I was engaged in an interesting discussion whether Information Governance is different from Data Governance. So I re-read my post on Data Governance to see how and where Information Governance would be different. My findings are below:

Miriam Webster defines data as “ … facts used usually to calculate, analyze, or plan something,” and information as “ … knowledge that you get about someone or something.” The New Style of IT is bringing into greater focus the contrast between these fundamental definitions; requiring enterprises to give greater attention to their most valuable asset – information. In turn, this requires that enterprises give due attention to Information Governance on top of existing Data Governance.

What is it? Data Governance is the mechanism by which we ensure that: the right corporate data is available to the right people, at the right time, in the right format, with the right context, through the right channels. Information governance is about ensuring the same for the knowledge gathered from this data.

Why is it needed? The Cloud, social networking, BYOD (and now WYOD,) are catalysts, triggering an unprecedented growth of data in recent years. Data Governance is about controlling and understanding the fundamental elements of data, so it can be processed effectively to generate information. Once multiple data elements have been coalesced to realize the Big Picture, different rules are likely to apply. Hence, Information Governance.

When should it be exercised? Well, when shouldn’t it be? Data Governance kicks in at the source where the data enters the enterprise and continues across the lifecycle, as it is processed and consumed to address business needs, until it is archived and/or purged. Data Governance ensures that the right data is processed to generate information. Information Governance exercises the proper controls around the information generated across the lifecycle.

Where does it apply? It applies pan-enterprise for all the processes executed. Data Governance has a key role to play at the point of storage – the last checkpoint before it is stored as “golden” in the database. Information Governance has a key role to play at the point of presentation. Have the right data elements been brought together? Is it timely?

Who does it apply to? Both Data Governance and Information Governance applies to all applicable business leaders, consumers, generators and stewards of data and information respectively across the enterprise. However the stakeholders for the information could be different from the stakeholders for the constituent data.

How is it applied? Data Governance must be exercised at the enterprise level, with federated governance to individual business units and data domains. Information Governance is better addressed at the enterprise level since information is usually generated from a diverse array of data sources.

Going through this analysis reminds me of a similar evolution – Building upon SOA Governance to realize Cloud Governance. But that is another story for another day.

How is Data Governance addressed in your enterprise? What are additional steps required to address Information Governance? Please do let me know.

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