Why Information Governance Fails?

Even with careful planning and preparation, information governance (IG) programs fail to deliver the desired results. Despite investing the time and resources, things may go haywire unexpectedly.


Where did you go wrong? What could you have done differently?


We are listing 5 reasons causing the failure of an IG program:


1. Ensuring Alignment: How do you ensure there is real alignment across functions when all the business units have different and maybe even competing priorities? Alignment cannot be achieved with just monthly or bi-weekly steering committee meetings. We have observed teams view the collaboration as important, but their actual collaboration is limited due to lack of a clear understanding of shared goals and progress. Teams also have limited visibility to semi-to-fully independent efforts in other teams to address similar issues – this is especially true in the Privacy, Security and IG space. These can lead to confusion and conflicts around approach and priority resulting in an ineffective situation for all stakeholders.


A common example of repeated work is current state assessments performed independently by different groups. The assessments often only slightly differ in objectives and focus, and it is clear groups are unaware that large portions of what they were seeking was already available. Similarly, different groups have inconsistent and even conflicting metrics, standards and policies around data. The metrics, along with great resources that the teams have developed over time, also often reside in different internal web pages, SharePoint folders or portals. An outcome of such repeated efforts is that compliance becomes a very expensive process. We discuss budget constraints but streamlining these efforts will release a significant number of budgeted resources in addition to getting these projects on track.


Meru’s products enable all critical stakeholders (legal, privacy, IT, and business users) of a privacy program to work together for a successful implementation of your governance program. Proper collaboration ensures alignment and accountability within the team.




2. Measure your Progress: An effective IG program requires continuous improvement and tracking. As these programs are complex and multi-year initiatives, it is necessary to break them into manageable chunks and work on them so as to not boil the ocean. But the key is to not get lost and know how to use the metrics as guidepost to ensure all the individual parts are aligned and everyone is working towards the same strategic goal.


Sometimes, tasks give you a false sense of progress. These tasks might be at crossroads with each otherwhen teams are constantly swimming against headwinds created by the organization itselfpeople lose faith and the project fails.


Meru can provide the right templates for your business and help you understand and report the impact of your governance program. You can track progress to enable continuous improvement as well as quick and effective decision-making.


3. Effective Implementation: Too much planning and focusing just on policies can lead to analysis paralysis. You get caught in a cycle of documentation and discussions and don’t devote enough time for practical implementation of policies. The focus should be on “why” and also “how” to get there.


4. Leverage Technology to Simplify Processes: While people and process are two critical aspects of a governance process, the right kind of technology can provide alignment and bring transparency, thereby increasing the chance of success. But choosing and deploying suitable technological solutions requires a deep technical expertise.


Organizations should first understand their technological needs and analyze the various data governance technology solutions and platforms available in the market. In the absence of in-house experience, outside experts can be roped in for selection and implementation of the technology. Investments in the right technology can provide the required scalability to your IG project.


5. Maintain Balance: Lack of any progress in the early stages of a lengthy project may make people lose faith in the overall project. Early wins must be celebrated within the team to help in achieving the project’s short-term goals.


However, too much focus on the near-term without any long-term direction can lead to a program that is just going in circles. You need to understand how the accomplishment of smaller tasks will help the program’s long-term strategy. The key is to maintain a fine balance between the two, where you recognize each milestone while eyeing the ultimate goal.