How to Frame Your Information Governance Pitch

In a recent post, I discussed how only information governance (IG) folks will really care about IG. And in general, that’s true — unless you can align your IG efforts with things non-IG folks care about. Spoiler alert: they don’t care about good information lifecycle management, consistent information disposition, reducing ROT, or effective corporate records management.

So what do they care about? Let’s dig in.

Connecting IG to Profit

Basically, non-IG folks care about making money because executive leadership supports (and funds) the efforts that make more money for the organization. And this makes total sense. Unless we’re a not-for-profit that’s “doing it for the kids,” we’re in business to do business. Anything else is at best a distraction and at worst irrelevant.

So, if you want to succeed with IG, you need to be able to connect IG to how your organization makes money. Otherwise, you risk getting little to no support.

But it begs the question: do you know how your organization makes money? Here’s how to know the answer:

  • What does it cost to create your product?
  • What does it cost to sell your product?
  • What does it cost to service your product?
  • What does it cost to “keep the lights on” and run the company?
  • What does it cost to look ahead and innovate to stay relevant?

If you don’t know the answer to all of these questions, you can’t consistently get IG funded and supported, which will cap the effects that IG can have at your organization.

Start by making sure you can answer these questions, but then quickly move on to communicating the value of IG in the terms that non-IG folks care about.

3 Ways to Frame Your Information Governance Pitch

However you answer these questions for your organization, your IG pitch should boil down to three things:

  1. Increasing revenue
  2. Increasing margins
  3. Reducing costs (enables #2)

Viewed through these three lenses, ask yourself why anyone would fund things like ROT cleanup, records management, or consistent disposition. If your answer is in IG speak, they wouldn’t (and they won’t) fund it.

Instead, forget your own IG concerns and focus relentlessly on how IG can contribute to the three things your organization in fact cares about: increasing revenue, increasing margins, or reducing costs (or some combination of the three).

Steps to Articulate Your IG Ask

Your first step is to figure out the answers to as many of the five questions posed above as possible. Your business partners for sure know them and, if you’re going to get their support for your IG efforts, you need to, too.

Step two is to tie IG directly to increased revenue, increased margins, or lower costs (ideally two or all three of them).

Step three is to articulate the connection between IG and these three goals in non-IG language — get as close in your communications to how end users speak as possible.

The final step is to be real about your chances for funding and support. After all, leadership has more positive business case initiatives than they can afford. It’s entirely possible you can articulate the IG ask perfectly and still get no funding — that’s just the way of the corporate world. But at least you wouldn’t have lost because your ask was irrelevant.

Rich Medina
Joe Shepley
I’m VP and Practice Lead, focusing on developing Doculabs’ InfoSec practice and its applications in a wide range of industries.