IG professionals must speak the C-Suite's language by presenting a value proposition that highlights how their program impacts the bottom line.
The costs and risk of e-discovery, the rise in cybersecurity attacks and the looming GDPR deadline are all driving a push for enhanced information governance (IG) in law departments and organizations.
However, a big percentage of IG professionals still struggle to secure senior level support, according to a survey conducted at last month’s MER conference. The findings reaffirm the importance of being able to communicate effectively across business disciplines. So, to make their case, IG professionals must speak the C-Suite's language by presenting a value proposition that highlights how their program impacts the bottom line.
Inside Counsel recently sat down with Laurie Fischer, managing director at HBR Consulting, who conducted the survey. She shared how IG professionals can build political capital and secure executive buy-in for their initiatives.
Law departments are increasingly looking to control their expenses, and the cost of e-discovery is a prime target for cost-cutting. Enhancing IG should allow an organization to lower the volume of data it retains, thus, reducing the volume of data subject to e-discovery. An information governance program helps identify what information must be retained, and what can be disposed of, and define the strategies that allow an organization to start disposing of unnecessary data.
“The same is true for being able to reduce the potential risk and cost of cybersecurity attacks,” she said. “The less data an organization has, the less there is to breach, thereby reducing remediation costs. And good information governance - knowing what data you have, where it is and how it flows through an organization - can only help with GDPR compliance.”
So, why must IG professionals speak the C-Suite's language?
Although enhanced compliance and risk mitigation are obvious benefits of information governance, the IG professional should also stress the positive impact to the bottom line when presenting to the C-suite. For example, per Fischer, by being more efficient in its information management practices, an organization may be more productive in getting new products to the market - enhancing its competitive advantage.
Today, it is particularly important that the IG professional be able to communicate with legal, IT, RIM, privacy and compliance to be able to articulate and define the requirements for IG across all the disciplines within the organization that are interested in how information is governed and managed.
“For instance, legal, information security, compliance and RIM develop policies and procedures, provide training and employee communication, and are likely investing in IG-related technology, all for slightly different reasons,” she explained. “Bringing these disciplines together and establishing a holistic framework can facilitate leveraging resources (time, people, money) for IG initiatives.”
In order to build political capital and secure executive buy-in for their initiatives, IG professionals should consider building a formal business case for the information governance program, defining actual cost reductions and benefits related to reduced and controlled volumes of information.
Fischer added, “Identifying some ‘low hanging fruit’ with immediate impact can help the IG professional show a “quick win” that supports on-going, longer-term initiatives.”
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