Reflections on INFOGOVCON15
I’ve been indulging myself in what we brits call ‘man flu’ since I returned from Hartford CT and INFOGOVCON15 and, on reflection, being sick must have made me pretty poor company at the event. Now that I’m back at work and feeling a little better I wanted to make some comment on what was clearly a very successful event for the IG Initiative. With over 200 people from leaders, through practitioners, service providers and vendors all under the same roof, INFOGOVCON15 had a great atmosphere combining the light but insightful entertainment of Barclay Blair’s hosting with a range of presentations and sessions from around the IG map. I also had the opportunity to participate in the Industry Committee Meeting and a review of its benchmarking analysis which provides some interesting insight into the views, priorities and drivers of those involved in bringing IG to life in the real world.
With information governance and the INFOGOVCON event still in its early days it seems inappropriate to attempt any conclusions; instead, the following elaborates on just some of the notes I took whilst I was there.
- Everyone present successfully stayed away from the tired discussion of ‘what is IG’ – PHEW! It was great instead to hear some clear examples of projects and activities which have contributed to or driven better IG practices in an organization.
- There is an understandable desire to add value to business processes (or similarly high-end returns) through IG. However, most of what I heard involved getting great results and returns through – frankly – attending to info housekeeping aka retention and disposal. From file share clean up to throwing out old back up tapes, with hard cost savings to boot.
- Even though C-suite players get it in principle, proactive IG remains hard to push onto any corporate agenda. That means those wanting to get started need to hijack or tag on to an event (see Sony). Matt Harvey of AstraZeneca wove this theme into his standing-room-only presentation.
- Joel Westphal from the US Navy presented ‘Who are we and why are we here?’ succinctly addressed the challenges and likely demise of the Records Manager function as we know it today. His personal insight on the value of the CIO with regards an organization’s information was refreshingly honest and frank. Clearly Joel is a big proponent of the CIGO/CDO role.
- Data in motion presents a great opportunity to invest in better information practices. A migration to the cloud or when assets are acquired or divested are good examples of this. At these times, the data has tangible costs, opportunities and risks associated with it and, of course, a budget too.
- Most organizations have skills in house to help drive IG-type projects – the question is ‘who pays for them?’ and ‘can they be used for my IG undertaking?’. Other organizations have been outsourcing or down-sizing their cadre of information professionals. That means that service providers are still key to enabling IG to become established.
Of course, information governance remains a journey, even for the informed souls that I joined in Hartford. INFOGOVCON15 presented everything in that context which gave each day a handy theme but also begged the question, ‘how will things have moved on next year?’ One challenge I see needing to be overcome is to begin to shift information governance from being a niche and somewhat highbrow concept into something that is readily and generally accepted as helpful outside of its learned community of analysts and practitioners. Right now, when I’m not at INFOGOVCON-like places I still need to consider whether using the term and its concepts will help or hinder my case. All the time that need remains the concept will divide rather than unify, even though so many people are actually already (unwittingly) engaged in the bits and pieces that fall under its umbrella. Fortunately, that’s exactly what the IGI has taken on and I look forward to working with them and the rest of the IG community to make it happen.
One more thing…. we won an Honorable Mention in the INFOGOVCON15 awards! Many thanks to everyone who made that possible. Please excuse the grainy photo of Peter Baumann, our CEO, accepting the award.