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The Case for ‘Extreme Governance’ in Info Management

Been away for a while, first on-site with clients, then extended vacation, then the just-completed Information Governance Conference, which was a huge hit. Here’s a musing from that event, no doubt to be followed up by others in the weeks ahead. Enjoy!

Extreme Governance image

Are you often frustrated by technology marketeers’ tendency to coin catchy phrases rather than describe actual solutions? (“Big Data” is certainly one of those, not in the least because your definition of “big” may be quite different than mine.) Well, so am I!

So I was rather shocked to hear myself talking about “Big Governance” while keynoting the Information Governance Conference in Hartford earlier this week!

The point I was trying to make was sound, and had to do with the need to take a holistic approach to the “care and feeding” of all your business-critical information – meaning that you have to encompass all your application stacks, all your data formats, all your media types, and even all your people while also embracing metadata management, system security, privacy, and so forth.

But even as I spoke the words, I hated how I encapsulated the concept. Fortunately, a number of wonderfully responsive members of the audience staged an intervention, and we decided what we are really talking about is better articulated as “Extreme Governance” – not because it is so outrageous a concept (though it may be for many organizations) but because of the special combination of anticipation, creativity, and skills required to be successful.

I have spent time as a professional marketeer, so perhaps I may be forgiven for momentarily backsliding into a game of Buzzword Bingo. But the important thing is that we ended up good place: the word “extreme” is a much better descriptor than the word “big” because it suggests an edginess that really does need to be part of any worthy information governance strategy.

No longer are we dealing with only large, largely static data stores; rather, our lives now are regularly complicated by dynamic pieces of unstructured information that may or may not fit into preestablished data schemes or be parts of a larger document whole. So while engaging in Extreme Governance does not require the physicality that Extreme Sports do, there are many metaphorical obstacles to climb and hoops to jump through, and success requires similar measures of courage and commitment when it comes to thinking outside the box and being very public about your work.

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