Since its release in 2018, ARMA International’s Information Governance Implementation Model (IGIM) has become a powerful standardized tool for measuring an information governance (IG) program’s maturity across seven key areas.

The ability to measure your program effectively is vital—but it’s equally important to know where your program stands when compared with other organizations.

ARMA’s second annual IG Maturity Index Survey Report provides data-driven insights into how the IG industry has changed year-over-year, making it easy to spot trends across organizations and programs of varying sizes and industries.

This post is the first in a series where we’ll explore ARMA’s 2021 survey results, take stock of the status of mature IG programs, and identify mistakes that can be avoided.

We’ll start by taking a look at some of the key takeaways:

Large Enterprises Lead the Way (mostly)

Across the board, larger organizations (1000+ employees) reported higher maturity levels across all measures than smaller to mid-sized organizations (less than 999 employees), though not by a huge margin.

There are a few factors that may be contributing to this difference, including:

  • Larger organizations may have more legacy records and information to contend with, and necessitate quicker action to mitigate risk and regulatory fines.
  • Small to mid-sized organizations may struggle to invest in the person-power necessary to drive maturity forward as quickly, year-over-year.

Interestingly, Steering Committees were one area that small/mid-sized organizations self-reported as more mature compared to larger organizations.

Systems Investment was the Focus in 2020

The infrastructure and technology powering IG programs were the only areas of maturity that increased year over year and were the leading areas of success for most organizations surveyed (77.4% of respondents reported that they were meeting the essentials or better).

This trend is likely due to accelerated investment in systems as organizations respond and react to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizations should consider that as infrastructure expands, choosing solutions that deliver on the promise of scalability and compliance (while ensuring that authorized users have easy access) will provide the most value over time. The key to making the right decision is asking the right questions of your potential partners.

Processes are Still a Struggle

The last few years have seen new challenges emerge – new categories of records created; a sudden shift to a “work-from-anywhere” world, new regulatory requirements, and so on.

Information governance becomes more complex by the day and many professionals struggle to keep their programs aligned.

Many of the respondents in ARMA’s survey said that maintaining consistency in IG programs was a struggle last year, with over 43% of survey respondents noting that they were deficient in this area.

What can help this cause is having a standard, repeatable process to evaluate how to incorporate new records of all types, and defining controls for the security, privacy, retention, and disposition of anticipated or existing records.

Every Information Management Program has Room for Improvement

Finally, if you feel that your organization’s IM program is strong in some areas, but struggling in others, you’re not alone.

One of the most interesting results from this year’s ARMA survey is there was not a single respondent who claimed to have a perfect program in place. Every organization surveyed reported that they were struggling in at least one area across the seven surveyed.

In addition to those key takeaways above, next week, we’ll take a deeper dive into what ARMA’s survey reveals about the most successful information management programs.

For complete access to all of the survey results, you can download ARMA’s full 2021 Information Governance Maturity Index Report here.

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