For those that are involved in the daily maintenance of data and information for an enterprise, there is no need to harp on the importance of a thorough and advanced information governance program. We all know the gravity that policies, processes and controls have on administrative efficiency and legal compliance. But often the purse strings for these projects are held by executives that are removed from the daily tasks of managing records. That means that in order to get the funding necessary to implement an effective IG program, records managers must be equipped to present a persuasive case for investing in RIM practices.
We have compiled advice from industry leaders on how to convince executives to fund IG programs and change the perception of records management from an expense center to a department of value.
The first step in making your case is to quantify the benefits of IG efforts. Sure, a long list of benefits looks impressive. But if you can not translate those benefits to numbers, chances are your proposal will fall flat. Unfortunately, IG benefits are tricky to equate to dollar signs, so here are our suggestions for quality quantification:
Barclay T. Blair, IG industry leader said “The single most effective technique that I have used to measure and communicate the value of information governance is through personal case studies.” Our advice is to share a story from your company or a peer institution of how IG practices made a tangible impact on company revenue.
A local municipality, found an increase in revenue when they implemented a new program that allowed them to quickly process building permits by accessing the documents needed for approval more efficiently.
Narrow the scope.
One of the most difficult aspects of assessing IG needs and benefits is the vast area that these processes cover. Our advice is to narrow the scope of your assessment. Don’t try to tackle an enterprise-wide overhaul. Specific and directed results are much more convincing than general or vague outcomes.
Consider the difference between these statements: “Employing the second phase of the electronic records management policy decreased spending in the administration budget by 37%” or “Our information governance project cuts spending across the board.” By focusing on one project at a time, you are able to provide measureable and actionable data from the impact of each individual effort.
If you are just beginning an IG overhaul, expert Jill Dyche’s advice is to “start with a small, controlled project based on an acknowledged business problem that information problems are enabling.” Look for a project that is:
- Small and controlled
- Addresses an acknowledged business problem
- Shows the greatest potential for a significant ROI
Focusing on one contained project will help you define the variables that can be measured and eliminate outside confounds. Record and report results in a targeted proposal, proving the value of IG efforts. Once you earn the respect of executives in one area of an IG program you will open opportunities for new projects.
To get you started take a look at the possible benefits of a strong IG program and what we suggest you try to quantify:
- Enhanced Access and Data Quality Reporting- not only do IG efforts make it easier to locate data, but with a robust program, data becomes scalable and actionable. Use these insights to suggest improvements to data collection. Look for opportunities to cut costs and refine business processes and then present any findings in terms of opportunity to save money or acquire more business.
- Improved Data Reliability – Save the time, effort and cost of cleaning, fixing or fudging data. With comprehensive policies in place, valuable data is preserved and easily located, saving resources that are wasted in the re-creation of vital information.
- Support Structure Across Departments- Opening an information network enables departmental cooperation and improves reporting credibility. These invaluable benefits not only amplify efficiency, but unifying IG structures can save enterprises on software and hardware costs alone. Look for additional inter-departmental cost benefits especially for electronic records management.
- Regulate and Secure Data Assets- Standardizing the treatment of information can significantly reduce regulatory risk. With the inclusion of an organization-wide destruction policy or retention schedule, records managers function as the legal department’s closest ally. Quantifying this benefit takes a bit more insight, but with the backing of a member of your legal team, this benefit easily becomes one of the most persuasive in your deck.
Additional Benefits of IG Programs to consider:
- Control the creation and growth of records
- Assimilate new records management technologies
- Safeguard vital information
- Preserve the corporate memory
- Foster professionalism in running the business