information-governanceWe’ve talked a lot about the mechanics of implementing an Information Governance program in your organization. When you are implementing a new program, regardless of what it is, your bigger challenge is getting everyone to go along with it. Ever heard “We’ve being doing it this way for 30 years!”? Change Management is one of the most critical soft skills you can have in your toolbox. In this issue of Information Governance Insights we’ll look at some of the more common issues and suggest ways to overcome them.

Whose in Charge?

Let’s get this one out of the way first: The biggest issue you’ll ever encounter is the lack of Management Support. This is a definite show stopper. If you do not have a program champion in the “C” Suite or senior management, someone that believes in the program’s benefit and Return On Investment, you’re done. Do not pass Go, do not spend any time or money – period. Go back through your business case and make the improvements you need to convince this audience that these changes are worth making. Information Governance isn’t something that can be done bottom up. It has to be a top down thing.

Technical Difficulties

Next up is a more common issue; dealing with your friendly neighborhood Information Technology department. Many of us in Information Governance already know plenty about this group because we’re part of them! Like it or not, most organizations consider that Information Governance comes under the purview of the Information Technology. The one thing that many Information Governance professionals fail to understand is that the job of Information Technology is to keep the computers running. They are mechanics, highly skilled and very adaptive, but they want to solve problems and keep the trains running. They can find new software, add new servers to solve business issues, and implement it faster than you can keep up with.

The best way to solve this is to get involved! Do what you can to become an active part of your organization’s procurement process. Adding more storage on to the existing infrastructure or implementing a new software package may be the easiest and quickest solution, but it may not be the best solution.Many organizations have an Enterprise Architect. This is the person that is responsible for creating a strategic plan for the organization’s IT infrastructure. Get to know this person because everything they do affects your program. If your organization doesn’t have n Enterprise Architect, they will have some procurement process in place. You need to be involved in this process so you can understand where information assets will come from and plan accordingly.

What’s In It For Me?

If you work in an organization where everyone does what the Boss says unquestioningly, you can skip this one. For the rest of us an important part of any procedure is crafting a message are the benefits of following the procedure. Communicating the reasons behind the procedure so that the staff can understand why it is in their, and the entire organization’s,  best interest is a vital part of the adoption process. This is even more critical because chances are very good that the new procedure will add to the staff’s workload. We need to realize that most people will gladly do what you ask of them as long as they understand the benefits. Telling the staff about these benefits should be part of your Communication Plan. A good Communication Plan starts as early as possible to let people know what is going on and what is coming up so there’s no surprises, why it’s happening, what’s in it for them and how you are going to help them prepare for the change before it happens.

Big Data has also helped to change the view of the value of information for many organizations, but that has brought a host of new issues as organizations rush to create huge “Data Lakes” of information. While these repositories can be valuable, there needs to be massive effort to cleanse and normalize the data before it is migrated into the new system. The old adage of “Garbage In, Garbage Out” has never been more accurate. At the same time there needs to be a similar effort by organizations to define what they want out of this new system. Determine some key areas for Business Intelligence that can have an immediate impact on the organization’s strategic goals if at all possible. The ability to quickly show results to the organization is critical to the perception of overall value.

These are some of the more common issues you’re likely to encounter as you implement your program. The suggestions I’ve offered are my one standbys that have worked for me. I hope it helps. Good luck!

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