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Information governance: time to jump in

In the footsteps of the 9th Serda report, the GouvInfo IAI association has published its 3rd Océan Bleu. A clear reference to the strategic approach of the same name, the title of this report indicates upfront that it is not just tackling the problems but most of all new opportunities to be seized. Unlike the Serda report which focuses more on a statistical approach aimed at reflecting the situation of information governance in organizations - based on figures from their annual survey - the Océan Bleu of GouvInfo gives the opportunity to 14 information professionals to present their experience and to share a more personal vision of their discipline; reading through this report therefore provides us with a helicopter view on issues such as digital transformation, Cloud computing, data protection or the value of information. 

This intrinsic value of information is indeed highlighted in several contributions. In their introduction, the organizers of the report (François-Benjamin Remazeilles, Jean-Pascal Perrein et Lionel Husson) note that most companies respond only to regulations in force when designing their information management policy, the sole objective being to protect themselves from legal trouble. Why not envisage instead an information governance approach which would extract the real value of this information? Isabelle Wattiau, full professor at ESSEC Business School, confirms: “Information governance is based on a fundamental principle: considering information as an asset to be managed in the same way as real estate or human resources. Therefore, a manager’s training must integrate the skills allowing him/her to grasp what information is and what must be implemented to manage it as a strategic asset”. She also regrets that no institution currently offers a sufficiently comprehensive training in information governance. 

As mentioned earlier, this report invites us to look at the big picture to better understand, in all of its complexity, the discipline of information governance. Several contributions also call on professionals to adopt a global perspective when engaging in information governance projects for their organizations, in order, among other things, to promote transversality. Sabrina Menasria suggests, for example, to adopt an “agnostic” vision of information through departments. According to her, the implementation of an information governance allows “silos” and organisational misalignments caused by poor information flow to disappear. The ultimate objective of this transversality, (re)gained by among other things removing intermediaries - what she calls “uberizing” the organization - is that each staff member has easy access to reliable information. 

In terms of software infrastructure, it is constantly emphasized that the selection of an IT tool must be preceded by an in-depth analysis of work processes and human aspects, and not the other way around. Christophe Binot, in charge of information governance at Total Global Services, says nothing else when he states that it is necessary to have “the widest possible vision, which will apply to paper as well as digital information, and which will be technology agnostic”.

In other words: “Digitalizing is not transforming”, as quite rightly says Sabrin Menasria.

The 3rd Océan Bleu report can be downloaded from the GouvInfo website.

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