March 21, 2013 – Data governance is still a struggle with most businesses polled in a new AIIM report, and new avenues of information like social media chatter are receiving extremely low levels of retention and responsibility.

The report, entitled “Information Governance – Records, Risks and Retention in the Litigation Age” and authored by AIIM Market Intelligence Division leader Doug Miles, consists of a snapshot of responses from more than 500 AIIM members surveyed this past January.

Just under half (48 percent) of organizations in the survey reported that they have an information governance policy that has been incorporated either enterprise-wide or at least in individual business departments. Thirty-one percent of respondents stated they have plans or a process in place for governance, but are “not there yet,” and another 3 percent have no governance plans at all.

And how that governance policy touches on different types of data was telling. With newer or cutting-edge data sources like mobile, instant messaging, cloud sharing programs, and internal and external social networks, about one-third of respondents had no one directly responsible for respective data governance.

“However, simply having a policy in place does not ensure that good information governance occurs,” Miles wrote in the report. “Half of those with a policy admit that it is largely unreferenced and unaudited.”

Miles went on to define 48 percent of businesses as “working hard” to conform to governance standards. Aside from the sometimes difficult work of implementing governance policies, AIIM cited other continuing obstacles, such as the range of privacy laws and legal mechanisms in different countries, and the often missing step of training. Only 16 percent regularly train all staff on governance expectations, and almost double that amount have no stated training at all.

There is some anticipation that programs will get more attention gradually, as approximately 45 percent of those surveyed expect increased investment in retention and governance programs, and 14 percent expecting less, about the same figures as in a similar November 2011 survey.

Few businesses are taking a governance approach to social network data, according to AIIM. Less than 10 percent save internal and external social network data, with the vast majority either not involved in networks, not involved in social data recording or unable or unwilling to take on a new data management program (though recognizing that it could be important). In not doing so, AIIM reported that businesses are looking at the risk and reward of retaining and managing social data. Indeed, of that small pool of businesses engaged in social data retention and governance, less than 35 percent reported that they needed to reference that social data recently. Still, AIIM warned that these and other forms of data new to business  carry increasing importance and possible legal concerns.

There has also been a reported reversal of the trend on paper documents going electronic. As of a similar survey in 2011, AIIM found that paper documents were on a consistent decline. However, in this new report, more paper documents are being created, according to 42 percent of respondents. The non-profit stated it had “no firm explanation” for the change in this trend, though indicated it could be a reflection of the “creep” of physical records back into the workplace after a staunch period of initial digitizing, retention and destruction programs.

AIIM is an information management non-profit dedicated to training and education. To download the full report from AIIM, click here.

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