Why Microsoft Information Governance initiatives MUST go beyond risk management?

Vivek Bhatt


Updated:Sep 6, 2020

In this digital age and especially since COVID-19 a digital transformation at WARP speed is happening with an increasing risk of constant threat. Hence it is right that most Microsoft information governance initiatives are being driven by objective to deal with enterprise data responsibly and make sure only information retained is where it has a legitimate business, legal or regulatory purpose.

Industries such as financial services, oil and gas, nuclear energy, life sciences, healthcare, and the public sector are subject to specific laws or regulations dictating the long-term retention of specific information types — but a single compliance-driven thinking doesn’t help protect less-regulated information within the same organisation. A single compliance-driven approach also does not resonate with every enterprise user beyond the compliance teams, leaving such programmes with a narrow business case resulting in poor user adoption and very little change in behaviours to manage information effectively to deliver value.

Hence we need to think beyond risk / threat management, Microsoft information governance initiatives when pursued with a balanced business case, deliver value out of information, and provide a real competitive edge to an organisation.

According to Forrester, knowledge-driven organizations can expect to achieve 30% annual growth in addition to being profitable and acquiring and retaining new customers.

Here are 4 considerations for developing a holistic business case for adoption of Microsoft information governance capabilities:

1. Leverage your brand vision to connect to a bigger purpose

Companies with mature programs integrate brand story to connect their ‘top line’ vision to Information governance value proposition. Brands with a strong history, community presence, or culture of innovation draw on years (if not decades) of brand assets to show customers, prospects and employees that they are there for the long haul. Digital artefacts are also key to inculcating employee (ex) / customer (cx) experience loyalty by telling stories that communicate and enforce the company’s culture, values, and purpose.

An example of linking your company vision to business value case for Microsoft information governance adoption

A Sample Vision for Microsoft Information Governance Programs

2. Leverage Digital information for Insight And Innovation

Every organisation is now increasingly digital, and as a result information of long-term value is also digital. In absence of information governance, this digital information is fragile and prone to losing its context or getting completely lost. Investing in data and content preservation to ensure long-term availability, accessibility, context, and lineage is a key construct of any information governance business case.

3. Avoid using retention policies for seek-and-destroy missions

Technology, business, and legal teams must develop policies to remove duplicate, obsolete, or low-value information created or managed in Microsoft 365. The rise in global data protection and privacy laws such as GDPR and CCPA also means that companies must invest in information governance for policy-driven deletion of risky customer or employee data. However, they must also specifically identify and preserve digital information, protecting it from deletion by labelling as records in Microsoft applications SharePoint online, Teams and Exchange online.

4. Manage Corporate Memory

‘Keeping house in order’ must be a vital part of your Microsoft information governance story.

Do not leave it to your successors to worry about the corporate videos that can’t be viewed, the SharePoint and Teams repositories will crumble to dust in absence of well defined governance, and the company strategy decks full of “404 not found” links. Companies with a strong sense of mission, purpose, and innovation establish the information governance skills to allow employees to think beyond their quarterly bonus and create digital content intended for long-term accessibility.


We must go beyond protecting the organization as a business case and realize that we have digital knowledge and brand assets with a lifetime value that will inspire innovation to build a stronger culture and improve customer and employee experiences.

As organizational artefacts shift from physical to digital, corporate memory, information of long-term value faces new risks. An ungoverned proliferation of Microsoft productivity and content services tools will weaken your ability to deliver value. Enterprises must start addressing this issue today by starting with what’s feasible, and the lack of a perfect approach shouldn’t weaken the case for information governance and compliance programs.

  • Don’t kick the can down the road!

  • Companies must adopt a mindset that compliance-driven governance is a minimum threshold instead of the entire scope.

  • Long term Information Governance risks and benefits are real — act Today even if IT landscape isn’t Perfect

  • Actively plan for long-term retention of data that holds corporate memory and plan to automatically dispose the information beyond its legitimate purpose

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