Six Dial Movers for Information Governance in the Life Sciences Industry

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Do you wonder how successfully you are managing your information? Do you look to peers for comparison and validation? This year, Life Sciences Records and Information Governance professionals have a new window into what others in their industry are doing. In addition to underwriting the Information Governance Benchmarking Survey Whitepaper from Cohasset Associates, ARMA and AIIM, Iron Mountain has also commissioned an analysis and reporting of the survey data for the Life Sciences industry.

The 2013-2014 Information Governance Benchmarking Survey for the Life Sciences Industry examines the survey responses of more than 100 professionals in order to provide benchmarking metrics on information lifecycle practices specific to the Life Sciences industry. It also compares Life Sciences responses to the findings of all 1,400 people who took the survey, irrespective of industry, to give an indication of the maturity of Information Governance (IG) in your industry. Recommendations are provided for modernizing IG so that you can formulate internal action plans and develop communications about your program’s strengths and opportunities, with facts to support your strategy.

Overview:

This brief is a companion piece to the 2013-2014 Information Governance Benchmarking Survey for the Life Sciences Industry. Written by Iron Mountain subject matter experts in Life Sciences Records and Information Management (RIM), this brief provides our view of 3 ‘big takeaways’ and 6 potential ‘dial movers’ for strengthening Life Sciences RIM/IG. It also incorporates Life Sciences industry trends along with the challenges and opportunities that these present.

Big Takeaway #1: RIM programs are established and actively supported by many significant groups within the organization.

  • Ninety-three % of respondents mostly or strongly agree that they have a program and a retention schedule in place.
  • Eighty-eight % of Life Sciences respondents have updated their retention schedule within the past 3 years and 85% mostly or strongly agree that it is clear and easy to interpret while 90% mostly or strongly agree that it is media neutral (applying to both paper and electronic information).
  • Life Sciences respondents, like those from all organizations, report very high levels of engagement and support from Legal (84%), Compliance/Regulatory Affairs (91%), Privacy and Data Protection (87%), Risk Management (78%), Internal Audit (76%), their RIM Governance Steering Committee (74%), and their RIM network (85 percent).

However…

  • Only 62% of Life Sciences respondents report that they have a mature cross-functional RIM governance structure or have improvement in establishing this currently underway.
  • Life Sciences respondents report relatively low levels of engagement and support from IT (68%).
  • Only 68% of Life Sciences respondents mostly or strongly agree that they have Executive Management support.
  • Only 56% of Life Sciences respondents report a mature comprehensive strategy to guide future RIM direction or have improvements in establishing this currently underway.

Potential ‘dial movers:’

 

What significant improvements can be made with similar or somewhat less effort – the ‘dial movers?’ With programs and schedules in place the next ‘frontier,’ in which a focused approach is more likely to drive significant improvement, includes:

1 - Cross-functional RIM Governance Structure: The Cohasset 2013-2014 Information Governance Benchmarking Survey for the Life Sciences Industry report points out that the purpose of a cross-functional RIM governance structure is to provide: direction and oversight, sponsorship for resources, funding and leadership to engender organizational buy-in. Organizational sponsorship for resources and funder and engendering organization buy-in can significantly increase the success of RIM and IG program goals and initiatives. Cross-functional RIM governance structure is a dial mover.

2 – Information Technology Engagement and Support: The Cohasset 2013-2014 Information Governance Benchmarking Survey for the Life Sciences Industry report points out that “Modern IG programs have adjusted their approach to address the realities of managing large volumes of electronically stored information (ESI).” Achievement of this state requires significant engagement and support from IT. IT engagement and support can also help to make evaluation metrics and reporting more accessible. Building and strengthening a close alliance with IT is a dial mover.

3 - Executive Management Support: Life Sciences respondents, like all respondents also reported less engagement and support from Mid-level management (61%) and workforce employees (51 – 52%), Executive Management support can positively influence/drive the others. So, increasing Executive Management support is a dial mover.

4 - Comprehensive Strategy to Guide Future RIM Direction: The Cohasset 2013-2014 Information Governance Benchmarking Survey for the Life Sciences Industry report points out that “information governance requires a strategy that aligns with the organization’s priorities and goals. The strategy must focus on achieving significant business value and/or risk reduction.” If you seek insights to help you evolve or develop a comprehensive strategy to get you from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow, and delivers real business value, Iron Mountain’s Records and Information Management RIM360°™ website content provides new thinking and proven practices from many organizations like yours (http://www.ironmountain.com/Services/Records-Management-And-Storage.aspx).

A RIM strategy that aligns with your organization’s business or risk reduction goals, and a plan to implement it, is a dial mover. It can be a very powerful dial mover by providing Senior Management with visibility to the alignment of RIM and IG with the organization’s business goals and value delivered, thus setting the stage for increased Senior Management support.

Impact of Life Sciences Mega Trend: Externalization across the Life Sciences Value Chain

The Life Sciences industry is experiencing a trend that is demanding an evolution of the business model and ecosystem, creating a significant change in the control and management of records and information. With a goal of decreasing time-to-market while increasing operational efficiency and financial returns, organizations in the Life Sciences industry are increasingly outsourcing significant functions to Contract Research Organizations (CROs), Contract Manufacturing Organizations (CMOs) and Contract Sales Organizations (CSOs). The distribution of these functions to external sources increases the challenge of ensuring that records and information management policy and practices are adopted and consistently applied across all areas where records are created, managed and maintained.

While this trend is not directly called out in the Cohasset 2013-2014 Information Governance Benchmarking Survey for the Life Sciences Industry report, it contains responses indicating that Life Sciences RIM and IG professionals are assessing opportunities to strengthen the consistent application of policy and practices across their increasingly distributed organizations’ records and information management.

Big Takeaway #2: RIM and IG professionals are assessing opportunities to strengthen the consistent application of policy and practices.

  • Forty % of Life Sciences respondents have improvements underway to add RIM compliance terms to service provider contracts, compared to 27% of respondents from all industries.
  • Sixty-three % of Life Sciences respondents mostly or strongly agree that they need to increase uniformity across business operations, compared to 69%of respondents from all industries.
  • Sixty-five % of Life Sciences respondents mostly or strongly identify the need to apply retention schedules and policies across international operations.

Potential ‘dial mover:’

5- Consistent adoption and application of policy and practices: A compliant records management program must demonstrate the key elements of consistency, accountability, adoption and accessibility. Your records management program will be judged by the consistency of its implementation. Implementing initiatives that strengthen the consistent application of policy and practices across business units, geographic locations and vendors is a dial mover.

Big Takeaway #3: In the Life Sciences industry, automated tools are less consistently used to identify physical and electronic information for deletion/destruction than across other industries. And, RIM metrics for electronically stored information are mature.

  • Only 28% of the Life Sciences respondents have a mature set of RIM metrics in place, or improvement underway, for electronically stored information, compared to 37% of respondents from all industries.
  • Life Sciences respondents were 16 to 17% more likely to have fully or partially automated processes in place for deleting stored information from eligible email, instant messages other electronic communications (55%) and voicemail (43%) – but – 8% less likely to have similar automation for content/document management (e.g.ECM) (43%) compared to respondents from all industries.
  • Only 46% of Life Sciences respondents strongly or mostly agree that the deletion of eligible electronically stored information is more routine and efficient than it was 3 years ago, compared to 53% of respondents from all industries.
  • Only 27% of Life Sciences respondents use partially or fully automated methods to identify records eligible for destruction when these documents are stored on-site compare to 55% who store them off-site.

There’s plenty of room for growth and development in areas involving electronically stored information. However, the inconsistencies reported by Life Sciences respondents seems to indicate a strategic plan to more consistently deploy automation across more types of information is achievable with stronger IT partnering .

The Cohasset 2013-2014 Information Governance Benchmarking Survey for the Life Sciences Industry report points out that “Given the maturity of systems designed to assign and manage the retention of paper records off-site…[there is an] opportunity to modernize a foundational information governance process. “ True, and the data shows that Life Sciences organizations are significantly more likely to derive the benefit of automated processes when they store paper off-site, compared to storing it on-site.

Potential ‘dial movers:’

6 – Whenever possible, take advantage of automated processes for identifying paper and electronic information eligible for deletion/destruction: The Cohasset 2013-2014 Information Governance Benchmarking Survey for the Life Sciences Industry report points out that “Automating the deletion/destruction process is essential to attaining consistent and systematic end-of-lifecycle processes.” Active collaboration with IT – an alliance, as suggested in ‘Dial mover #1’ (above) - enables the responsible management of information throughout its lifecycle and can provide significant expertise and resources to deploy automated processes across paper and electronic information. Using automated processes for identifying paper and electronic information eligible for deletion/destruction, across all storage locations/repositories, is a dial mover.

Summary:

New benchmark comparison data, insights and information resources now exist for Life Sciences professionals who seek to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of their RIM/IG posture and drive even greater business value. This brief identifies 3 ‘Big Takeaways’ and 6 potential ‘Dial Movers’ from the Cohasset 2013-2014 Information Governance Benchmarking Survey for the Life Sciences Industry report and the impact of a Life Sciences mega trend. In this age of ‘doing more with less,’ you can’t afford to ‘boil the ocean.’ Focused planning, implementation, measurement and reporting of RIM initiatives and successes will help to get you to where you want to be. Using information and insights from peers coupled with guidance and support from internal and external partners can sustain you on your journey.

Iron Mountain expert authors:

Vickie Malis
Vickie Malis is a Director of Global Product Management and Solutions, focused on the Energy industry, at Iron Mountain where she has worked for over 6 years. Prior to Iron Mountain she held positions that include market research at International Data Corporation (IDC) and Product Marketing at Kodak. She holds an MBA from Columbia University and is an ARMA member.

Sue Trombley
Sue Trombley is Managing Director of Thought Leadership at Iron Mountain, has more than 25 years of information governance consulting experience. She previously has led Iron Mountain’s Consulting group. Sue sits on the AIIM Board, the University of Texas at Austin of School of Information Advisory Council, and is VP of the Boston ARMA chapter. She holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science and recently was certified as an Information Government Professional.