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The roadmap to successful information governance - Part 2

Antony WellsEngaging stakeholders with effective tactics

In part 1 of our series on building a business case, Chris Giles provided the framework for building a business case that will resonate with organisational leaders and secure the support and resources to launch initiatives that will propel the organisation forward. In part 2 of our series, Antony Wells explores the methodology and the art of communicating the message.

Crafting your business case framework

Key elements of a business case

Antony Wells underscores the significance of clear communication when formulating a business case. He proposes delineating the case through several pivotal steps:

  • Identifying the business problemStart by pointing out the main issue, showing it as a big problem that needs quick action. For example, imagine your case management software is so outdated it's almost useless. You should explain the problem as more than just making things slow - it's a big risk to keeping client information safe. Your job is to describe these problems clearly, showing how they really affect your organisation's day-to-day operations.
  • Conducting assessmentsUpon pinpointing the main problem, the next phase resembles investigative work. For instance, you might analyse how your current data handling measures compare with regulations like GDPR. The goal is to identify discrepancies between your present procedures and the necessary standards, articulating these gaps convincingly enough to underscore the urgency for action.
  • Exploring alternative solutionsWith the challenge in mind, the next step involves strategising your response. You don’t want a temporary solution; you need to be evaluating various alternatives, considering their advantages and disadvantages, and demonstrating thoughtful deliberation. The ultimate aim is to propose a solution that is not only feasible but also represents the most strategic option for your organisation.
  • Cost-benefit analysis narrativeHere, you want to weave your numerical data with a good story. Go beyond financial projections and craft a narrative that explains the wider implications of your initiative. This analysis should be more than basic accounting, it should illustrate how your proposal will enhance operational efficiency, mitigate risks, and forge new opportunities for revenue and client engagement.
  • Recommending the optimal solutionThis stage involves emphasising your proposed solution – the preferred choice. This is your opportunity to persuade decision-makers of its merits, demonstrating how it effectively balances costs and benefits, aligns with the organisation's broader objectives, and accommodates its risk tolerance. Here, the focus is on presenting a vision for the future.
  • Describing the implementation strategyAntony likens the implementation approach to the finale of a good story. “It's the part of your business case that looks into the future, outlining the steps to turn your plan into reality.” Consider this as a precise action plan, a series of specific steps illustrating how to achieve your objectives. This goes beyond theory, showcasing a practical roadmap and stating, "Here's how we turn our vision into action."


Real world information governance business case scenarios

Let's look at some real common scenarios that information governance professionals are often dealing with:

  • Case for new services and/or staffingImagine a forward-thinking law firm recognising the value within their Information Governance department. Yes, compliance is crucial, but so is the strategic management of data. The hurdle? A lack of specialised staff for data regulation and analytics. Proposed solution: Recruiting a team dedicated to making the firm an exemplar in data security. This effort aims to help the firm grow and create new ways to make money. It puts the firm at the leading edge of keeping data safe and managing it well while maintaining compliance.
  • Case for replacing outdated technology - Visualise a scenario where your technology is so archaic it's a liability. It's unwieldy, poses security threats, and is frankly, a source of embarrassment. The focus here is on the dire need for technological modernisation. The business case underscores the importance of technological updates to remain competitive and secure. The upgrade serves a dual purpose: safeguarding the firm's reputation and providing the team with the tools required for excellence.
  • Case for revising a technology purchase decisionConsider the moment you're about to invest in new software for managing your firm's information, only to discover a better alternative, prompting a re-evaluation of your initial choice. The approach here involves illustrating decision-making flexibility and adaptability. Compare the initially selected software with the newly identified superior option, spotlighting the benefits of switching. This is your chance to demonstrate that opting for the new solution is not just a good decision but a strategic one, ensuring smoother and more efficient operations going forward.
  • Case for new technology acquisitionSituation: Our law firm is at a pivotal point, needing to adopt advanced technology to remain competitive. Our current system falls short of our sophisticated data management requirements. We urgently need a more complete Records Management System (RMS) to improve our information handling, organisation, retrieval, and analysis capabilities. Business case focus: The proposed RMS is vital for our firm’s strategic expansion. It represents an investment in technology that will refine our operations and facilitate future growth. This RMS will enhance our service offerings, increase productivity, and ensure compliance with strict data governance regulations. It's a forward-looking investment expected to significantly boost efficiency and client satisfaction.


Customising each information governance business case

Every information governance business case is tailor-made to address specific challenges and objectives of a firm. Despite their variances, all aim to highlight the benefits clearly and persuasively, aligning with the firm's financial goals and risk management strategies. Presenting your business case effectively gets approval for your project and adds considerable value to the firm.

Final steps: Creating your information governance action plan

After a deep dive into the business case process, you now have a practical list to guide you through the process of building a business case for information governance:

  • Identify the specific problem: Make sure to clearly state the issue, how it connects to the overall goals, and its effects.
  • Conduct a thorough gap analysis: Carefully compare where you are now to where you want to be.
  • Showcase multiple solutions: Offer several well-considered options, each supported by legal and technical know-how.
  • Combine stories with data: Use a narrative that brings your data to life, focusing on how the solution will benefit the firm in the long run.
  • Support the best solution: Make a strong case for your preferred option, explaining how it fits with the firm's aims and outlining potential upsides and downsides.
  • Create a detailed implementation plan: Lay out a step-by-step plan for putting your idea into action, ready for any potential hurdles or questions.
  • Conclusion: The fusion of art and science in building a business case

Antony Wells reiterates that “creating a business case, especially in the legal field, is a blend of creativity and analytical precision. Effective information governance is key to upholding a firm's reputation for trust, confidentiality, and intellectual sharpness.” Wells adds that “by adhering to a structured approach and following a comprehensive checklist, you can develop business cases that not only improve day-to-day operations but also strategically enhance the firm's information governance in the long run.”

To find out more watch our ILTA Masterclass: Developing an IG business case and strategic plan. During this session Leigh Isaacs, Senior Director, Information Governance at DLA Piper, Kandace Donovan, Vice President Operations, North America at LegalRM and Chris Hockey, Senior Associate with Alvarez & Marsal Disputes and Investigations focused on the key elements to consider when developing both and effective methods to communicate them to stakeholders. To view the recording, click here.    

Antony Wells is a seasoned professional committed to helping law firms optimise their information management responsibilities. In his role as Sales Director at LegalRM, Antony leads initiatives aimed at enhancing firms' information governance strategies, with a keen focus on compliance, risk mitigation, and cost reduction.

Before joining LegalRM, Antony amassed invaluable experience guiding firms in selecting and implementing document management solutions, throughout the legal and professional services market.

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