Managing an organization’s digital assets is a growing priority that can cost even the savviest CIO their job.  Budgeting for information governance can be tricky when it comes to determining how and where to find the necessary resources.

Below are some common budgeting pitfalls to avoid when deciding on an information governance solution.

#1 Top-down planning

Companies often view budgeting as a top-down process where one person owns the entire process.  The reality is that everyone needs to be involved so that the entire company’s resources are accounted for.  The management of information governance doesn’t just rely on IT or compliance departments; the entire organization is involved and benefits from the solution.

To make an information governance budget a reality, make sure you involve key stakeholders from every department and have each entity take ownership for their parts of the budget.  Once each department identifies the resources they need to allocate, the project leader can roll it up into a single plan.

#2 Difficulty budgeting

When you don’t have reliable access to spending data, it can be challenging to actualize what has been invested in the information governance initiatives currently running.  This in turn makes it difficult to justify additional spending with executives.  It can also be difficult to know where to allocate the information governance budget if it’s unclear how much funds are available.

Whether you’re using a spreadsheet or have advanced budgeting software to track your spend, it’s important to constantly be reviewing what’s working and what’s not and identify where the organization is seeing the most ROI.

#3 Biting off more than you can chew

Once an information governance roadmap is approved, obtaining sign off can be daunting.  While the solution may sound straightforward, this is rarely a reality.  Many organizations still struggle with implementing information governance and instead of seeking budget approval for the entire initiative, it’s often best to break it off into smaller projects and seek approval for each project at a time.  Some examples of smaller projects include:

  • Selection and implementation of archiving tools
  • Training program for employees
  • Migration to a new email platform
  • Information governance assessment

The key is to align each individual project with your goals, and keep track of the investment so per-project ROI can be obtained.

#4 Bowing to internal politics

Internal politics exist at most companies, and discussions often get heated when valuable resources are involved.  With a number of different departments and budgets, it can be tempting to divide the resources evenly to avoid disagreements.  While this avoids conflict, it typically rewards those that are the loudest.

If you’re considering individual information governance proposals, measure each based on their strategic return, economic value, and payback window.  This will better guide how resources are split.

#5 Struggling to Prove ROI

Proving ROI is critical to the success of any information governance initiative, and there is growing pressure to do so.  Similar to the efforts of public relations or corporate social responsibility departments, it can be difficult to prove the ROI of budget based on intangible initiatives.

Consider demonstrating the ROI of information governance via more quantitative means such as: decreased overtime hours, quicker eDiscovery turnaround times, less spending on storage, or fewer litigation issues.

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