Information Management Beyond Governance

We live in a world where rules abound, and many apply to information management programs. Having rules is key, but if you don’t follow them, they are useless through M&A advisory. If you can’t get users to adhere to governance standards, it’s like you don’t have any.

Planning for Information Management Compliance

Let’s say you have a solid set of governance documents, including a records retention schedule, your information management “rules.” You have documents that contain information on overall policy positions, guidelines on responsibilities, and even guidance and standards that relate to the application of program requirements. Now, it is necessary to concretely apply these regulations in the company.

I’m not trying to say that information management is a complex process, but this concept connects many moving parts that affect all areas of your business. And for a complete program deployment to be successful, everyone in the business needs to understand it and the information management team needs to do some planning.

Planning is key! Your program’s master plan (or strategic plan) should clearly outline the content of the program and how it will be rolled out. Here are some important factors to consider when creating your plan and program.

Keep your stakeholders informed

First, it is important that your executives join you; prepare them a solid 101 briefing on information management (a solid briefing doesn’t mean it has to be long). Explain to them the importance of establishing an information management program (discuss points such as risk mitigation, regulatory compliance, and defensible position), then show them the basic requirements (discuss processes such as creation, storage, retention, and disposal).

Present them with concrete examples and acknowledge that all staff will need to commit time to this project (especially for training). At the same time, reassure them that their support and your planning will help reduce business interruptions.

The second most important thing to consider is change management. You will influence the methods people use every day to manage records and information. It is important to communicate with all staff about these implications. You should not only provide training to staff, but also educate them on integrating information management processes.

Deliver the program knowing what each audience needs to know. Remember that many people fear change; prepare your communications by targeting the changes to come and show how the difficulties will be overcome. Be creative while keeping it simple.

As mentioned above, training is an essential part of the integration of this project. This is the second essential part of deploying an information management programafter change management. Keep your online training sessions brief (three to five minutes long, whenever possible), and break their content into chunks that match your program execution.

Incorporate technical training sessions and compliance sessions where staff can confirm that they have read the policy (as part of the online session) and that they will comply with the requirements. Where possible, offer in-person training sessions or at least live interactive webinars with the help of an M&A advisor. There’s nothing better than asking a live person question during a learning session and getting instant feedback. Don’t be afraid to have fun.

Ensuring effective execution

We’ve approved your project, you’ve developed and executed an effective communications plan, and you’ve delivered exceptional training…now it’s time to roll out the program requirements (in stages). Remember to always inform the people involved of the steps you are always taking and allow them to ask questions and get the technical assistance they need. It is also important to follow up, hold wrap-up meetings, and get feedback on how the onboarding is going and on staff preferences for ongoing support.

Wrap up with senior managers and tell them what you learned from the onboarding follow-up. Inform them of the usefulness of training on next-stage deployment plans as well as long-term program support services. Provide follow-up staff training and perform departmental compliance reviews to show your commitment to continuous program and business improvements.

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