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Information Governance: Project or Process?

"Fix the problem, not the symptoms."

Sadly, many an organization has spent money and careers attempting to implement information governance. These failed implementations often are the result of incorrect expectations between sponsors and those attempting to implement information governance. For example, the CIO of one large U.S. bank chartered an information governance effort due to data quality challenges in a regulatory reporting program. Two weeks into the effort, he asked, "Is this a three-month or four-month project?" Despite all the meetings, power points, and implementation plans, this CIO didn't see information governance beyond a simple data-quality cleanup project.

Before embarking on an information governance journey, an organization should determine whether it needs a one-time effort, or a commitment to an ongoing process. Information governance can be a project or a program, and is usually the most effective when considered to be an organizational process—no different from sales or accounting. Rarely does a CEO ask whether the accounting project is complete once the books are balanced. One of the difficult change-management aspects of implementing information governance is convincing stakeholders and sponsors that an information governance program will address symptoms, whereas an information governance process will prevent problems.

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