Organizational placement of IM/IG function?

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​I’m interested in input from the community on the right organizational placement of the Information Management/Information Governance function, i.e. where does the Director of IM/IG report to: ICT? Compliance group? Somewhere else?. There could be more than one right answer, but specifically I would be very interested to hear:
1. Where is IM/IG placed in your organization? How well does this organizational placement work?
2. Where do you think would be a good location for IM/IG function?
3. Is anyone aware of any recent research on this, e.g. industry surveys saying where the function is placed in different organizations?I am aware of the AIIM blog post ‘Creating an ECM team organization structure’ (Creating an ECM Organization Structure: Part 1 – Building Your Team), but that mostly focuses on the composition of the team, and has only very brief suggestions, without explanation, of where the function could be placed in the organization.

Thanks in advance for any inputs!

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Eric Mullerbeck
Information Management Specialist
UNICEF
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​Hi Eric,

I think the best place for Information Management/Information Governance function with for organization like UNICEF is Office of Executive Director or Office of Executive Board President.
It gives your function more attention from other departments and shows the importance of organizing the information and following relevant “Governance” Policies and procedures.
I don’t think that Office of Auditor would be the good place, as Legal Department.

Everyone has its own functions.
It is possible that you would be offered place with Information Technology department, only because it is “responsible” for devices produced “information”, but it is not good place at all. To be with the Library is also not so good, as it is diminishes the value of information and could create problems with accessibility, or restrictions for access according to different legislation.
Another good place is the Office responsible for Freedom of Information requests, as in my practice employees pay more attention this office than to “regular” Records Management ” office with any name .

Regards,
Alexander Babin,
Canada

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Alex Babin
RMA
Personnel
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​We are placed in the Directorate General Secretariat, which reports directly to the President, together with the secretariat to the Executive Board and the Compliance office. We are called Information Governance Division. I think this name and placement helps convey the importance of information management, and distinguishes us well from Information Systems.

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Zsuzsanna Tozser Milam
ECB
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​Thanks for all the responses thus far! There seems to be agreement that reporting directly to the top person, or being attached to the Executive Office, is a very good placement for IM/IG.
Edit: of course, reporting to the top/Executive Office will depend on the receptivity and interest of the top person in IM/IG. Ironically, this is more likely to exist, I believe, in organizations where IM and IG are already solidly ‘on the radar’ and well managed. The question here is: how to get interest of the top person in IM/IG, sufficient that this function could be assigned to report to them?Robert Morrison, actually my question was not about where the CIO should report; normally the term CIO means the head of IT. I’m specifically interested in Information Management/Governance, i.e. document and records management, taxonomy, retention and retrieval, with perhaps some KM elements included as well. Of course, in some organizations the CIO could supervise IM/IG…

Alex Babin, thanks for your thoughts and recommendations re the Executive Office and office for freedom of information. I’m curious: why do you feel that the Office of Audit, or the IT department, would NOT be good placements?

Zsuzsanna Tozser Milam, very interesting. It sounds as though that placement works well for your team.

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Eric Mullerbeck
Information Management Specialist
UNICEF
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Currently, we report up to the Chief Financial Officer.  However, there are talks about moving our reporting line to the General Counsel.  Right now, we work closely with the GC on building and socializing the IG initiative (very new to the firm and just getting started).  I believe that a law firm would be slightly different than a corporation due to the organizational structure.  When I was in the corporate world, we reported, with the compliance functions, up to the Chief Legal Officer.  However, we also created an IG board that consisted of senior leaders.

I would agree that IG should not report through IT.  All though I believe that IG and IT need to work closely together as partners, they can sometimes have conflicting agendas.  Having a different reporting structure creates that separation and gives impartial superiors who can weigh in during a disagreement.

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Susan Gleason CIP, CRM, IGP
Manager, Information Governance
Shipman & Goodwin LLP
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​Susan, thanks! Interesting to see two perspectives, the regular corporate world and the world of law firms. And you’re right to point out the importance of a Board, which can balance and add perspective to the way IG is managed regardless of what part of the organization it sits in.

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Eric Mullerbeck
Information Management Specialist
UNICEF
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Being a lawyer by education AND working in a law firm, I speak against my professional kin, but I think it is not a good idea to house your IM/IG function within Legal or Audit.

Why? These functions are mainly oriented versus risk management and compliance, in other words: towards avoiding and minimising trouble.
By nature they are rather conservative and reflective, focussing on what is, what has happened and what is recorded.
Of course this is a very important aspect of any governance function.,

But true management and governance must also address more dynamic, (inter)active, forwardlooking and “ephemere” aspects, such as establishing and supporting a mission, a vision, goals and values, a strategy to attain these, and a culture that finds the right balance between stability and innovation.

Hence I join all those who have expressed the view that IM/IG should find its place within the  Executive Office.

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Viona Rampelberg
Knowledge Manager
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Hi all,

Information Governance is not really embedded in our organization structure.
Recently a ‘coordination committee knowledge and information’ has been created,  headed by the deputy director general and bringing together ‘knowledge’ and ‘information’.

As a research center knowledge is a strategic ‘product’.  One part of the organization is called ‘academy’ and is responsible among other things for (external) dissemination of knowledge,  management of research output, library, internal knowledge sharing culture.

Within IT there is a ‘document management team’ running our DMS and its adoption and integration with other tools and in processes. I’m now trying to expand our scope from documents to information in general (including e.g. research data management) and from management to governance.  The main objectives on short term would be to streamline document and records management processes and policies, and to setup a structure where the ‘business’ is coached and guided in putting those policies to practice.  Also GDPR compliance could become a responsibility, which is now somewhere in between legal, IT and our information security office. But in reality we are still perceived as (not more than) the guys managing the document management tools.

The exact division in responsibilities between the knowledge and information teams is not clearly defined. As a consequence many things are often discussed but not done because no one really is responsible nor has the resources to do more than is officially requested.  There are many arguments to separate both worlds but obviously there is also a big overlap and cooperation is crucial, hence the mentioned coordination committee.

Anyyhow, I’m working on increase our maturity on information governance so I find this question and all the responses I read very interesting.

thanks

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Pieter Jan Hermans
ECM analyst+32 14 33 87 31

 

SCK•CEN ǀ  Belgian Nuclear Research Centre

Boeretang 200 – BE-2400 Mol

www.sckcen.be


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​Dear Viona, very interesting comment! I agree strongly on the need to be forward-looking, and also on the fact that some parts of organizations are usually more conservative — which as you say is one aspect of governance, but far from the whole picture.In any viable organization, the Executive Office has to be forward looking, and of course it is an authoritative entity. So in some regards it may be ideal. But the character of the Executive Office, and its receptivity to owning IG/IM, does depend very much on the views and priorities of the organization’s chief executive. It also depends on the specific organization’s history and traditions: some organizations have restrictions or traditional roles for an EO and IG/IM may not fall within them.

While ICT may have shortcomings in some ways as a home for IG/IM, it can also be a home for innovation in an organization — especially in response to new technologies with implications for IG/IM, such as artificial intelligence. If the ICT department takes a forward looking view in other ways, such as by systematically assessing organizational capabilities (not just ICT capabilities) via a formal enterprise architecture, there might be synergies there for a team that basically wants to expand capacities. I see IG/IM as having a crucial capacity building role, both in terms of technology capacities and human capacities to understand and apply organizational classifications.

Eric

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Eric Mullerbeck
Information Management Specialist
UNICEF
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  1. Hierarchically, we report into Administration.  We are here because we are a shared service and Facilities is also here, and some of the physical records centers and services were located in dedicated facilities.  We are also here because as I was brought in to grow the team and organization beyond paper file and box management and into electronic IG, the company wanted us to be outside of IT with an intent to focus on people and process and not lead with technology.  Now, when it comes to our IG strategy, policy, technologies, direction, change management and cross-discipline agreement, we report into a cross-discipline, operations- and revenue generating-focused executive steering committee.
  2. I still think of reference material Dr. Susan Cisco pointed me to years ago.  That stated IG tends to report into the business function that the Company requires for some focus to drive it.  The driver might be remediation of a deficiency, for example.  If the Company sees all employees requiring mandatory and significant training, it might be in HR.  If a technology play, IT.  If e-discovery and legal hold is a significant role for the team, then Legal.
  3. You might check in with Susan.  She is an AIIM member and can be located in the online directory.

Thanks

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Ritch Tolbert
Texas: Southwest Chapter
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​Dear Pieter, uniting the ‘knowledge’ and ‘information’ functions is sometimes seen as a ‘dream team’: information management should help build the organization’s capacity make good decisions, i.e. its knowledge. Our organization tried this some time ago but it did not work out. This was partly because the idea of a formal ‘knowledge function’ was still too new to the organization, so there were difficulties in getting senior management to understand the value of the whole package.

Dear Ritch, thanks. So then in this view there is no ideal placement of IG/IM for all organizations, and instead different potentially good placements depending on where the organization’s compelling focus is.Eric

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Eric Mullerbeck
Information Management Specialist
UNICEF
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As a semi-retired CIO in the local government sector, it depends on the person’s experience and what he/she would require to serve you to the best of his/her ability. For myself, I want to report to the CEO or the CEO’s second in command. A CIO in government, if the person has  experience and the ability to understand a one platform system to share secured data when required amongst the government  divisions, needs to operate in a somewhat independent way.He/ she must  report to someone who understands the basic advantages of Information Technology serving all Departments and have a sense of a vision of what is needed by everyone. This may take a few years to accomplish the goals and implement them. The CIO must then maintain them which is also a major issue and takes a good deal of time.

There are seven words and phrases that a good CIO and his/her staff is guided by — honesty, innovation, streamlined systems, return on investment (ROI), efficiency, training and STC (stop, think and connect with problems and ideas).

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call.

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Robert Morrison
Principal
Creative Technology and Management Services
[717-525-7604]
https://www.creativetechmgt.com
rmorrison@…
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​Rob –

I respectfully disagree with you somewhat.  I think that the IG function has to work hand in hand as a partner with IT, but should not report to the CIO.  The IG function should be tied into Compliance, or even the General Counsel.  You need someone that has leverage and the ability to enforce policy – the CIO is not always the correct person, whereas the GC or Compliance can bend the ear of the CIO based on privacy regulations, risk, etc… and have a better chance of success.

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Susan Gleason CIP, CRM, IGP
Manager, Information Governance
Shipman & Goodwin LLP
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Having seen a couple of organizations first-hand where the IM/IG/RM functions reported to legal/general counsel in one case and central finance in another, and witnessed the tension created with IT, I have to agree with Susan.  Yes, you read that sentence correctly��.  That tension, where IT didn’t have direct and/or exclusive control of those critical functions, was actually a GOOD thing.  Forced IT to work much harder and more overtly than pretty much all the other organizations I’ve worked with where those functions were part of the IT reporting line.

Aria

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I agree with Lorne and Susan.  The Info Governance folks needs policy compliance, auditing and enforcement authority and don’t just oversee IT, but business processes and info worker activities.
Lorne is also spot on about the tension. It is necessary for ensuring that all it at least most voices are heard for compliance requirements.——————————
jana gallatin
DaRchitect
Sonoita Networking
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Hi,We are a non commercial research center. There are a lot of projects both in fundamental and applied scientific research, there is an ‘Academy’ with educational services and there are services offered to customers to help funding all the rest in addition to a government support and external project funding.

We don’t have an official IG function. I myself work in IT and I manage our content server implementation. I am also the process owner of the process ‘document management’ and together with the ISO I have written an ‘information protection policy’. But most of that remains words or is mainly focused on confidentiality protection. So far I haven’t succeeded in convincing management that information needs governing. Or I should say that to govern means more than the operational management of a tool and to do that resources are needed. We don’t even have a CIO. IT is one of the ‘supporting services’.

What we do have is a separate Knowledge Manager, situated in the academy part of the organisation. That is fairly new. Up to now the focus was on Library management, management of research output (scientific publications) and a bit of ‘Knowledge transfer’. A project is starting up to identify further KM needs like better support of collaboration, communities of practice and so on.

Coming back on-topic in this thread, I also am convinced that the IG role should not report to IT. It is the same independence as is needed by the ISO or the DPO.

But: how should it relate to knowledge management? I personally support the idea of KM (or KG) and IG being separate but working closely together in many areas as they are interdependent. Both are needed but a good balance must be maintained as sometimes they have conflicting interests. For example when it comes to flexibility in the choice and use of collaboration tools or methods.
Then again, putting them together outside IT might help in the struggle to put Information Governance on the map although I fear it will remain underdeveloped as also KG is understaffed.

What do you think? How does knowledge governance relate to information governance?

Best regards

Pieter Jan


Sent from my phone



Hi Pieter,

This seems like an excellent question to pose in the APQC realm, given their greater focus on KM vs. AIIM’s focus more on IM/ECM.  Just how I see it.

 

Aria

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Thanks for the tip Lorne. I’m not really familiar with APQC but I will make sure to do some reading.

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