Games of chance and luck inherently involve a risk. As with any risk there is also a reward. People play craps and the lottery because of what could be rather than what will most likely be. After all, if someone is going to hit the jackpot, why can’t it be me? This is the reason why Las Vegas and Atlantic City exist… not to mention Reno, if you’re particularly desperate. Without risk and chance, gambling would lose its appeal. Gambling, however, goes beyond the card room and extends into the boardroom. CEOs, CIOs and senior leadership have to take risks every day. Mergers, acquisitions, and large scale purchases aren’t that much different from splitting 10’s, despite the due diligence involved.
But there’s no gamble more important to a firm than a gamble on technology. So much so, in fact, that a significant amount of time and effort is generally spent trying to make the whole process seem less like a dice game and more like a flowchart. Strategic decisions regarding infrastructure and software can make or break the future of any business.
In ComputerWorld’s annual Forecast survey of IT executives, 43% said their IT budgets would increase. This increase is follows in the wake of significant upgrades in technology in the past few years as well. However, with the rise of analytics and big data, it’s unlikely that this percentage will decrease anytime soon. Even as many companies have been on the forefront of this most recent surge in spending, some have remained hesitant due to the belief that the high prices of all of these “sexy” new technologies may not pay off in the long run. Risk aversion is a highly adaptive trait to possess, but too much of a good thing can have the opposite effect: paralyzing strategic decision-making. When it comes to information governance, it’s better for the business to dive in and take modest risks rather than holding off indefinitely to decide how to proceed.
Information Governance is defined as the set of multi-disciplinary structures, policies, procedures, processes and controls implemented to manage information at an enterprise level, supporting an organization's immediate and future operational requirements. Essentially IG is the way to properly and legally handle all of your company’s information in order to meet regulatory, legal, and other requirements. With the records landscape now including much more than paper and exploding with thousands of new data types, IG has gotten a lot more difficult. This doesn’t change however the liability that is faced by a company in case of a lawsuit or a government enquiry. In fact, the response to this has only become harder. LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Facebook data all intermingle with HR records, business transactions and technical documentation. The lines become blurred, and occasionally all are called upon in litigation (additional information here).
Firms and c-level executives once thought the biggest risk was in investing in expensive technology. This is no longer the case whatsoever: there has been a 180-degree turn. The risk, now, is to NOT invest in it.
With the data revolution, though, comes the need for more than just information governance. Having all of this data is good but drawing analysis and actionable conclusions from it is even better. Welcome to the world of big data analytics. Being able to track trends and patterns from internal communications and financial transactions is the way of the future. Strategic business decisions cannot properly be made if all facets are not properly analyzed and addressed through quantitative facts. Analytics firms are rising everywhere and companies are beginning to take notice. They are beginning to not only see the potential in these technologies, but also their necessity. Similarly to IG, the risk for analytics is not in paying for it now, the risk is in not paying for it at all.
As the old saying goes, it’s not gambling when you know you are gonna to win.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s a phrase seasoned gamblers joke around with to justify spending lots of money on gambling, whether that be at the tables or in the sportsbook. But this seemingly oxymoronic phrase also has relevance to technology. The monetary “risk” in implementing a particular technology largely pales in comparison to the mounting risk of unmanaged or insufficiently managed data. With the proper IG and analytics software in place, companies can help to prevent expensive legislation and government interventions. They can cover themselves whilst using data to make strong, educated business decisions. Gambling on technology isn’t like putting $100 on black. This is a bet that eventually pays off.
Will that payoff be tomorrow? Probably not. It may take three or five years. There are risks involved, and all decisions need to be carefully considered. But when it comes to gambling, information governance is the bet you can’t afford to NOT take.