By Chris Whitaker and Phyllis Wisotsky
In today’s business environment, outsourced labor solutions are the norm. We are accustomed to contract staffing in many of our functional areas; i.e., Facilities, Accounting and Finance, Human Resources, et al. In the heyday of Records and Information Management (RIM), we also became accustomed to outsourced file rooms accompanied by personnel. Fast forward to Information Governance, the management of information which balances the usage and security of data. Many of the firms whom provided RIM staffing services in the past have continued to provide contingency workers to their existing clients, but have they kept up with training their IG teams with best practices in our digital age?
With more than thirty years’ experience in this niche, we have seen the need to transition these workers from Records and Information Managers and support staff to Information Governance specialists with knowledge of IG best practices for the industries in which they work, coupled with a high level of computer literacy. With this toolkit in place, IG can be outsourced for many of these functions such as Data Scientists, legal professionals, IT as it relates to IG, SharePoint teams, etc. Many global firms now outsource Information Governance staffing to IG professionals whom keep up with the latest and greatest of all that is IG including GDPR, IOT, and the more mundane such as which document management solutions are the best from industry-specific, training, and requirements’ understanding points of view.
There are many reasons for organizations to establish a formal enterprise information integration and governance program. Senior managers, employees, managers and workgroups at all levels can benefit from a framework to enhance and improve the creation, review, storage, disposition and value of information. Information governance can enable a company to better store and manage its information to be leveraged throughout the information life cycle. A well-developed information governance program can address issues such as electronic discovery, metadata standardization, data privacy and storage management. An information governance program allows organizations to turn the data they collect into valuable business information. Information Governance helps to drive compliance and reduce risk through the retention of information per the recordkeeping guidelines where an organization operates. Lastly, Information governance also helps to drive consistent management of information across the organization.
IG/RIM functions to outsource
Many organizations manage and perform the functions required for a successful IG program themselves, while others outsource these functions to various service providers. The areas of IG that are often outsourced are people, process and technology. Roles such as RIM/IG Manager, Director of Information Governance and Privacy Officer are often outsourced by organizations seeking to fulfill these positions but do not have the candidates with the necessary skillsets or expertise to fill them. Staffing Services providers who specialize in Information Governance and RIM can identify candidates with the industry skillsets across a host of locations very quickly. The time to hire, train and develop IG/RIM managers is greatly reduced, thus enabling organizations to get their programs off the ground in less time than trying to staff people themselves.
IG/RIM processes to outsource
Various IG/RIM program processes such as RIM program development, records retention schedule and policy creation, program training and rollout, and program assessments can also be outsourced. Service providers with extensive experience in this space utilize their expertise and knowledge gained from past engagements to offer prospective clients an advanced starting point to build their program. This approach eliminates the need to build a RIM/IG program “from scratch” which can lower cost and reduce program completion time. Lastly, many organizations outsource various technology functions in support of their RIM/IG programs. Technology managed services, software as a service, and migrating data to the cloud are common examples of outsourcing in the technology realm. Outsourced technology services generally offers organizations the opportunity to have best of breed technology without large capital expenditures to purchase on premise hardware of software. Outsourcing technology services can help organizations reduce the amount of real estate and staff needed while still meeting requirements for information governance.
In conclusion, since Information Governance is a holistic approach to lifecycle information management, IG outsourced staffing, program development, and technology should be explored by firms and individuals with credentials which allow them to provide processes, strategies, operations, controls (regulatory, risk, legal, etc.) and metrics which will support the protection of enterprise information