Good article from Mary Butler over at AHIMA that does a nice job of describing both my enthusiasm and wariness on the CIGO role:
Blair, however, has been among the most outspoken IG experts to advocate for the widespread adoption of the role chief information governance officer (CIGO), which would, ideally, put IG in the C-suite of an organization. In a blog post, Blair writes that he’s been encouraged by executive-level roles with IG functions, such as chief data officer.
He admits, however, that it is “simplistic to believe a new C-level title will solve anything on its own. In fact, in the past couple of decades we have seen some of these titles amount to little more than an empty office and a PR bump. Even with this knowledge and caution, I do believe that the idea of a C-level role for IG at least helps to bring attention and focus to the current, vast information leadership gap.
The single most important industry event I have yet attended; densely packed with immediately useable approaches, methodologies and best practices; staffed by passionate and supremely experienced SMEs – both within and extraneous to the discipline – providing a 360-degree view of the imminent CIGO revolution; overall a grand slam. A definite repeat for next year!
Richard Kessler, Head of Group Information Governance, UBS AG
Most organizations like the Information Governance Initiative do not publicly share the results of post-event surveys, but I work hard to be different and transparent. So, in that spirit, I am going to share results of the May 2015 CIGO Summit participant survey that just came in.
Overall, I’m really happy to see that in almost every metric we exceeded our goals. In one area we could have done better, but I knew that would be the case going in and will explain why. If you missed the CIGO Summit, check out this excellent write-up on the event.
Overall Event Satisfaction
So honored to be a part of such a diverse group of IG experts. The ability to collaborate and discuss directly with your speakers is invaluable! Leave it to the IGI to start the trend away from the power point/listen/5-minute Q&A all are accustomed to. Exactly what separates IGI/Barclay and the Gang from the impersonators. (Ok – might need to not be so harsh – I’ve been drinking)
Nearly all participants said they were very satisfied (71%) or satisfied (20%) with the event, proving that our commitment first and foremost to events that provide value to the participants is paying off. As insiders, we have seen with our own eyes that most industry events are actually designed almost exclusively for the sponsors. I believe that this serves neither the sponsors nor the participants. It is a difficult balance to strike, and it is much more work to put the participants first. For the CIGO Summit, we undertook a “by invitation only” model, which meant that I personally invited or approved each and every participant in the room. Believe me, this process is not fun and I had many painful conversations with excellent consultants and experts (personal friends in many cases) as to why they could not attend. Why? Because I wanted to make sure that the room was filled with senior, working IG practitioners. The providers in the room were a select number of excellent subject matter experts from IGI supporters who had funded the event itself. Quite frankly, without those supporters, this event would not have happened. We simply cannot charge attendees enough to cover the costs, much less pay ourselves (see below for more details).
This process was the right process for this event, given its focus and goals. It is not the right, or even necessary, process for other events that we do. For example, our next big event, InfoGovCon15 is inexpensive ($400 or less for 2.5 days), democratic (with session voting), and open to all.
As good as these results were, I have to say it still bothers me personally that 1 person (the 3.2% below) said that they were “very dissatisfied” with the event. Why? What did we do wrong? Were you at the wrong event? If you are reading, please contact me and let me know.
Why Did People Come to the Event?
It is so important, as we all march down this new road, that we learn from each other and exchange lessons learned. I love that this forum gave me a chance to meet my peers and be educated!
Nearly 100% of participants said that the reason they attended was to “learn what others are doing to advance information governance at their organizations.” It is very rewarding to see this result because so much of what we do at the IGI is focused on connecting our members to other members. You consistently tell us things like, “please just help us understand what other organizations are doing,” a request we have worked to fulfill in multiple ways, including our Annual Report, our online community of thousands of IG practitioners, our IG Boot Camps, our soon-to-be-published Benchmarking Report, and events like CIGO Summit and InfoGovCon. The next most common answer was “to network,” a very closely related concept.
How We Did on the Details
What a great and diverse group of colleagues. The event allowed us to share our IG stories. It is so helpful knowing I’m not alone in my IG pain.
Sharon Keck, Polsinelli, PC
Events live or die based on the details, and I was happy that each aspect of our conference from the smallest detail to the highest-level theme was highly rated. (i.e., in each case, higher than 4 out of 5). For example, participants rated the speakers at 4.45, the registration process 4.6, and the individual interaction at 4.26.
Information is not an IT problem, but a business problem. The CIGO Summit provided the perfect vehicle for developing a corporate cross-functional information strategy (Marketing, E-Discovery, Compliance, IR, Business Practices investigations, etc.) that balances organizational legal and technical challenges while maintaining business critical information in a consistent and defensible manner in order to deliver critical elements to support sustainable growth. I highly recommend it to those that wish to align themselves with thought leaders in the space. Get out in front of the information conundrum (volume rich, knowledge poor) and become an advocate for change.
Tim Kaufman, UTC
Our speakers, who we chose very careful and curated to fit into the overall theme and goal of the event, were also rated very highly, with each speaker receiving a rating over 4 out of 5. A certain senior level IGI official, who hosted and facilitated the event, received the highest speaker rating (but please don’t tell him that as he is already almost unbearable).
Unlike most industry events, we folded paid, professional speakers into the program because we wanted to expose our participants to fresh, expert viewpoints that would help them grow as IG leaders. Those speakers were also rated highly (4.43 and 4.11). We also put our sponsor speakers through the wringer, asking them to encapsulate their most important messages into a 6 minute and 40 second presentation comprised of 20 slides that auto-advance every 20 seconds. Each one of our sponsor speakers (Sue Trombley, Rob Hamilton, Julie Colgan, and Trent Livingston) rose to the challenge and did a magnificent job under pressure in providing useful, targeted information for this audience, and they were highly rated as well (an average rating of 4 out of 5).
What Did Participants Like Most About the Event?
Participating in the CIGO Summit was a unique opportunity to engage with many of IG’s leading professionals. The thorough and fast-paced agenda exceeded my expectations, both from a content perspective and as a venue for the frank exchange of ideas.
Here’s what participants told us they liked most about the event:
- Seniority of delegates.
- Event size and very interactive.
- So many senior IG people in one place- there is power in numbers and an agreement on how to move forward.
- Impactful agenda. Powerful interaction. Brilliantly executed.
- The interaction with brilliant IG visionaries and practitioners.
- The care with which it was designed.
- Being able to interact with so much talent and experience.
- Being involved with people promoting an emerging field
- The professionalism with which polarized opinions could be discussed
- Incredible gathering of IG thought leaders. Great speakers, great activities.
- I learned a lot, got inspired, and met lots of smart people.
- Practical insight from practitioners, war stories, gathered a really high-quality group
- I liked the mix of people who attended and the content was excellent.
- The constant collaboration and not just a PowerPoint and a person – it was like having a conversation with your speaker.
What Did Participants Like Least About the Event?
When designing this event, I had a pretty good idea what the answer to this question would be:
- Compressed timeframe.
- I actually would have liked it to be longer.
- Intense day – very packed.
- Not enough time for topic.
- Not enough time!
- Time crunch.
- Very long intense day. Might be better over 1 1/2 days.
- Went too fast.
- That it only lasted a day.
I literally cannot think of the last time I went to an event and left thinking that it was too short. If we had to fail in some way, I’m happy to fail in this way. I absolutely acknowledge that that we tried to do too much in one day. But, we had committed to a one-day event (somewhat arbitrarily I suppose, based on the assumption that it would be easier to pull off, which now I realize is not true) a long time ago, and needed to stick with it.
So, I aggressively cut and cut until I arrived at what I though needed to be the minimum topics we needed to cover. I knew it would be intense. I knew it would be too much. But I was more comfortable making a mistake in that direction than the other, which I could not bear: i.e., empty, fluffy, retread content full of the same old platitudes squeezed between hour-long “networking breaks.”
Let’s talk about some of the other things that people did not like:
- “Having vendors there.”
The market simply does not enable us to host an event like this, with people of this level of seniority, in an accessible major city, with the expected level of fit and finish, without sponsors. Without sponsors, the ticket price of this event just to allow us to break even on the hard costs would have been over $2500, which seems like a lot for a one-day event that does not result in some kind of certification or specific set of marketable skills, or at least promise to change your life forever. If we actually wanted to make money, and cover the thousands of hours of planning and execution time an event like this takes, we would have to charge much more.
Or, we can ask for the support of the providers in our IGI community, which we did. But, we did it in a very considered way. Our sponsors were allowed to send 1 or 2 people (depending on sponsor level) to the event, and not sales and marketing people. They needed to be senior IG subject matter experts who could contribute to the discussion. And that is what we did – we had several of the most recognized provider SMEs in the room who added great value to the discussion.
Also, there is a very clear and obvious reason to “have vendors in the room.” Quite simply, the problem of IG cannot be solved without technology. In my view, information about what technology is available and what it can to is just as valuable as information about experiences, successes, techniques, and tips. At the IGI our mission it to promote IG as far and wide as we can, and that includes promoting awareness of what is possible with technology currently available on the market.
Now the obvious question: why don’t we just do the event at a less expensive location, and let participants pay a lower rate, but one that would cover both the hard and soft costs? Well, if anyone has any ideas on how we attract and satisfy a room of CxO, SVP, VP, and Director-level attendees who already have too much on their plates to an event, venue and location that costs less than half of what a typical venue costs, please call me immediately at 646 450 4468. That being said, the hotel conference business is not a pleasant one, and we are looking at alternative venues and approaches that can both reduce costs and increase attendee value.
Would People Attend Again?
Hard numbers and soft skills: Great case studies, roadmaps and networking toward elevating the information governance stewardship. Thank you.
84% of people who attended said it was very likely (52%) or likely (32%) that they would attend this event again next year. We will do this event again, and evolve it each time, many more times. The focus of this first event was to introduce the concept of the CIGO, and to build a Playbook that aspiring CIGOs and other in that ecosystem could use to explain the role and help build the case for it (look for the first edition of the Playbook in July). We will continue to provide education, networking, and community around the topic of IG leadership. We got the ball rolling with this event and will continue as a core part of our mission.
Thank you to everyone who attended and to everyone who made this event a success. If you want to participate in or support our next CIGO Summit, please let me know.
An edited and condensed transcript of this speech is available here.
Here’s the Christmas Story That The North Pole Does Not Want You to Read!
No Reason to Rejoice – Information Governance Scrooge Ups Widely Believed to Freeze North Pole Operations
A North Pole Business Insider Exclusive
the npbi snapshot™
- Christmas 2014 cancelled
- Big Data & information governance woes to blame
- Belief in Santa at all-time low
- Avalanche of mismanaged data reported
- Key accounts frozen by hacking attacks at critical manufacturing facilities
- Elvin workforce in open revolt
North Pole Business Insider has exclusively learned that United Christmas Consolidated Corporation (UCCC) has scheduled an emergency press conference for December 24th where it is expected to announce that Christmas 2014 is cancelled.
The shocking announcement is expected to receive a frosty reception from families and retailers alike, although some harried shoppers we spoke to this morning reported experiencing an astonishing sense of relief and deep well-being upon hearing the news.
According to internal documents obtained by NPBI, the cancellation is a result of “wholesale failure of manufacturing and logistics systems as a result of unforeseen exigencies in our Big Data 2020 program.”
Our attempts to speak directly with beleaguered UCCC CEO, Santa, have been unsuccessful.
However, company insiders have revealed exclusively to NPBI that their efforts to become a “data-driven” institution have largely failed, bringing Christmas 2014 to an unceremonious end.
Rumors of large-scale hacking attacks in the company’s frozen data lake have also plagued the company. Executives from The Halloween Industrial Concern, Valentines Conglomerated, Thanksgiving Partners LLC, and other proto-nation-states have been angered by the continuing encroachment of UCCC. In particular, The Halloween Industrial Concern vehemently protested the upcoming distribution by UCCC of a gift depicting a pumpkin head exploding.
It is widely suspected that UCCC email messages recently provided to the media were stolen by disgruntled Christmas crackers working for Halloween. These communications shockingly revealed UCCC executives to be completely normal and flawed people rather than the fictional heroes portrayed by the toys the company manufactures and distributes.
As widely suspected by parents worldwide, internal company documents provided to NPBI reveal that the failed 2013 big data and information governance program resulted in bad children receiving 10,000 Instagram followers and a YouTube production deal, and good children receiving coal. As previously reported – exclusively by NPBI – both the coal lobby and environmental groups have surprisingly found common cause in battling the coal program, which UCCC continued to defend on the basis of “tradition and nostalgia for a time that never really existed.”
This has been a troubled year for the company, with global turmoil arising from its “Disruptortation” division that uses a network of mobile device-enabled contract delivery drivers to replace incumbent government-supported systems. As we reported in October, a senior manager of the Disruptortation division threatened to permanently put one of our reporters who has been fiercely critical of the company on the permanent naughty list. The reporter and her family have been forced to move every few days, to ensure that UCCC will not be able to track her and deliver the rancid egg nog and fetid mincemeat pies that those on the list famously receive.
In a recent AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit, an anonymous member of the UCCC logistics team fought back against accusations that “these supposed IG failures” were in fact a ploy to “extort the world” by “holding the holidays hostage” in hopes of influencing ongoing wage negotiations. The Elvin manager also fielded several questions regarding her stature, skin color, mating habits, and views on the people who were “truly behind” a decade-old terrorist attack on one of the North Pole’s most famous manufacturing towers. A coordinated group of commenters frequently disrupted the AMA by claiming that female elves should not be in the game and toy manufacturing business at all.
Insiders tell NPBI that the company’s information governance program has been chilled by executive jockeying and political resistance. Santa himself has been described as outwardly supportive but bureaucratically resistant, ensuring that the program moves at a glacial pace. Insiders say dreams of “big data sugar plums” have been iced by “almost complete ignorance” of legal, compliance and risk issues, immature corporate governance programs, and outdated technologies.
Reached for comment, Eöl the 117th, Chief Data Officer at UCCC, said, “Big Data allows us to move past the dark days of gut-based decision making and into the era of clear-eyed, data-driven rationality.” When pressed on how he decides which data to include in UCCC’s analytics programs or how he determines that its algorithmic outputs are reliable, Mr. Eöl responded, “Intuition and years of experience.”
In addition, the company’s ill-fated Christmas 2013 initiative to install self-destructing RFID sensors in every gift delivered worldwide resulted in an avalanche of contradictory and confusing data that the firm was ill prepared to tackle. Insiders say that it was never clear if the company had the legal right to collect the data and to transfer it to the North Pole – a legal jurisdiction that does not align with tougher privacy protections found in many jurisdictions, including the European Union.
Critics of the program pointed out that it was also unclear what the company intended to do with the data.
Company spokesman Aegnor, son of Finarfin, claims such data is only used to “to serve our community better, by bringing joy and love to the world.”
Critics do not mince words about UCCC’s well-known motto, “We Put Evil on a Toboggan and Push it to the South Pole,” dismissing the claim as a hoary chestnut.
While UCCC will not confirm reports of a full-scale elf rebellion and attempted coup d’état, Mr. Aegnor did allow that workforce productivity been negatively affected by the company’s efforts to transform itself.
Several of UCCC’s contract workers have been injured in ongoing civil strife over the future of its data center operations. Older manufacturing workers in the Western sector, rallying behind their apparent leader, See Eye Oh, are fiercely opposed to moving core systems to the cloud. The Eastern sector, populated by a younger and more hirsute demographic and dominated by artisanal egg nog shops and Whitmanesque locavore hotspots serving grass-fed reindeer and organic heirloom lingonberries, favors a transition to systems focused on mobility, access, and collaboration.
Mediators from UCCC’s legal department have held high-level talks between the two factions with little progress.
@2014 North Pole Business Insider, not a real thing and certainly not a division of Barclay T. Blair LLC.
Just published, over on LinkedIn, an exclusive mine case study about how Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest mining companies, is using Active Navigation to remediate over a petabyte of unstructured content (over a billion files) that’s spread out over 5 continents. So far they have found that at least 40% of it can be thrown away or archived. However, the most interesting part of the story is the deal structure. Rio Tinto and Active Navigation designed a shared risk/reward approach where the vendor only gets paid when it delivers. The money flows when the vendor identifies content that can be deleted or archived to Amazon Web Services. But, it also gets paid when it identifies the good stuff – the content that has true value to the business. In other words, Active Navigation is compensated for generating customer value, whether that value comes from identifying chaff or identifying wheat.
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.
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.
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 @parapadakis, @piewords, @schellberg, @jimerrifield, @chris_p_walker, and @rlayel 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.