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“We’re all doomed!” The Private Frazer Effect of Risk-based Information Governance

by Alan D. Duncan  |  December 16, 2014  |  Submit a Comment

The Wall Street Journal’s recent roundup of Information Governance surveys suggests that business is finally starting to pay Information Governance the attention it really needs. Not before time, and perhaps 2015 really will be the year the Information Governance comes into the mainstream of business practices.

However, I can’t help but think that basing the premise on Risk and Compliance drivers is very much like listening to the stereotypically dour Scotsman  Private Frazer from the classic UK television sitcom “Dad’s Army”.

we're all doomed

Of course sometimes there’s a genuine need for caution, but in Dad’s Army, no one ever paid any real attention to what Private Frazer had to say, because the situation was never really that bad. While it might be dead right to warn of the reputational, operational and legal impacts of poor information controls, it’s not exactly a emboldening message. Quite the converse, in fact – it’s totally off-putting to the point of being self-thwarting. but a permanently pessimistic outlook means having very little influence. This is exactly what  I told a conference of Records Managers last year, and I stand by my contention. Adopt a risk-only approach and you’ll be experience the Private Frazer Effect before you know it.

If you want to get Executive attention for Information Governance, I suggest it’s better to go looking for the positive benefits and value-adding opportunities that arise from taking an evidence-based approach. Improvements in productivity, customer engagement and market effectiveness are all stories that will engage interest in care for the corporate information base. And while working to improve business outcomes using an evidence-based approach, risk and complience outcomes can then follow as an additional benefit. Information Advocacy is the way forward.

However you go about your Information Governance programme, the first thing to do is make sure that you follow Lance-Corporal Jones’s advice.


And of course, if you do nothing at all, then you’re more likely to end up like Dad’s Army’s Private Pike…

stupid boy


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Category: analytics  business-intelligence  data-and-analytics-strategies  data-governance  data-quality  information-management  security  

Alan Duncan
Research Director
1 years at Gartner
22 years IT Industry

Alan Duncan is a Research Director within Gartner's Analytics and Business Intelligence research team. Major areas of interest include: the business value of analytics solutions and architectures, data governance and quality, culture of evidence-based decision making, and data-led organizational change. Read Full Bio

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