This post is the last in a 4-part series examining ARMA’s second annual IG Maturity Index (IGMI) Survey Report. In case you missed them, the first three posts covered what’s in the 2021 IG Maturity Index Survey, the traits of successful IG programs, and how to fix common challenges.

This week we’re going to uncover the six questions you should be asking yourself as you look to gauge your IG program progress over time.

If you haven’t already, read through ARMA’s Information Governance Maturity Report and get an idea of where your IG program rates on its scale of 1-5 across all seven areas of the IGMI.

Once you’ve done that, take a moment to think about your program a bit more analytically by asking yourself these six questions:

What are we doing right?

It may seem self-aggrandizing at first, but this is an important question to ask of yourself and your team; and more importantly – document the answers for.

Your IG program should not simply operate off the motto of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Instead, review what you are doing correctly and make sure that those policies, processes, and procedures continue to be documented and followed through on. Any optimizations that are added along the way should also be documented.

Which area of IG is most in need based on the IGMI?

Every program surveyed in ARMA’s report struggled in at least one of the seven areas of the IGMI.

Which one is it for you?

It can be overwhelming to tackle a challenge as huge as overhauling an information management program. Knowing what area needs the most work can give you a starting point for the first phase of your improvement plan.

What does success look like for us?

Once you know which area you need to work on, you’ll also need to decide what “done” looks like. This can change from organization to organization as each will have its own requirements, priorities, and objectives. You may find, like most companies, that it’s most practical to progress through IG program changes in phases rather than attempt an overnight transformation.

As ARMA wrote in their report:

“A maturity level of 3 or 4 might be enough in a given IGIM area in the context of your specific organization, whereas it might be a goal to push another area all the way to level 5 (transformational).”

Where can we get quick wins?

While you’ll always have to balance business needs with speed, starting small and approaching improvement with an iterative approach, as mentioned above, will allow you to get results quickly and build momentum over time.

This might mean focusing on one aspect of the information lifecycle (e.g., capture) or ensuring that your records retention schedule is documented and up to date according to the latest legislation in your jurisdiction.

Who should be involved in the program (who isn’t already)?

When it comes to information management programs, there are two ways to scale: horizontally across the departments in your organization, and vertically from the C-suite down to your independent contractors.

Both are necessary for your program’s success, and both begin and end with the people involved.

Getting leadership buy-in, creating cross-departmental collaboration through a steering committee, and consistent, transparent communication and training across the organization, will ensure that your plan works from both bottom-up and top-down approaches to avoid information silos that can sometimes arise in larger enterprises.

Do we need to bring in an information management expert?

Finding the right information management partner can be a key part of moving the lever toward the IGMI’s transformational levels, which all self-aware companies should strive to reach.

With the right partner, you can create and execute a holistic program and set of policies that provide complete management and control of your organization’s information. Knowing which questions to ask can help you distinguish a true information management partner (that listens and puts your interests first), from just an indifferent order-chasing vendor.

Contact us for a free gap analysis and start building an integrated information management program today.

To read the full ARMA survey results, download ARMA’s 2021 Information Governance Maturity Index Report!

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