As we put 2020 behind us and look forward to 2021, we reflected in an interactive virtual discussion forum on the key IG learnings from the past 12 months and the insights and actions we now need to be taking to make the most of the opportunities and challenges on the road to recovery in 2021.
We’ve seen the different ways governments have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and the results in managing the pandemic. Similarly, organisations have had to adapt to the changes and, in particular, to faster digital transformation. Robust governance of organisations and of information has never been so important. Increased cyber risks and the importance of access to real-time and accurate data for decision-making, both at the board level and throughout the organisation, are now critical issues.
Our expert panel included InfoGovANZ International Council member, Brynmor Bowen, Principal Consultant at Greenheart Consulting Partners, and a Board Director of MCCG Guyana, a management consulting company based in Guyana. Bryn is a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management and Past President of the ARMA Metro NYC chapter. He is also a founding Steering Committee member of the Law Firm Information Governance Symposium, an organization dedicated to providing IG guidance to the legal industry through published white paper guidance.
Bryn is formerly the Director of Information Services at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP, a New York-based law firm, where he established an information governance (IG) program in addition to overseeing the new business intake (NBI), conflicts/risk, record and information management, research/library services, and knowledge areas. Prior to that, Bryn was Director of Legal Systems and Information Management at Greenberg Traurig LLP, a large US law firm, where he established a global IG and records management program and reengineered the NBI conflicts and risk programs, and at the referenced millennium (2000), was Head of New Business and Conflicts at Clifford Chance, a newly transatlantic and transpacific merged of 3,200 lawyers.
- 2020 was certainly a year of acceleration of some long-awaited advances in how technology could be used to improve metadata enrichment and analysis. We saw the knowledge-related workforce become largely virtual, which led to the rise in the deployment of collaboration platforms along with the attendant IG issues, ranging from intra and extra enterprise security considerations to access rights management and the need for proper provisioning to reduce information proliferation.
- We also saw project realignments to reflect shifting priorities brought on by the pandemic, such as accelerated infrastructure moves to the cloud and the already mentioned increased digitisation. We also saw the use of AI enabled technology to mitigate effects of the shifting workforce stance, such as virtual support functions around knowledge workers and vastly improved functionality, like task suggestions in Office 365, empowering the governance of information in a significant way.
- There will be an acceleration of the changes already started in 2020, particularly with added functionality to collaboration replacement tools and the governance considerations and requirements that will need to be put in place.
- For new organisations, there will be an increased level of awareness of the need for IG frameworks, as this becomes more of a foundational necessity due to the virtual workforce. This will also lead to more thoughtful implementation and adoption of technology, with a greater focus on end user needs and overall user experience.
- Virtual workplace collaboration among knowledge workers has grown exponentially due to the restrictions demanded by logical response to the pandemic. Even after the pandemic subsides, significant virtual collaboration will be part of the new normal.
Action for leaders
- In order to ensure maximum positive effect and also take advantage of some of the value-added elements of virtual collaboration, a thoughtful, well-guided creation of a proper IG framework is critical.
You can read the insights from the rest of our expert panel in our InfoGovANZ Key Learnings from 2020 – Action and Insights for 2021 Report. The report was developed from a virtual forum discussing the impact of COVID-19 and IG implications for organisations on data, access to information, trust, transparency and accountability, cybersecurity, global privacy regulatory developments, eDiscovery, ethics and artificial intelligence.
You can also watch the recording of the 28 January 2021 webinar here.