2013 | 2014 Information Governance Benchmarking Survey For The US Federal Government

Topics: Federal Records and Information Management

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A Call to Modernize Information Governance in the U.S. Federal Government

Cohasset Associates is pleased to complement its recently published, eighth biennial survey white paper with this study, borne of an analysis of the broader survey outcomes. The impetus for this study was driven by Iron Mountain and its desire to identify drivers and differences associated with practices in selected organizations. This white paper explicitly addresses Federal Governments, from a global perspective, contrasting its survey results to the overall survey results, which span many types of organizations. This white paper provides authoritative, up-to-date benchmarking metrics on information lifecycle practices in Federal Governments. You will find:

  • Incisive and comprehensive measures of the current state of information governance practices.
  • Details on successes, obstacles and opportunities for more effective information lifecycle management.
  • Insightful actions that will modernize information governance to meet today’s challenges.

Survey results provide evidence that:

  1. Overall, RIM and IG programs are more prevalent, better-designed, and inclusive of electronically stored information (ESI). However, many essential implementation elements are not being addressed.
  2. Effective IG is increasingly recognized as an imperative for corporate compliance and risk mitigation. Coordination and integration is on the rise.
  3. While improvements are reported in the management of some ESI, information governance must modernize or forever be losing in a game of catch-up.
  4. Legal Hold processes are more commonplace, but over-preservation is an immense challenge to the implementation of effective information lifecycle controls, thereby contributing to future risk and complexity.

Survey Overview and Research Methodology

Survey Overview

Modern Records and Information Management (RIM) programs are evolving through formal relationships with information governance (IG) disciplines. This in-depth study of the state of RIM and IG specifically pertains to Federal Governments – identifying program and discipline strengths and opportunities.

With the knowledge gained from these survey results, you can:

  • Assess the state of your organization's records and information management programs, as well its broader disciplines of information governance
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses, and measure your progress against the outcomes identified by both your peers and by those from All Organizations participating in the survey
  • Develop communications that highlight your program's accomplishments and its opportunities for improvement
  • Formulate an action plan for modernizing your program, by leveraging the recommended actions presented in the survey highlights

Thanks to: Cohasset Associates wishes to express its appreciation to Iron Mountain for identifying the need for these specific organizational measures and for its financial support. Gratitude also is extended to the over 1,400 participants, completing this year's survey and to ARMA International and AIIM for co-sponsoring the survey.

Research Methodology

The research was conducted using a web-based survey tool. Over 1,400 survey responses were received between November 2013 and February 2014. The 2013 | 2014 biennial white paper reflects the initial 1,300 survey responses. The metrics in this white paper are based on the over 100 responses from Federal Governments survey participants spanning the globe, as a subset of over 1,400 total responses received. Invitees include:

  • ARMA International members
  • AIIM members
  • Recent attendees of Cohasset Associates' Managing Electronic Records (MER) Conference
  • Iron Mountain customers
  • Records Management LISTSERV members

Survey Highlights

These Survey Highlights summarize the overall results, recommending actions for modernizing information governance. The four survey highlights and their respective implementation actions are detailed in this section, along with key benchmarking data from the survey. Respond to information governance opportunities by using this section to formulate Federal Governments-specific internal action plans and to develop communications highlighting your program's strengths and opportunities.

Survey Highlights Recommended Actions
1.Overall, IG programs are more prevalent, better-designed, and inclusive of ESI. However, many essential implementation elements are not being addressed.
  • Compare the maturity of foundational IG program components to modern practices and create a plan to address program gaps
  • Define an overarching IG implementation strategy that aligns implementation outcomes to business priorities
  • Commit to ongoing communication, training and change management for all executives and employees
  • Use meaningful metrics to monitor, report and improve implementation results
2.Effective IG is increasingly recognized as an imperative for corporate compliance and risk mitigation. Coordination and integration is on the rise.
  • Align the cross-functional IG steering committee with risk management, compliance and other internal governance practices, and engage these executives in the IG implementation strategy
  • Leverage compliance and risk management relationships and processes
3.While improvements are reported in the management of some ESI, information governance must modernize or forever be losing in a game of catch-up.
  • Refine the implementation strategy to modernize the approach to lifecycle controls for ESI
  • Incorporate IG with application/system development and decommissioning
  • Apply IG practices to disaster recovery media
  • Define IG practices for newer storage locations and information types
  • Leverage content analytics tools for management, retention and deletion of ESI
4.Legal Hold processes are more commonplace, but over-preservation is an immense challenge to the implementation of effective information lifecycle controls, thereby contributing to future risk and complexity.
  • Coordinate with Legal to terminate legal holds when the matter is resolved
  • Work with Legal, Information Technology and the business areas to improve the precision of preservation

1. Overall, IG programs are more prevalent, better-designed, and inclusive of ESI. However, many essential implementation elements are not being addressed.

Defensible records and information management practices are founded on clear and consistent policies, retention rules, and training that result in systematic, repeatable and measurable implementation outcomes. Modern IG programs have adjusted their approach to address the realities of managing large volumes of electronically stored information (ESI).

Survey results uphold:

  • Ninety-one percent (91%) of survey participants who identify with Federal Governments report the existence of a records and information management program.
  • Fifty-one percent (51%) of Federal Governments survey respondents affirm that the development of a comprehensive strategy to guide future RIM direction is underway. Only 11% report a mature strategy.
  • Just 6% of Federal Governments survey participants report a mature use of metrics to guide RIM program assessment and improvement.

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