igiThis month saw the release of the Information Governance Initiative’s Annual Report for 2014, a study aiming to report the perceptions of information governance practitioners, providers and analysts as well as advance information governance as a concept, market and operational model.

The IGI consortium and think tank was founded by leaders in the information governance field and supported by vendors with semantic tech and text analytics backgrounds, including EquivioHP/Autonomy, OpenText, Recommind  and Zylab. About 500 respondents provided input to the survey.

About 80 percent of these respondents agreed that IG included risk- and value-focused activities, with the focus, however, on risk prevention, with efforts such as records information and management, information security and compliance as the top-marked concepts. That said, more than 50 percent of respondents in each case include among IG’s facets big data, business intelligence, and data science – and IGI believes that the value side will continue to grow, given the significant recent advancements in data analytics and their continuing spread through the enterprise. Given how far IG’s facets extend, “IG should serve as the coordinating function for all of these activities, tying them together into one humming, efficiently functioning operation.”

There was broad support, too, that IG should address unstructured and structured information — along with concern about tackling both ends of the package at the same time. That, along with a market of products that generally are working separately on the different facets of IG, point to a space where processes are still evolving and the practice itself, as a defined discipline, is still immature, the report notes.

The study’s data shows that “technology plays a big role in organizational activities. Organizations are buying document/content/records management software, legal hold and archiving technology, as well a auto-classification, analytics and indexing software,” the report notes. About half of the practitioners who responded say they buy new technology in the first year of an IG program, with about one-third decommissioning old technology as well in favor of updated platforms.

IGSpendSeventy-five percent of practitioners expect to increase their spend in the IG arena in 2015, as well. When it comes to technology solutions, where might that spend be focused? “Certain products, such as those focused on unstructured information management and e-discovery, are more closely associated with IG, but this may change as the market grows and matures,” it states. For now, management of unstructured content is a key IG activity, IGI explains, with many practitioners coming from this background.

The report also makes the case for the role of a Chief Information Governance Officer (CIGO). It distinguishes that position from Chief Information Officer titles currently found at many businesses, saying that CIOs tend to be responsible only for the technology infrastructure while CIGOs need to be responsible for the information itself. For example, the CIGO might have approval rights for privacy, e-discovery and even some analytics activities, it says.  “There is a glimmer of this IG function embodied in the new Chief Data Officer role,” the report says, “although in these early days, CDOs often limit their focus to structured data and have little or no risk management mandate.”

Putting a CIGO function in place, it says, could be the step to providing the leadership needed to get IG projects started more quickly. Close to 60 percent of practitioners say it takes about a year from the time such a project is conceptualized to the time it begins. More than 50 percent of practitioners, providers and analysts, in each case, expect that by 2020 most organizations will have a separate IG department or group with a C-level IG executive.

Expectations are also high for other benefits in 2020, including IG being built into the products that users use to get work done rather than being part of a separate and distinct family of products.