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Information Governance in Principle or Practice?

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Click to learn more about author Kimberly Nevala.

At the recent Data Governance Information Quality conference I was privileged to present how Big Data, the rise of the informed digital consumer and so on are challenging existing Data Governance and management paradigms. This led to many interesting discussions regarding the efficacy and relevance of existing practices and the implications of my more radical ideas. All of which came full circle when I made a recent purchase through a popular online service.

Although I bought from the provider previously, a purportedly more secure “identity verification” was required to complete this transaction. Not wanting to provide a government ID, I chose an alternate path requiring a third party online account. Being the compliant but (ahem) curious sort I obligingly created a new email account. Three minutes later, my identity was verified and the transaction complete. Thereby circumventing a practice intended to prevent exactly the incented behavior. Yet resulting in the outcome I, the seller, and the enabling service provider had intended.

To be fair, my ultimate intent wasn’t nefarious. Regardless, the experience spawned an important question: to what extent are existing DG/DM practices on point in principle but ineffective or even counterproductive in practice?

As the next generation of solutions, data, and workers enter the data fray new approaches to the care and feeding of information are required. Automation, collaboration and new crowd-source inspired engagement models are challenging long-standing and oft monolithic best practices. Adopting new approaches requires a steely-eyed assessment of where, why, and how governance is applied. With particular attention paid to delivered outcomes, not just principles for principle’s sake. In the end, organizations that mistake or equate control (or the appearance thereof) with compliance and engagement will be the most challenged.

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