As it turns out, quite a lot.
Historically, the practice of maintaining the business records in an organization from their creation to timely disposal was known as “records management” or “document management”. This definition worked well when dealing primarily with paper documents.
We now live in an electronic world. The practice of creating, organizing, storing, and disposing of information is much more complex. Managing data is a critical business function. Accordingly, new terminology is in order. Enter “Information Governance” or “IG”.
According to Leigh Isaacs, in Information Governance: Not Just Hype, Law Technology News (1-25-2013), “information governance goes well beyond traditional records management…at the highest level, information governance is a holistic, all-encompassing discipline, that, when effectively implemented and managed, offers multiple and varied benefits to an organization”. She admits that IG is not easy, emphasizing that “the right mix of people, process and technology is critical to success”. She also points out that converting to IG requires time and culture change.
We agree: a new definition is in order, and secondly, information governance is decidedly not hype. Further, there is no doubt that the benefits that flow from good information governance include both the mitigation of numerous legal risks and compelling business efficiencies.
The term “information governance” better reflects the legal and technological realities of dealing with information in the electronic age. In law and in business, terminology is important. So is information governance.