Data governance maturing quickly

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

Australian organisations are increasingly adopting formal information governance frameworks to maximise the value of data while minimising associated risks and costs, an industry survey has found.

Government organisations reported more mature information governance compared to corporates, following the introduction of requirements in Australia for all commonwealth entities to support information governance workers and establish dedicated leaders.

According to the latest industry survey, most organisations across both public and private sectors now have an information governance (IG) leader and more than 40 per cent have a multi-disciplinary IG steering committee.

Government entities are more confident in the maturity of their information governance compare to the private sector, according to a new survey of information governance professionals.

The findings are based on a survey of 338 information governance professionals, mostly based in Australia, by industry group Information Governance ANZ, which conducts the poll every two years.

“Nearly two-thirds of the respondents said their organisation uses a formal IG framework with policies and procedures, which was a substantial increase on 2019,” said Information Governance ANZ founder and executive director Susan Bennett.

“Almost three-quarters of the respondents’ organisations have IG projects underway or planned in the next year, with over a third indicating they are expecting to increase their IG spend this financial year.”

2021 also saw government organisations overtake corporates on the confidence in their IG, with 62 per cent of government respondents saying their organisation had either advanced or intermediate IG maturity compare with 49 per cent of corporates.

In 2015 the National Archives of Australia introduced a Digital Continuity 2020 policy requiring Australian government entities to manage information as an asset; transition to entirely digital work processes, and have interoperable information systems.

The policy included the requirement that entities have assigned responsibilities at a senior executive level for a chief information governance officer to support enterprise-wide information governance by 2017.

In 2019, the Auditor General found the National Archives had been largely ineffective in monitoring, assisting, and encouraging entities to meet the targets of the Digital Continuity 2020 policy. However, the three selected entities examined by the auditor had established a CIGO or, in the case of the smaller agency, delegated the responsibilities of the role to an appropriate executive.

Ms Bennett said it was a good sign that IG was moving up the leadership ranks.

“It’s pleasing to see that more than half of respondents feel that their organisation has addressed leadership in IG and data, but there is still room for improvement here noting that it is a requirement for all Australian Federal Government agencies to have a CIGO. We have also seen a consistent increase in the percentage of respondents indicating their accountable IG person is a peer of the C-suite.”

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