IG for Making Good Big Data Decisions

    Nov 25, 2015

    According to a recent Legaltech News report, the challenge for organizations in our app-ified world – in which we are “addicted to the predictive, persuasive, instant gratification that that the Digital Trinity [mobility, social media and advanced analytics] delivers” – is not the volume of data being produced; it is consumers’ growing expectations that organizations act upon their data.

    To remain relevant, organizations must use data to provide better customer service, personalized offers, and highly targeted ads. At the same time, they must avoid doing anything that might be considered too invasive or manipulative. So how do they exploit the value of data without alienating the people with whom they’re trying to connect more personally and deeply?

    Legaltech News says organizations should consider how their use of customer data can affect their offerings, their reputation, and their brand. The report offers the following guidelines for that decision-making process:

    1. Establish appropriate-use guidelines. Consider creating a cross-sectional committee of stakeholders, including marketing, legal, HR, and customers, to ensure that data use is consistent with the organization’s values, societal norms, and customer expectations. Consumers often won’t provide their data to entities they don’t trust.
    2. Be transparent. Policies for collecting and using data should be transparent, understandable, enforceable, and current. Real-time notification should be standard, and customers should be told how and when their data is being used.
    3. Establish meaningful information governance. Establish an information governance (IG) structure that reflects the value of individual data. It should include guidelines for information use, asset tracking, security, risk management, and lifecycle management, and the program should have executive oversight, just like capital governance processes do.
    4. Acknowledge the tradeoffs. Organizations that use customer data to drive business should provide customers value in return for that use. Although most understand that free services come at a cost – usually personal data – wise companies ensure that customers benefit from their participation and that the organization’s use of customer data is not far removed from the purpose for which it was collected.
    5. Provide recourse and control. Give customers some degree of control over the collection and use of their data by making opting in or out easy and effective and by providing a way for them to correct their information.

    Companies that thoughtfully manage their use of data, treating it as they would any other mission-critical asset, are more likely to achieve the goal of remaining relevant to their customers.

    ARMA International provides a number of useful resources for addressing IG issues within big data initiatives. All of the following are available through the ARMA online bookstore, and many are free to those who hold professional-level ARMA membership. (Detailed membership information can be found at

    LegalTech News
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