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Understanding Unified Information Governance

Updated on July 6, 2014

What Is Unified Information Governance?

In all parts of a person’s life, they need to use the right tools to get the desired objective completed. Whether it’s cooking, crafting, painting or riding motorcycles, it’s impossible to complete these tasks without the correct tools. The same holds true for technology.

Unified information governance is a complicated word for something that isn’t overly complicated. This is not to say the structure is simple. It’s just that like a lot of things, it using big ambiguous words to describe something that isn’t as difficult to understand as it may appear to be originally. Basically information governance, also called IG for short, is a set of procedures, structures, processes, policies and controls that are multi-disciplinary and set up for information management on an enterprise level. IG does this while still supporting the organization’s immediate and future requirements whether they’re operational, environmental, and legal or risk.

Yes, that’s quite the mouthful for someone who may not be familiar with unified information governance. Basically, IG is a mix of traditional records managements made for the digital age. This means it incorporates electronic discovery requirements, privacy attributes, metadata management and storage optimization.

Information Discovery

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The Purpose Of Information Governance

After reading the rather long and convoluted description of IG, perhaps you’re wondering what the purpose of the system is. To make it simple, IG analyzes new and growing information. This is important for a business because we live in an era of big data. There’s loads of information available at all times and it needs to be sorted and organized into manageable pieces. Having this information sorted into organized and manageable pieces makes it easier for businesses to make informed and confident decisions after being able to quickly access pertinent information.

IG works with the whole system. This means it’s a holistic approach to managing. The goal of information governance is to improve the leverage ability of information which allows business leaders to come up with insightful and confident business decisions.

The best information governance systems are flexible. One could even call them agile. They’re adaptable to your organization so you can sort your data in a way that most benefits you and your business. Some have described IG as a software foundation that provides trusted information.

What IG Offers

There are various companies that provide a variety of IG services. Each company is a little bit different in their offerings. One of the main offerings every IG Company provides is data quality. The level of quality varies between companies and you’ll have to do your due diligence when making a decision and selecting which one you want.

So, what is data quality? It’s a term used to describe the reliability of data when it used to make decisions. It’s an essential characteristic that many businesses depend on when making their decisions. The goal is to have the highest quality data possible. High quality data has the following characteristics:

• Timely: This means that all the data needs to be up to date. Outdated data means that the correct information isn’t available to make an informed and accurate decision. The latest information needs to be easily available for the decision making process.

• Complete: While this may seem like an obvious point, it’s surprising how often data needed for the decision making process is lacking crucial information. Quality data includes everything relevant including accounts for a given customer, addresses and relationships. And the data will show how all these are linked.

• Available: It’s obvious that information can be absolutely fabulous and up to date, but if you can’t get to it, it’s not going to be of much use. Quality data means that the required and wanted information is there nearly instantly. It’s easily accessible so users don’t need to waste time and resources manually searching for the information.

• Accurate: Quality data contains no errors. This includes simple errors such as those of the typographic variety. Random abbreviations are eliminated. Typos and misspellings are corrected.

Big data is big business. The ability to make this data as accurate as possible as well as analyze it means that a business’s outcomes could significantly be increased. But since businesses keep so much data all the time, it’s difficult to maintain the high quality data described above. As a result of this, businesses need to make sure they take the time and make the investment to develop a strong foundation for managing the large amounts of data generated. Quality data can be leveraged across the company and within sister companies as well.

The Cost Of Low Data Quality

High quality data that’s easily accessible can make organization and finding necessary information much easier for a company. But IG can help a company in more ways than simply increasing the quality of accessible data. It can save the company money on many levels, the biggest in a way connected to data quality.

Statistics show that companies lose millions of dollars every year because of low quality data. When the quality of accessible data is so low, money-making opportunities are lost. Not only that, but customers can become dissatisfied because the information isn’t available to make sure businesses can easily access the information about various customers in the timely way a customer rightly expects to be treated.

The reason for this, like a lot of problems with getting responses to customers quickly and relevantly, hinges on poor data quality. Failure to meet regulatory compliance is also another result of poor data quality and can result in failure of critical projects that rely heavily on information.

It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to invest the money into making sure the data you have is high quality. Data is useless if it sits there taking up space because it can’t be properly accessed to be used to benefit a company.

In fact, some studies show that a quality unified governance system can remove five million hours of data cleansing required for a company with an average of 6.2 million records.

Unified Information Governance

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