In-house Counsel Uniquely Positioned to Lead Information Governance Initiatives

March 30, 2017 by Andrew Borgschulte
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As we move our way through 2017, information governance has thankfully gained more and more traction. This increased awareness and understanding must move into actual initiatives, as the volume of data continues to rise and information regulations around the world increase.

Within a given organization, the in-house counsel is often at the confluence of several things including eDiscovery, compliance, legal holds, and overall information management. As it happens, these same things are integral to any information governance initiative. Let's look at a few key ways in-house counsel can lead the way.

Understand the scope

As with any project, it is important to know the scope of the information governance initiative. Often in large organizations, have a "pilot" department allows for an honest critical assessment of the IG initiative and what might need to be tweaked before rolling out to the rest of the enterprise.

Also related to scope, is the data itself. Where is the data being held? What rules and policies are currently in place? What are the points of weakness in the current processes? These questions will help direct the information governance initiative. We've included an infographic with some interesting information about common IG roadblocks.

Information_Governance_Roadblocks.jpg

Get buy-In

In a previous blog post we laid out 5 steps to engage internal stakeholders. Being able to demonstrate a complete understanding of what everyone is trying to achieve will go a long way. People want technology for what it can do, not for its own sake. How does what you’re proposing tie into business goals, strategy, and pain points?

Whenever you’re talking about what you want to get done, ask yourself whether you’re talking about the benefits or the features. A feature of a new information governance initiative might be a detailed file plan or legal hold capability. That’s less compelling than:

  • Saying an employee will save three to four hours a week in what is currently time lost searching for a record, or
  • They can rest assured their important records are being properly managed

Coordinate

Now that you have understood the current policies and processes, it is time to correct any errors or inefficiencies and ensure these actions are coordinated across departments and repositories. Without proper alignment, the IG initiative will not be able to have the impact that it should.

An important part of an information governance initiative is an effective file plan. CLICK HERE to download our file plan that we use here at RecordLion and click on the banner at the bottom of this post for our new white paper that explains the process of building a file in detail.

Take action

Don't let perfection be the enemy of good information governance. Every day that an IG initiative is delayed, more and more data is created and becomes potential ROT and a major compliance risk.

As mentioned above, start small with a single department and learn best practices along the way. There is not a single path to complete information governance. Every industry and organization present unique challenges and opportunities.

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Topics: File Plan, Information Governance Program, General Counsel