It’s time for corporations to take the next step and give the CPO a seat at the information governance table as an ally and champion in developing information life-cycle governance (ILG) practices that transform the organization’s information economics. Not familiar with information economics? Well, if economics is “the discipline of analyzing the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services,” then information economics is the discipline of analyzing the production, distribution and consumption of information. Think of it this way. Organizations obtain value from the information they generate and collect, but this value is offset by the cost to access and manage it and by the risks associated with it, including growing privacy risks. The goal in improving information economics is to develop the ability to control information cost and risk while increasing the value derived from it in order to significantly improve the profit margin on information…
Achieving a healthy information economy, where the value of information is greater than its costs and potential risks, starts with the ability to accurately identify information value. The difficulty with this is that the value depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of information, its stakeholders, the company’s industry, its geographic location, and the duration of customer and product life cycles. For example, email (a type of information) may lose its business value very quickly but be relevant to regulators (one of the stakeholders, determined by industry and geographic location) for three years. As for product life cycles, design information for products with a short market lifespan, such as consumer electronics, is useful for a much shorter period of time than design information for products, such as aircraft engines, that are used for decades. Yet, in both cases, the length of time that back-office information is of value is likely similar. Meanwhile, information that is deemed to be clearly valuable can be extremely risky to hold on to. For example, marketing often wants to save all personal customer information in order to extract business value from it over the long, but this often conflicts with new privacy requirements…

In order for a company to accurately understand and fully realize the value of information throughout its life cycle and thereby identify what information can and should be eliminated, all information stakeholders — including business users and the IT team that manages the data, but also those concerned with privacy, risk, security, legal matters and record keeping — must be able to work together and align their needs…

The goal of an ILG program is to provide a framework and processes for defining and communicating information value while aligning information cost and risk to the value over time. Given the amount of data debris that most companies have, a core tenet of such programs is creating an organizationwide defensible disposal program that automates the elimination of information that has no legal, records, privacy/security or business value as the primary mechanism for improving the company’s information economics. A fully operational defensible disposal program systematically eliminates unnecessary cost and risk, creates a self-cleansing information environment, and facilitates access to the remaining information of value.

You can read the rest at Sure, Information Has Value, But Don’t Forget The Risks by Deidre Paknad in ComputerWorld

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