As Information management consultants we engage with organisations to help them create, review and implement complex information governance frameworks. Many of these organisations are subject to frequent and recurring administrative and organisational change. These changes present significant challenges for continuity of information access.
Recently we undertook a large information governance project for a government department who had undergone administrative restructuring. Key challenges for the department were:
- The provision of a single, shared technology platform, and
- the transfer of data into the shared platform and applications.
Additionally, we are seeing government business operations being outsourced. This has been common practice for the past few years for the delivery of infrastructure assets, but is now becoming more frequent for delivery of services. This has profound implications for information governance frameworks. Information creators are separate entities – with their own systems, metadata and data governance practices. But from the point of view of the responsible government agencies, the resulting physical and information assets must be returned to public custody once the infrastructure is commissioned or services delivered. The issues of information governance become increasing complex across multiple organisations. Information governance therefore requires policy settings, understanding what information assets have been created, where they are held, who administers them.
For the information custodian or owner, the resulting information assets needed to be governed, identified, secured and made accessible to operational staff. Often there were some basic metadata standards and transfer protocols established under contracts. This can make the transfer of data easier, but data migration may not be the best or complete solution. It’s becomes increasingly important to maintain relationships between data and the creating entities (the private providers) for data integrity.
In addition, there is the difficulty within the government agencies to have information governance staff with the right skills and authority to support implementation and delivery of frameworks and associated activities, and to raise awareness of information governance requirements
For managers the information framework is complex. Frequently the business rules on information governance are unclear and there is poor visibility at the executive level. There is a policy in document format, but how is this implemented; who can access data; what are the requirements for security and privacy protection; what are the rules on overriding security settings when regulators and auditors request access; who owns the data?
This is not just a compliance issue, it is about the struggle organisations have to document all of their information, where it is, who controls it and how to apply governance.
We have been seeking tools and systems providing visibility of the datasets and dataflows, to understand who and how data is used, assess data quality, identify risks and prioritise remediation.
Recently we worked with Informatica’s solutions to provide discovery and visualization of information assets. Their AXON product provides a dashboard providing graphical display on information assets, business term definitions, enabling business context and policy documentation. It provides executive management with the ability to gain useful insight into organisational information assets. We believe this is a new way of providing managers with the insight they need to manage information assets, to better understand the information framework and to use data to assess and mediate risks
We’re looking for ways to use automation for better business analysis. We want solutions that provide a sustainable solution. Recently we participated in a webinar with Informatica’s Data Governance Practice lead to explore emerging options for the issues we are seeing in our client base.
About the Author
Kerry Gordon is a Director and Consultant with Recordkeeping Innovation. She works on digital recordkeeping and archives for clients in Australia and SEAsia. Kerry delivers regular training programs in records management and managing digital records. Kerry has a Masters Degree in Information Management from Monash University, Melbourne and has experience in developing large scale strategic studies for digital transition, classification and retention, managing administrative and organisational change, project management and communications supporting information governance.