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Book Review: Selling Information Governance to the Business


Who governs the information that runs your company?

Written by Thomas M. Stockwell

We've all witnessed the explosion of information within our organizations. Recent studies have estimated that nearly 15 petabytes—15 million gigabytes—of data are created every day. This data represents the backbone of how our industries interact, how they manage their businesses, how they perceive themselves, and how they position themselves to compete. It doesn't reside on any individual computing platform, application, or corporate silo, but it has an incalculable value that represents the lifeblood of our commerce.

Yet the topic of Information Governance—the accountability framework and the decision rights to that information—is too often ignored by the management of our organizations. Who owns the information? Who is responsible for its validity? Who determines its value and its life cycle? How does the information support the business strategy? These are questions that repeatedly arise whenever and wherever information systems are deployed. But the scope and scale of those questions too often intimidate business management, and the issues of Information Governance escape management focus and budgetary support.

Still, those organizations that find ways to structure and manage Information Governance more effectively are the ones most likely to succeed: These organizations are better able to pinpoint opportunities and enhance their performance—and better compete—because their Information Governance policies and processes enable management to better understand the context and the content of the information resources they are building. They are better able to respond to the pressures of compliance and are uniquely positioned to take advantage of new technologies and market trends. Why? Because their information houses are in order, and their attentions are focused on accurate, current, and important resources that Information Governance policies support.

The problem is enlisting the business—its management and its leaders—to embrace the practices and the methodologies of Information Governance itself.

Selling Information Governance to the Business, written by Sunil Soares, addresses this problem in the most wide-ranging and accessible compilation of case studies and methodologies to date. It contains the wisdom of some of the most respected practitioners in the area of Information Governance and provides a comprehensive, step-by-step best practices guide through 10 industry sectors, as well as an incredibly detailed set of best practices for nine inter-corporation job functions. Finally, it's section on cross-industry best practices and tools ties this immense topic together, addressing key questions such as these:

  • Should information governance be "owned" by IT or the business?
  • Who is accountable when things go wrong?
  • Which department should "own" customer data?
  • How should the data stewards be aligned, from an organizational perspective?
  • What level of the organization should be involved in information governance?
  • Can the organization have multiple information governance efforts going on in parallel?

The book is authoritative, at nearly 400 pages, with a great set of appendices that cover acronyms (essential for a business manager to understand), glossary, advisor and contributor profiles, along with a substantial index to terms and content phrases. It is the best overall guide to enlisting business leaders into Information Governance practices and can be successfully utilized by all levels of the organization, regardless of the size of the enterprise or the reader's initial familiarity with the topic.

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