Its been 10 years since I first encountered the term ‘information governance’; it was new to non-existent at the time and certainly cut no ice with the people that mattered in my organization. Ten years on the twitter traffic around #infogov is on the rise and vendor marketing – including ours – makes heavy use of the term. However, when I meet and speak with working information professionals and managers or decision makers, dropping the term into discussion has highly variable results. Ranging from a sigh of relief (for those who were waiting to meet a fellow IG believer) to a snarl of contempt from those who believe they have better things to do, what is clear is that information governance still has some way to go before it becomes a generally useful concept at practitioner level.

Maslow for Information

Maslow for Information

If you concern yourself about how organizations might eventually take a holistic, value-based and proactive approach to properly addressing the many risks, costs and issues that arise from runaway stores of electronic information then you need to keep an eye on information governance thinking. A caution however – given the marketing hype around the term and amount of ‘big thinking’ associated with it, make sure that you don’t lose sight of the many valuable things that your organization can do right now with its information regardless of the buzzwords. What is important is that information professionals don’t duck the challenge of applying their expertise to understand and take control of their electronic data.

Whether or not your organization knows or cares about information governance, the fundamentals and long understood principles still apply. Its a little bit like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but for information; the basics need to be in place, whatever name you use to describe them.

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