Information governance seems to be shrouded in a veil of complexity. There are hundreds of solutions, thousands of strategies, and millions of configurations - each with a unique description and language. You can be forgiven if you think the whole thing is a bit confusing.
The industry is simply a moving target. Between new government regulations, advancements in technology, changes in the provider landscape, and changing enterprise needs, the current state of information governance isn’t easy to nail down.
- Government regulations, such as the amendment to the FRCP in 2006, can flip information governance on its head, leaving both enterprises and providers scrambling for the corresponding new technology.
- Technology is always changing, oftentimes causing shifts in the landscape of providers. New players pop up and force the established companies to adapt. Sometimes this necessitates more than just technology updates. Mergers and acquisitions have become relatively commonplace, just look to HP’s recent spin merger with Micro Focus and OpenText’s Documentum purchase.
- And of course, enterprise needs aren’t static either. Their own requirements for an information governance solution change in accordance with company goals, market trends, and any number of other factors that make future-proofing an exercise in guesswork.
Couple this state of constant change with the fact that these solutions are a necessity for many enterprises, and companies find themselves at the intersection of necessity and complexity, a place they do not want to be. Companies want to make concise, informed decisions on projects with the ability to implement efficient processes around them. No one wants to just guess about the right multi-million dollar solution. So the question has been, and still is, “How do you bridge the knowledge gap?”
Unfortunately there is no silver bullet. Many companies rely on consultants or analyst reports to stay up to date on the market. Although commonplace, reports can be generalized and not well-suited for a single environment. And of course, these aren’t cheap. There are a few more cost-effective ways to bridge the gap.
- Don’t take terminology and marketing language at face value. Push back against loosely defined terms to get to the bottom of what a company has or is selling.
- It sounds simple, but pay attention. The market rarely stays still for long, so being well informed allows you to be proactive rather than reactive. At the very least, watch for mergers and divestitures from your current provider.
- Explicitly understand your company’s needs for now while looking to the future. The costs involved in implementing a new system compels companies to keep their current solution for quite a while, the average being 7 years. Attempt to align the solution with your company roadmap while taking into account the flexibility of the solution and its ability to adapt to your future needs.
No matter the strategy, maintaining up-to-date knowledge of the space will require diligence. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who is a veteran in the space, and for those new comers out there, make sure to bring a positive attitude.