Monday, July 20, 2009

Essential Elements of Information Management Communication and Training (Key #4: Program Communication and Training)

Highlights of chapter 15 of Information Nation second edition

Case after case had demonstrated that, whether they like it or not, companies and government agencies can be held accountable for their failure to adequately train and monitor their employees’ actions. IMC depends upon a comprehensive and consistent ongoing program of communication and training.

Clarity is a key component of any communication program. Company conduct which is contrary to policy can undermine the purposes of the policy. For example, a court has found that companies can violate the privacy rights of their employees, despite policy explicitly stating that employees have no privacy rights in data on company computers, where the company allowed employees to password protect network and email folders on company servers.

Top executives must also demonstrate their support for the Information Management program by communicating its importance directly to employees. This can be done through email messages, voicemail blasts, face-to-face presentations, teleconferences, and many other ways as appropriate, depending on the size and culture of the organization. Regardless of the method used, it is important that the communications are consistent with the messages provided elsewhere by the program’s policies and procedures.

Read about other important characteristics of a communication and training program in the second edition of Information Nation, available from John W. Wiley & Sons. For more information, see www.informationnationbook.com.

Comments? Contact the author at infonation@kahnconsultinginc.com.

Monday, July 6, 2009

IT Leadership (Key #3: Proper Delegation of Program Roles and Components) - Highlights of chapter 13 of the second edition of Information Nation

Every employee in an organization shares responsibility for compliance, but specific roles and responsibilities also must be created, and appropriate authority delegated to oversee specific program components. This is critical because improper delegation not only increases the likelihood that Information Management mistakes will be made, but also can create serious liability for the company. Many organizations have struggled to build an Information Management infrastructure that reflects the ongoing transition to electronic business processes, new law and regulations, and changing business practices in general.

Different departments within the organization may have competing needs for information. The Sales department may want to keep every email message from a customer forever, because email messages provide valuable information about customers’ buying habits, and enable them to create more accurate sales forecasts. The IT department protests that infinite retention of email bogs down the email servers, requiring large investments in extra hardware, maintenance and staffing. The Legal department is concerned about a recent case where damaging email evidence led to a multi-million dollar settlement.

What is the best solution? The answer may surprise you. Read the second edition of Information Nation, available from John W. Wiley & Sons. For more information, see www.informationnationbook.com.

Comments? Contact the author at infonation@kahnconsultinginc.com.