Let’s Give Information Its Own Office
Steve Weissman

By: Steve Weissman on February 27th, 2024

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Let’s Give Information Its Own Office

Data Management  |  Digital Transformation

In my role as The Info Gov Guy™, I consult with clients from up and down their organizational charts: in records, IT, legal, HR, marketing, etc. What this tells me is that their employers don’t consider their information to be a core business asset – which is odd because they do acknowledge their success depends completely on their ability to quickly find and retrieve current, accurate, and properly safeguarded information.

This stands in stark contrast to such other assets as money, people, technology, and physical plant, all of which are governed by dedicated individuals in their own dedicated departments. I propose, therefore, that Information be subjected to this same sort of targeted attention, either as an independent unit or as its own office within Operations. Either of these moves will bless it as an agency whose responsibilities encompass the entire enterprise. (Shameless self-congratulatory note: I basically first floated this notion well over a decade ago. Amazing how things have changed so little, even as they’ve changed so much!)

The precedent for this kind of change is well established. For instance, according to Investopedia, operations management as a unit centers on “the administration of business practices to create the highest level of efficiency possible within an organization.” Since organizations are so dependent on information to further their business objectives, there is clearly a straight line to be drawn from optimizing their ability to govern that information to achieving operational improvement.

The people working in this office should be experienced professionals who are effective mentors and facilitators, and are uniquely able to bridge historically siloed functions and reconcile competing perspectives for a common good. They should be intimately familiar with the core precepts of records, process, and information management, and they should have thick skins and otherworldly patience since they are likely to run into objections and slowdowns from within the affected business units.

If this doesn’t describe you, dear readers, then I don’t know what does.

It is fair to ask what practitioners can do to further this conversation, which needs to take place in the corner offices before such a motion can be carried. After all, what we’re talking about goes far beyond a Center of Excellence or a Community of Practice, which may be established by people at lower pay grades than those at the C-level. So we need to figure out how to push the idea upstream as we go about our appointed rounds.

One way to start may be to grab hold of a prominent and new “shiny object” – say, AI – and use it as a vehicle to drive home just how critical it is that we properly care for information. (Failure to do so in an AI context can be risky, as I outlined in a recent LinkedIn post here.) Otherwise, we’ll risk continuing to innovate the surrounding technology while leaving the core asset untouched. And it is that core asset – information – that should be the center of it all.


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About Steve Weissman

Known as The Info Gov GuyTM and Principal Consultant at Holly Group, Steve Weissman brings order and discipline to information and process practices, helping you Do Information RightTM. With 25+ years as a multi-credentialed consultant, analyst, instructor, and public speaker, Weissman equips clients to better leverage, secure, and assure their business-critical information. Highly regarded for his populist style, Weissman is an AIIM Fellow, recipient of AIIM’s Award of Merit, and an inaugural inductee into the Information Governance Hall of Honor. He blogs regularly, speaks often to executives and teams, and consistently “wows” at conferences and events. Reach him at steve@hollygroup.com / 617-383-4655 / @steveweissman.