One of the many benefits of a data-driven approach is that you can make clearer decisions around what’s working and what’s not.

When it comes to measuring an Information Governance (IG) program, ARMA International’s Information Governance Implementation Model (IGIM) is a powerful standardized tool for benchmarking program performance across seven key areas.

This post is the second in a series about ARMA’s 2021 Trends in Information Governance. Our first part, featuring an overview of the report, can be found by clicking here.

This week, we’ll be taking a look at what ARMA’s second annual IG Maturity Index Survey Report reveals about the 4 qualities that successful transformational IG programs have in common based on ARMA’s IGIM.

1. They Invest in the Best to Do the Job

As many can attest, it wasn’t that long ago that “information management” meant securely stored paper records, an accurate inventory, and, when the time came, a reliable cross-cut shredder (and maybe some bandages for the paper cuts).

Nowadays, with over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created every day, most of it digital-first, that approach doesn’t really cut it (pun intended).

Transformative information management programs are powered by the dual engines of people and technology. This means getting the right people, in the right place, and giving them the tools they need to support an organization’s information management goals and supporting systems.

This point is so important it bears repeating:

You need a technologically-enabled information management program that ensures your organization has the ability to not only mitigate risk but use your information to a competitive advantage.

2. The Correct People are Formally Empowered to Make Meaningful Decisions

More than 28% of respondents said that they were investing heavily in the technology needed to make information available to the right people at the right time. Unfortunately, at the same time, less than one-quarter of organizations (23.8%) had more than just the essentials in place when it comes to the people side of IG.

This is a dangerous balance as, without the right number of people with the right experience in place, and in a position to make decisions, the result could be technology left on its own, which can spell disaster for an IG program.

The most successful IG programs have a formally established steering committee in place. It is comprised of representation inclusive of a broad group of relevant stakeholders from across the organization represented. This group meets regularly to make decisions and has the authority to make meaningful IG-related decisions.

3. They Have a Plan…

As we mentioned last week, no single organization reported that they had a program that was 100% perfect.

Every IG program has at least one area that requires improvement.

That’s where tools like the IGIM come in.

The information gleaned from comparing programs against a standardized tool means they can not only identify deficiencies and make appropriate improvements but can measure the results as well.

4. …And Their Plan Reflects Reality

Last (and most important) to keep in mind is this:

While the IGIM and related data is a fantastic way to benchmark your organization, along with following IG best practices, no two organizations are the same. Therefore, no two information governance programs will be the same.

As ARMA notes in the report, your IG program “exists in the context of [your] specific organization [and it should therefore consider] your organization’s specific requirements, priorities, and objectives against which success should be measured.”

Next week, we’ll take a look at mistakes most organizations are making now in their IGIM program (and give you the resources you need to avoid or fix them).

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

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