top of page
  • Peter Meyers

Knowledge Management, Information Governance, and Data Governance: Understanding the Trifecta of Using Information as an Asset

Row of filed information in notebooks sitting on shelves

Information is a critical asset for any organization. This asset requires deliberate care, management, and governance. We view this as a threefold approach, encompassing Knowledge Management, Information Governance, and Data Governance, all essential for effectively leveraging information as an asset.

While often used interchangeably, knowledge management, information governance, and data governance have distinct differences. Understanding these differences offers a more complete view of information as an asset.

Knowledge Management involves using organizational knowledge to enhance efficiency, aid decision-making, spur innovation, and cultivate a learning culture within the organization. It focuses on identifying, creating, capturing, storing, and sharing knowledge to promote reuse awareness and learning throughout the organization. This process is key to maintaining organizational integrity, ensuring sustainable use of knowledge, and boosting organizational performance.

Information Governance relates to the information itself and the collaborative efforts of organizations to improve its security, control, use, and optimization. It is a multifunctional responsibility beyond just the CIO or IT Team. It involves using information effectively and efficiently to achieve organizational goals, complying with legal and regulatory standards, and protecting information from risks like data breaches and cyber-attacks. Within Information Governance, information and data management are implicit.

Data Governance is primarily the IT department's responsibility and a subset of Information Governance. It is centered on managing organizational data's availability, usability, integrity, and security. Grounded in internal standards and policies, it aims for control and consistency in data architecture, storage, security, lineage, integration, master data management, and loss prevention.

Why Does This Matter?

  • Loss of Productivity: Multiple research reports illustrate that employees across various organizations dedicate 20% of their working hours each week searching for internal knowledge or connecting with colleagues for assistance to find information in existing systems. 

  • Substantial Cost: Fortune 500 companies collectively face losses of at least $31.5 billion annually due to knowledge-sharing inefficiencies.

  • Retirement Concerns: Approximately 4.1 million Americans are poised to turn 65 in 2024 and every year through 2027, according to an Alliance for Lifetime Income report. This poses a sizable challenge in terms of knowledge management and retention of information due to retirement.

  • Poor Data Quality: Only 3% of business leaders think their department has an acceptable level of data quality.

  • Knowledge Management Program Value: A McKinsey Global Institute Report reveals that robust knowledge management can reduce the time lost in searching for information by up to 35% and even boost organization-wide productivity by 20-25%

  • Data Governance Program Value: Companies with a Data Governance program in place increase data analysis time by 2% and register a 31% improvement in data quality confidence.

  • Information Governance Program Value: McKinsey indicates that 40 to 80 percent of corporate data comprises ROT (redundant, obsolete, trivial) data. ROT reduction is one of the primary benefits of information governance. Because the average organization spends 25 percent of its IT budget on data storage and 75 percent overall on infrastructure, information governance can significantly impact IT spending.

Information is an existing resource and a crucial asset for mitigating organizational risk, enhancing efficiency, and improving engagement with employees, customers, and constituents.

Achieving the desired outcomes can pose a formidable challenge regardless of organizational goals.

The importance of Knowledge Management, Information Governance, and Data Governance is often overlooked until a crisis occurs, such as a staff reduction, data breach, e-discovery issues, compliance sanctions, or legal setbacks. Moreover, the responsibility for information and data management is frequently seen as solely IT's domain rather than a collective organizational responsibility. Without a deliberate approach to knowledge management, valuable information may not be adequately captured or retained, especially when employees depart. Unfortunately, this presents a unique challenge, and being “knowledge reactive” is not good practice for any organization.

Over time, the legal, compliance, and regulatory risks landscape becomes increasingly complex. Organizational processes tend to become more complicated, diverge from established standards, and fall victim to inefficiencies. Manual processes and fragmented communication lead to misunderstandings and errors, resulting in the loss of valuable knowledge. Practices related to the retention, access, security, and privacy of information can become outdated, inadequate, or misused, making information overly complex or even inaccessible. The application of AI in information and data governance and management is still an ongoing development. Faced with limited resources and expertise, agencies struggle to pinpoint inefficiencies and discover opportunities for improvement.

At MSS Business Transformation Advisory (MSSBTA), we believe there is a better approach.

Information as an Asset Mitigates Risk, Enhances Efficiency, and Fosters Engagement

For agencies to effectively harness information as an asset, they should:

  1. Assess their existing Knowledge Management, Information Governance, and Data Governance practices.

  2. Evaluate their Information Maturity Level and compare it with similar organizations.

  3. Develop a roadmap for achieving a desired future state of maturity, outlining specific enhancements to mitigate risks, enhance efficiency, and boost engagement.

  4. Implement scalable and adaptable solutions that align with the agency's fundamental operations and accommodate the organization's increasing demands and complexities.

  5. Employ AI technologies to expedite projects and increase productivity.

  6. Foster a culture of ongoing improvement, continuously reviewing and refining processes and communication to ensure the agency remains nimble, responsive to change, and risk-averse.

The result is a focused organization effectively using one of its most valuable assets to facilitate positive changes in risk mitigation, efficiency, productivity, and engagement with a resource already in-house. The magic is in executing the trifecta of using information as an asset.


bottom of page