There is a recurring question that I keep getting asked: is Information Governance replacing Records Management? The answer is no, because they are not the same thing. Records Management has been around for a while, but IG is a relatively new area and it seems that every source you turn to has their own definition. It’s no wonder that there is so much confusion around the subject!
With all this talk, there is no doubt that the importance of IG is becoming paramount to all organizations.
It used to be pretty straight forward with Records Management. You created a record, classified it, then disposed of it when it was no longer needed. Now, as an information/data/records custodian, you are accountable for all data, records, and information throughout its entire lifecycle. The declaration of a record, holds, updates to meet ever changing compliance requirements, disposition, and everything else in between. It can seem impossible to manage it all. Records Management just isn’t enough anymore.
IG encompasses more than traditional records management. It incorporates privacy attributes, electronic discovery requirements, storage optimization, and metadata management. Information/Data/Records is an asset and a liability to organizations and must be managed more holistically than traditional records management practices. As you move from RM to IG, you need to realistically assess the value and usefulness of information and define the true value of information throughout its lifecycle.
You must also assess the risks associated with all types of information and prioritize based on the mission and environment of the organization. In short, Records Managers need to become Information Risk Managers by applying information governance principles and more closely align with the business process and functions of their organizations.
Information Governance must be applied as a value add, business process improvement function that enables an organization to manage information risk and better utilize that information as an asset.