Bleeding Edge Information Governance: IG as a Service Center

Some of our most advanced clients in information management and information governance (IG) have spent three or more years building out IG capabilities. They are now beginning to seriously provide them as services to the rest of the enterprise. What’s the best way to make this move from build to execute?

The key is engagement. To secure enterprise adoption of IG, the IG function should develop and implement aggressive relationship management with all relevant participants in IG. Specifically, we recommend that you should focus on two initiatives:

  1. Develop an IG “front office” for relationship management, advisory and other services.
  2. Provide an IG Playbook to facilitate self-service IG, assisted IG and full-service IG

Develop an IG Front Office

You likely already have a fairly mature COE (center of excellence) or some other shared function that’s responsible and accountable for records and information management and governance. We suggest that you take this a step further. Develop a “front office” for IG to be the primary interface between IG and all business units. It will be the single entry point.

Adopting such an aggressive front office approach to engagement and services didn’t originate in the “defensive” risk management side of the house but rather the “offensive” doing-business side of the house. The front office approach is a best practice used by mature organizations in information management to roll out “offensive” digital workplace and other digital transformation capabilities.

Front Office Components

The front office should have two components — it should focus on building relationships to address both customer projects and internal IG program work (e.g., developing services). This two-component, relationship-building front office ensures consistency and unification of capabilities without compromising either customer or program work.

Also consider an advisory council. It may be a subset of an existing information management-related working group or committee, but it should include internal business partners and internal service providers (e.g., end user IT, digital transformation, legal). The advisory council should meet quarterly and focus on service strategy and development, process improvements, performance reporting, etc.

Near-Term Priorities for the Front Office

Your organization has likely been developing IG expertise and services, including for a departmental file plan, shared drive remediation or ECM system optimization. The front office should continue to develop your services and engagement approach to drive IG adoption among end users in your enterprise.

You need to address two overarching work streams to drive IG adoption:

  1. Service catalog development. Standardize and expand your IG service offerings.
  2. Engagement strategy. Define the approach to engaging with end users to deliver IG services, including processes and procedures for delivery, marketing, training and communication.

Services Catalog Components

For each service, define at a minimum:

  • Detailed description
  • Use cases (why use this service, for what purposes, to achieve what results)
  • Resources required (IG, end users, other stakeholders as needed)
  • Prerequisites (people, process, technology)
  • Timeline
  • Cost
  • SLAs for delivery and ongoing maintenance

Engagement Strategy Components

Define the approach for how you’re going to engage with end users to deliver IG services:

  • Customer segmentation – Who are your customers, what are their characteristics, what are their needs/problems that IG services will address/solve?
  • Engagement operating model – How will IG engage with end users, using what channels/modes, on what cadence?
  • Communication matrix – For each customer segment, define the communications required to engage with them (should include both marketing to promote service offerings and training/education).
  • Communication design – Design and develop each communication defined in the communication matrix.
  • Engagement workplan – Schedule of engagement activities (12–18-month horizon is typical).

Develop an Information Governance Playbook

The second initiative we recommend is to provide an IG Playbook to facilitate self-service IG, assisted IG and full-service IG.

A playbook is a set of step-by-step guides for delivering each service from the services catalog. The guides provide your business units and other IG participants with guidance on IG practices and initiatives for fulfilling your company’s IG regulatory compliance and risk management obligations and improving overall IG performance (e.g., productivity, efficiency, user experience). The Playbook should address full service, assisted service and self-service initiatives (where IG delivers all, some or no services to the business users).

Playbook Topics

The Playbook should typically include the following:

  • All currently planned IG services, some of which should be repackaged for customer-centric consumption
  • Starter kit (navigation guide for IG, maps to the most important IG-related policies and procedures, basic guidance)
  • Information lifecycle (e.g., create/capture, store/archive/hold, manage, use/share, destroy)
  • Onboarding and maintaining repositories
  • File cleanup, remediation, migration (defensible disposition, abandoned data)

Playbook Components

Playbook specifics will differ depending on the nature of guidance and service, but expect to include:

  • Service overview and description (based on service catalog descriptions)
  • Prerequisites for delivering service (people, process, and technology)
  • Swim-lane process diagram of work required to deliver service
  • Procedure document that details the steps required to deliver service (“click here, click there” level of detail)
  • Documentation templates (whether required or suggested) to use in delivering the service (e.g., project plans, training guides, etc.)
  • Technology available for use in delivering service (whether required or suggested)
  • Success criteria and metrics for measuring (during implementation and run-and-maintain)

Next Steps

To evolve your IG program from primarily “build” to successful enterprise adoption, you should develop and implement aggressive relationship management with all relevant IG participants. A highly effective way to do this is by focusing on two initiatives: an IG “front office” and an IG Playbook. Contact Doculabs for more information.

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Rich Medina
Rich Medina
I’m a Principal Consultant and co-founder of Doculabs, and the resident expert in using ECM for information lifecycle management.