In last month’s article we laid out the basic framework for understanding what Information Governance is and what we are trying to accomplish with a program. The next step in the process is for the Executive Champion to bring together the key individuals that deal with the information assets of the organization and create a steering committee to develop the policies and procedures that the rest of the organization will follow. OK, stop for a minute and reread that last sentence because the fate of the entire program hangs in the balance with the success at accomplishing everything alluded to in that statement. There are two specific roles in that statement that are absolutely critical to understand in order to give you the best chance for success:
The Executive Champion
The Executive Champion is the most important individual to the success of the program by far. This is an individual that has the authority to affect organizational change and, preferably, budgetary approval or at minimum has sufficient clout in the budgetary process to shepherd the funding necessary to see the program through. This person must be a Leader in the organization, attuned to the political environment and be able to foster collaboration which is the key to successful change management.
Now this person does not necessarily have to be directly involved with the day to day administration of the program, although that can certainly be the case, they are crucial to the success of the program because they communicate the program’s value in the Executive conference rooms. This is no small thing. In fact it is so important that without this person you should stop planning immediately for you will fail.
The Steering Committee
Information governance must be everyone’s responsibility for the program to be successful, but there is always someone in each department or functional area that knows where to find all the critical information for the department and how it should be used. These are individuals that should be part of the Steering Committee because one person cannot implement this program alone. They are not necessarily department managers, although that can certainly be the case, but are generally found closer to the actual task at hand and the information involved. It is vital that these people be brought into the Steering Committee because they will be integral to the next steps in the process.
The Steering Committee is the group that will review, update or create all of the policies and procedures for the program as well as make recommendations and ultimately select any technology to be incorporated into the program. If this sounds like a lot of responsibility and effort, it’s because it is. Being a member of the Steering Committee is a long term commitment that will involve quite a bit of time at the beginning of the process, but it is vital to the success of the program overall.
The Steering Committee Facilitator
There is one more critical person and that is the Steering Committee Facilitator. The Steering Committee Facilitator should be a respected member of the organization that can cross the political lines found in any organization and build consensus. Ideally they would also understand the practice of information governance, but it’s not required. It is more important that they are adept at the soft skills needed to successfully implement this massive change management project across the organization.
So there you have it! You understand what Information Governance is, what it can do for your organization and what roles are necessary to create a successful program. The next article will outline a process to evaluate where your program is in terms of maturity against industry accepted standards. Let’s get this process going!