Information governance

Finding the ROI in Information Governance

Information Governance (IG) is a critical component for today’s businesses because all companies are mandated to preserve vast amounts of information in a manner that complies with government regulations. But IG goes beyond specifying how information should be preserved; it also pertains to controlling how information is created, secured, accessed, distributed, and ultimately destroyed for better accessibility and usability and therefore greater effectiveness for the organization.

For some, IG is perceived as a costly annoyance. However, the reality is that information governance can help a business gain a competitive edge, especially when implemented with a robust Enterprise Content Management system. How? It promotes the strategic and economic use of information. To understand its real value, an organization’s leaders must understand IG’s Return on Investment.

Hard Cost Savings: Eliminate Excess Information

From an operational perspective, businesses are always striving to be more efficient, to reduce risks and to lower costs. Believe it or not, IG can help accomplish these objectives – particularly during phases of growth and expansion. An organization with a strong IG plan can grow using less IT resources, fewer or smaller data centers, less power consumption, and even fewer employees. The hard cost savings of a well-implemented Information Governance plan are contributed to the efficiency in how information is captured, categorized and stored and the rigor with which non-essential information is removed.

According to Deborah Juhnke, Director of Information Governance at Husch Blackwell, “The true out-of-pocket cost of long-term storage can be as much as five to seven times annually the cost of the hardware.”1

Even though improving IG requires some upfront expenditure, poor information governance exposes companies to the higher costs associated with managing ever-increasing quantities of information. A rigorous IG approach assists organizations to store only the information they will need in the future and helps to get rid of the clutter – assuring tremendous long-term savings.

Tightened Internal Controls: Reduce Exposure to Litigation
Add to IG’s streamlined information storage advantage its ability to ensure company-wide compliance with government regulations.

Organizations with strong governance standards spend less time and energy on audits because they can produce the right information at the right time. As regulations change, strong governance standards in conjunction with an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system become increasingly essential.

Increased Accessibility: Improve Workflow Efficiency

Information Governance contributes to the overall package of ECM by helping to tighten up paper processes. Not only are documents easier to find amidst the well-organized and minimalist storage environment, but staff can prioritize specific steps in the workflow according to strategic business plans.

For instance, the Accounts Payable department will be better alerted to outstanding invoices. By ensuring that invoices are paid on time, companies can realize the hard cost savings of vendor discounts and rewards for on-time payment.

Future-Focused: Zero-Based Information Governance

An organization can reduce or even eliminate out-of-pocket costs by applying a “zero-based” mindset to IG. This outlook refocuses the attention from the information problems of the past to the present task: establishing a culture of progress2. This means organizations make improvements based on governing new and incoming information, not on the quantities of information waiting to be governed. Of course, eventually a business should amend its old IG issues, but the focus should remain on moving forward. This approach cuts costs immediately by slowing the growth of unmanaged information and minimizing inefficient technologies such as email archives or raw file storage.

Zero-based IG disrupts the mindless proliferation of content at its source: the beginning of a document’s life cycle.

The ROI of Information Governance: What’s The Bottom Line?

For any department or organization, Information Governance is a fact of life. But business leaders need not think of it as a burden; IG is a tool that improves efficiency, saves time, ensures compliance with legal regulations, and saves money. The best-run companies use IG to gain a competitive advantage and to find new returns on old investments.