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Just google the term “maximising the value of information” and you will get a plethora of results.  How did we get here and why are we still struggling to manage information?

Technology has led to a massive growth in the volume of information. Now there are new technologies to manage the ever-increasing volumes of information across multiple systems and platforms.  Some of these systems are great and really help us achieve efficiency, ease of use and better business outcomes.  But shouldn’t we be more strategic instead of just throwing another piece of technology at it?

How can we maximise the value and minimize the risk to our information before implementing new technologies? Implementing Information Governance strategies can provide organisations with a framework to better understand and manage the information that they need to create, use, share and and at some point information that can be disposed of.

Information Governance, as described by Gartner[1], “is the specification of decision rights and an accountability framework to ensure appropriate behaviour in the valuation, creation, storage, use, archiving and deletion of information. It includes the processes, roles and policies, standards and metrics that ensure the effective and efficient use of information…”.  In guidance for Establishing an Information Governance Framework, the National Archives of Australia describes Information Governance as a “system for managing information assets across an entire organisation to support its business outcomes”.  Data.NSW promotes an Information Management Framework that’s provides a shared direction for how information should be managed within the NSW public sector.  The common theme here is to have a framework and systems that manage all of an organisation’s information, including records and data, from creation through to business use and eventual disposal.

With effective information governance practices in place organisations can achieve responsible corporate governance and leverage opportunities to maximise the value of information assets.

Information Governance Frameworks

Developing an information governance framework with a ‘by design’ approach will help organisations to have information that is trusted, reliable and business outcome focused.  Effective frameworks require collaboration across specialty areas including privacy, security, compliance, information management, records management, data management and information technology.  A key component in aligning theses specialty areas is an information asset register.

Information Asset Register

You can’t develop an effective information governance framework or maximise the value of your information until you know what you have and understand its context, who controls it and its limitations.  An Information Asset Register helps you to understand:

  • what your information assets are,
  • where your information assets are located,
  • what software applications they are managed in,
  • what formats they are in,
  • who the business owners or custodians are,
  • requirements for access, security and privacy,
  • the value of information to the organisation legally or otherwise (high or low),
  • requirements for retention and disposal, and
  • possible risks that need to be mitigated

An information asset register should be a key component in any information governance framework and is a great starting point in maximizing the value of your information.  Below are just 2 examples of what an information asset register might look like.

[1] https://www.gartner.com/en/information-technology/glossary/information-governance#:~:text=Gartner%20defines%20information%20governance%20as,archiving%20and%20deletion%20of%20information.

About the Author

Annette Senior has a Graduate Diploma of Science (Information Services) and has worked in information specialist roles since 2000.  She has delivered front line support services for Electronic Information Management systems and has extensive experience as a systems administrator for TRIM.  In addition to her technical understanding, she is a knowledgeable and adept trainer, designing and delivering information management and system-based training for diverse audiences.  Annette’s’ experience in risk and compliance areas informs her approach to information and records management frameworks.  She has experience developing and maintaining recordkeeping policy, procedures, classification and disposal tools to support business objectives and the implementation of technology.