IG, Regulations & Compliance

Organizations make strides, but still slow to fully automate information governance
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IG, Regulations & Compliance

Organizations make strides, but still slow to fully automate information governance

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The Holy Grail of fully automated information governance (IG) is still elusive but progress is being made.

The Holy Grail of fully automated information governance (IG) is still elusive but progress is being made.

The good news is evident in research from The Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM) that found that 73% of organizations see IG as “important” or “critical” to their business strategy. The percentage that have “robust, enterprise-wide information governance policies” in place has nearly doubled over the past five years.

Nevertheless, that near doubling is only from 14% to 25%, meaning that the vast majority of organizations are still struggling to implement comprehensive IG practices.

Automation mandate

Why is automation so important? One reason is that information volumes are exploding. Executives told AIIM that they expect the amount of data entering their organizations to more than quadruple over the next two years and that 60% of it will be in unstructured forms like emails, images and text documents. That forecast may be conservative as IDC expects the number to be more like 80%.

There is simply no way for humans to scan and classify that much information. Spreading responsibility across the organization is a non-starter. AIIM found that business users have neither the expertise, time, nor interest in taking on the job.  

And there's an imperative to capture that growing amount of information. Nearly 80% of executives told AIIM that digital transformation is key to their future. Digital-centric companies excel at catching every bit of information that comes their way and wringing value out of it.

Executive indifference

If the value is so high, what are the roadblocks? Chief among them is that it has been difficult to get the attention of top executives for IG initiatives. Nearly half (45%) of organizations told AIIM their C-level executives are “not engaged at all” or only “somewhat engaged” in IG. 

The good news is that the percentage of respondents who said it’s difficult to get senior management endorsement dropped from 43% in 2014 to 30% in 2019 and the percentage that said getting anybody interested at all fell from 36% to 22%.

A convergence of forces is driving the urgency to automate IG.

  • More than two-thirds of the world’s countries have put in place some kind of data protection and privacy legislation, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Organizations that can’t put their finger on all the relevant data they hold about customers at an individual level can be subject to penalties, not to mention the cost of purging the information from their files.

  • Data breaches exposed 36 billion records in the first half of 2020, according to Varonis. Accenture estimates the number of security breaches has increased 11% since 2018 and 67% since 2014. Organizations that don’t know what data they have are not able to protect it appropriately. They shouldn’t have to find out when customer files appear on the dark web.

  • Digital transformation accelerates data-driven decision-making.  Data-driven organizations are three times more likely to report significant improvements in the quality of their decisions than those who rely on experience or instinct, according to a PwC study. They are also more efficient, responsive and aware of customer preferences and market trends.

The quality of automation is improving. Computerized ingestion systems using machine learning can now understand the content, categorize it and assign metadata as it enters the organization. Intelligent document scanning systems can be taught to understand scanned images and identify data elements and patterns that enable them to classify the documents and even extract data for use in business intelligence. 

This proactive approach is important since 68% of executives surveyed by AIIM said they are shifting from archival classification to assigning metadata at the point of entry, thereby enabling incoming information to kick off automated processes. There is a long way to go, however. AIIM found that only 39% of incoming information is now being processed automatically, and the floodgates are about to open.

For all these reasons, organizations should move swiftly to automate information governance. On June 2, AIIM will present a webinar on how to automate information governance and tackle privacy management challenges at the same time. Learn how to tap into modern and easy-to-use capabilities to automate retention and privacy policies on the journey toward fully automated governance.

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