest brief in the OpenText Executive Brief series. Check it out here (one-time registration with OpenText required).


  1. Larry

    Okay, so the title of this post was NOT intended as a rhetorical question? =)

    Sure, you can change the name and re-vamp the program and that works, but “Information Governance” is more about policy and concept where “Records Management” (as it is historically known) is more about practice and process.

    An organization can develop an Information Governance Strategy to support and solidify it’s existing RM Program and Policy- and many/most should consider doing this. This ensures high level executive buy-in, creation of criteria that at a management level requires all facets of the organization to comply with, and develops demonstrable benefits to the overall organization of compliance with a set of common criteria for managing information assets.

    Aww… Barclay…were you just pullin’ my leg here? Hecksakes… you know this stuff! =)

  2. Pingback: New Information Governance Executive Brief Series
  3. Sam McCollum

    At ENMAX Corporation, we define Information Governance as ‘An accountability framework … that includes the people, processes, policy, and technology, … that ensure the effective management of information … to enable an organization to achieve its strategic goals and business programs.’
    “an accountability framework” since it is a governance function. “effective management of information” to ensure that it includes both physical records and electronic information. “people, processes, policy, and technology” to ensure that it reflects the issues of change management and culture, integration and support of business processes, the issues of legal and compliance, and the value of technology solutions. “strategic goals and business processes” to ensure the focus is on the strategy of the organization which needs to balance compliance requirements with business objectives.
    We view information Governance as the high level, strategic function that provides direction to all information operations functions.

    I am interested in your comments on this definition.

    • Barclay

      Sam, I think the def­i­n­i­tion is great and hits the key ele­ments of the IG con­cept. At ENMAX, how does the IG func­tion report into the orga­ni­za­tion as a whole?

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