Collaborative Information Governance Framework

ART04x - edited feature imageThis is the first of three articles to introduce the Collaborative Information Governance Framework (CIGF)TM. This first article provides the genesis of the framework.  The next article will focus on the People and Process of the framework through a Stewardship program, and the final article will provide the actual framework and how the CIGF all comes together.

The Genesis of the Framework

While completing my Master’s Degree, my thesis was about Information Delivery Architecture.  The research for the thesis was based upon the ANSI/X3/SPARC Three Schema Architecture [i].  The high-level definition of the architecture defines three levels of the architecture as External, Conceptual, and Internal Schemas.  In addition to architecture standard there were also two formidable experts that have influenced the Collaborative Information Governance Framework; those two are John Zachman [ii] and Larry English [iii].

Using a similar model, I have defined an approach to Information Governance that I call the Collaborative Information Governance Framework (CIGF).  Why collaborative? From the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a definition of collaboration is “to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor.”  Information Governance for organizations is an intellectual endeavor.  All those that work collaboratively use data to create information get involved.

CIGF defines and implements Information Governance and focuses on accountability and responsibility starting with business areas.  CGIF is business-focused not IT.  In my experience, there are more successful implementations of Information Governance that are driven by the business areas and not by IT. The collaboration across the business areas is key to the success of Information Governance implementation.  Also, in CGIF, if IT is viewed as business function first, then it takes the technical environment into consideration but does not focus merely on a technical solution.

A good definition of Information Governance by the Information Governance Initiative (IGI) provides the foundation for the Information Governance Framework – Information Governance are the activities and technologies that organizations employ to maximize the value of their information while minimizing associated risks and costs.  This is an accurate definition of Information Governance overall, and the framework that I use for establishing Information Governance uses this definition as a starting point and then refines it based upon client direction and needs.

I define Collaborative Information Governance as the practice of applying formal accountability and responsibility to assure compliance, effective use, understanding, and managing information assets.  Collaboration describes how Information Governance is applied to assure accountability and management of information assets collaboratively across the organization.

Information Governance Framework addresses the difficulties that many organization have in adopting information governance because of the collaborative environment in which it is implemented.  The collaboration starts with business direction and understanding of the importance of having a framework for IG.

Collaborative Information Governance can be recapped in the following statements:

  1. With Collaborative Information Governance – IG is business driven and business lead, this is not a technical solution
  2. With Collaborative Information Governance – stewardship is defined across business areas, IT, and Informatics / BI
  3. With Collaborative Information Governance – the framework is based upon three key disciplines (defined in the next article) – Business Information Discipline, System Information Discipline, and Information Asset Discipline all supported with a comprehensive metadata management approach
  4. With Collaborative Information Governance – can be retrofitted into existing environments, compliments existing policies, procedures, standards, and methodologies
  5. With Collaborative Information Governance – IG augments and supports all data integration, privacy, business intelligence / informatics, master and reference data management, and provides for a consistent approach to all of these
  6. With Collaborative Information Governance – there is a consistent implementation of metadata that addresses business metadata, technical metadata, and lineage metadata.

Information Governance as stated is about accountability and responsibility for governing the organization’s information assets.  I will explore the information assets more in the third article of introducing the CIGF.

For more information on the Collaborative Information Governance Framework TM approach, please reach out to me directly via email

[i] ANSI Three Schema ANSI/X3/SPARC Study Group on Data Base Management Systems: (1975), Interim Report. FDT, ACM SIGMOD bulletin. Volume 7, No. 2

[ii] Data Warehousing & the Zachman Framework

[iii] Improving Data Warehouse and Business Information Quality

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Mark Vreeland

Mark Vreeland

Mark Vreeland has over 40 years of information management experience. Recently focused on developing the Collaborative Information Governance Framework to help clients with the deployment and execution of Information Governance.

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