Digital Footprints Leading to Necessary Information Governance (and more fiber in our diets)
Posted by crhunter
This week’s readings contained much about information. I actually started to feel a bit of information overload just thinking about how one would have to govern the amount of information now created living in this technological age. The column chart on page nine under “Call of Action” from “Systems of Engagement and the Future of Enterprise IT” really caused me to pause for several minutes as I thought about the years of change and how we have stored information. The chart presented major changes from storage of information on microfilm to social content. When I think about microfilm as the primary means of information storage some time ago and then compare that time to today and its use of social content as a way to store content and information, I imagine researchers pouring over microfilm in former days in comparison to future researchers years from now pouring over Facebook status updates, Tweets, and emails as a way of garnering information. The amount of information digitally recorded these days is steadily growing.
This brings me to information governance, which is something I really hadn’t given much thought to until our readings this week. How do we govern information? Who has to govern it? When I think about businesses and their needs to maintain content and information in this digital age, I can’t help wonder how many job positions have been created these days purely to take on this type of job? I especially thought about these questions when I read from “Systems of Engagement” this idea in relation to businesses, “Meanwhile, over on the business-to-business side, the attraction is more about cutting the time it takes to reach closure on any key issue, be that a product design change, a customer complaint, a late shipment, a pricing dispute, or the like. Here again, even though the communications are often in real time, they are leaving their trail of digital footprints — emails, for sure, but also Tweets, recorded web conferences and other types of tools (or other types of content). What is the right policy for storing or deleting such records? What preparations must one make for the inevitable e-discovery requests that our litigious society will surely generate?” (Moore, 2011).
I thought it interesting that businesses now need to consider that while they often have live conversations to resolve issues, indeed there is usually some trail in the digital world. I found it even more interesting that the final thought here revolves around the idea that without proper preparations, businesses can open themselves up to legal action and loss of money. This is a key reason why businesses will likely get serious about information governance as noted in “Eating More Fiber and Getting to the WHY? of Information Governance” (digitallandfill.org, Oct. 17, 2013).
Businesses will need to find a way to properly govern the amount of information now coming in via many sources, both hard copy and digital. If businesses must worry about reducing risks and costs but must also reduce the amount of information being saved, I am not sure how they can avoid possible legal action without making sure they save everything. And how would they save everything if the system to save information went automated in an effort to reduce costs as “Eating More Fiber” suggests? Without capturing the digital footprints accurately, a piece of the trail may be missing that could prevent the businesses from losing time and money.
Maybe the inaction to really take information governance seriously comes more from people just not knowing how in the world to manage the incredible amount of information we have available to us these days. As noted by the author of “Eating More Fiber”, “… but I feel the real reason for inaction is that the WHY? of information governance is not fully understood – at a gut level – by executives.” The gut that may require more fiber is also the gut that may not fully understand the impact of not properly governing the information available in this age.
On a side note, from both readings, I also was led to AIMM and its upcoming conference; just the title alone sounds interesting: Information is the New World Currency. Businesses and organizations can also learn about information governance by taking a course available through AIMM.
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