Protecting digital information key to driving business value

Information Governance Initiative (IGI), in partnership with Preservica, has revealed that 83% of organisations aim to realise direct business value from their long-term digital information, across such areas as market analysis, product innovation, and customer service. However, according to the report, only a minority (16%) have a viable approach for proper governance and preservation.

It was also highlighted that 95% of organisations surveyed have critical records which need to be preserved for ten years or more. Business functions that respondents identified as the most important long-term digital information to be preserved were: legal operations, financial management and human resource management.

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Mike Quinn, CEO of Preservica, said: “Dropping the ball on governing and preserving long-term digital information not only creates multiple sources of legal, security, and compliance risks, but it also starves the organisation of the information raw materials it needs to understand what happened, so it can intelligently predict what will happen. As analysis tools and techniques continue to radically improve our ability to harness our digital information, this failure will only grow as a threat to competitiveness and innovation.”

Nine in ten companies confirmed that “legal, statutory and regulatory compliance requirements” drive the need to retain digital records and information long-term, however, the challenge of deriving value from long term digital information is also now rising in importance.

The CEO was the role perceived by IG professionals to be most at risk from failures to successfully preserve digital records, followed by the general counsel, head of records management, CIO, and board of directors.

>See also: Digital business trends 2017

Barclay T. Blair, executive director and founder at IGI, commented: “This report underlines how long-term digital information is not only proliferating across the enterprise, but the consequences of failing to properly govern and manage it only grow graver, with the impact felt all the way up to the CEO and board of directors.”

“While legal and regulatory requirements have always driven preservation and governance of long-term digital information, the quest for business value is rising as a major driver too; yet the use technology needed to protect and ensure long-term access to digital information still lags,” added Blair.

Last year, the IGI 2016 Benchmark Report on The Governance of Long-Term Digital Information exposed the troubling dynamic that while virtually every organisation (98%) needed to keep digital information for longer than ten years, few (16%) had a viable approach for proper governance and preservation.

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Since then, some organisations have taken steps to integrate proper systems into the lifecycle of governing their digital information. However, many continue to lag behind – putting their long-term information, business performance and c-suite at risk.

Other statistics to emerge included 90% of respondents believing that “ensuring readability and usability of information” was a key requirement for governing and preserving long-term digital information. Meanwhile 79% of respondents said that “proving authenticity and trustworthiness” was also important.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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