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Clever Idea – A Little Too Narrow for My Liking

by Andrew White  |  June 27, 2014  |  3 Comments

A colleague of mine at work pointed me to the Information Governance Initiative.  I thought, “What a lovely idea!”  Then I looked at the site, and read the materials.  In a nutshell its a vendor gathering focused on e-Discovery or archival solutions.  In my book that’s not even 1/8th of Information Governance.  So it should be called e-Discovery or maybe the ILM initiative.  But since information governance is sexy again, I guess that’s a better name.

Don’t ask me to comment on the definition of ILM.  I have don’t that before.  ILM is far from it.  Despite it’s definition the vendors in the ILM market tend to focus on what I like to call the death of data – not the lively, spiritedly youthfulness of data.  See The Seven Ages of Information.

I am reminded of an event a few weeks ago.  I was at a vendor conference where one of the employees of that vendor (that will remain nameless) that represents the e-Discovery part of the market said, and I am paraphrasing, “Information loses value over time”.  This was his opening slide in a short 40 minute presentation on why “information life cycle governance” tools, code for archiving, retrieval, and e-Discovery, are hot right now.  They are.  Not least due to the risk hidden in all that data you are collecting.  But to equate that segment of the market to “information governance” is akin to looking at western Caucasians and equating that to humanity.  Humanity is made of up many parts, and for much of it’s history, western Caucasians didn’t add up to much.

It may or may not be true that “records lose value over time” but in my book, that is a far cry from “information loses value”.  What about the Magna Carter?  What about the secret Coke formula?  What about your customer master file?  What about a dead “cert” tip for the 3.30pm at Chepstow on Saturday?  What would you pay to now to know who wins the World Cup?

No, you cannot say simply information loses, or gains, value.  But this guy did.  I can tell that my question to him was not well received.  This was a great example of how the various parts of Information Governance still need to come together.    Information has many colors – no single color speaks for all of it.

Category: information-governance  information-lifecycle-management-ilm  

Andrew White
Research VP
8 years at Gartner
22 years IT industry

Andrew White is a research vice president and agenda manager for MDM and Analytics at Gartner. His main research focus is master data management (MDM) and the drill-down topic of creating the "single view of the product" using MDM of product data. He was co-chair… Read Full Bio

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