Information Governance: Assess Yourself

Topics: Govern Information

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch famously—and repeatedly—asked his constituency, "How am I doing?" Though he opened himself up for some outspoken skewering, it was a question worth repeating.

"How are we doing?" is also a question your firm should be asking constantly about its records information management (RIM) program. Ongoing self-assessment chronicles progress and can help you identify trouble areas needing immediate attention. But despite these clear advantages to self-assessment, an Iron Mountain survey reports that although 90 percent of organizations have established RIM programs, only eight percent of those actually measure progress.

Laying Down a Path to Assessment

Proper RIM program assessment extends well past Koch's initial question, of course. You need to establish ways to gauge your successes—and remedy your failures. These six steps can help you determine what metrics to use in your firm's self-assessment process.

Step #1: Develop an information governance dream team.

IG often is RIM-driven. However, your initiative will fare better if you include other stakeholders on your IG team, including those from the IT, compliance, legal, privacy, HR, and operations departments, among others.

Step #2: Inventory paper records.

Get a firm grip on the content of the records in your archives, then rank them by level of importance. Once you understand the types of information you're storing, you can better determine the metrics needed to evaluate and maintain an information governance program.

Step #3: Securely destroy what you don't need.

Keeping records beyond their designated lifecycle can leave your company at risk during legal discoveries. Create—and follow—thoughtful document retention and destruction schedules that adhere to regulatory and business requirements. Set up a process for regular audits of these schedules.

Step #4: Pare down paper through intelligent scanning.

Unneeded records can impede your access to more important information. Digitize only what you need, when you need it. This reduces your day-to-day dependency on paper records and gets your information into a more easily searchable format.

Step #5: Tag and index all records.

Classify records by descriptors such as information type, author, subject matter and date created. By doing this, you'll be able to more finely slice and dice information for faster access.

Step #6: Apply analytics.

If you don't understand your information, you certainly won't understand how to use it. Analytical tools can help you parse out the information in your records to make informed business decisions and find new business opportunities.

Once you've established self-assessment controls and metrics, you need to use them. A trusted partner can help you organize your RIM program and assess your progress. That way, when Koch's famous question and others pop up, you'll be able to answer with confidence.

Do you have questions about records and information management? Read additional Knowledge Center stories on this subject, or contact Iron Mountain's Information Management team. You'll be connected with a knowledgeable product and services specialist who can address your specific challenges.

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Records Management Solution Brief
Records Management Solution Brief

Topics: Govern Information

With Iron Mountain Records Management services, you'll have the resources you need to effectively store and safeguard your information assets, and make them easily accessible to individuals across your organization.