The 2013/2014 Information Governance Benchmarking Survey

The 2013/2014 Information Governance Benchmarking Survey

Cohasset Associates , ARMA International , and AIIM recently published the results of the 2013/2014 Information Governance Benchmarking Survey (download a copy here). The survey was underwritten in part by Iron Mountain .


The findings are based on responses from 1,300+ invitees including ARMA International members, AIIM members, recent attendees of Cohasset’s Managing Electronic Records (MER) Conference  , selected Iron Mountain customers , and members of the Records Management LISTSERV  .

Respondents work in many industries such as government, financial services/banking, professional services, and manufacturing. The majority (58%) work for ‘small’ organizations (up to 4,999 employees) followed by ‘medium’ organizations (5,000 – 24,999 employees), and ‘large’ organizations (25,000+ employees). Most respondents’ survey answers represented operations in the U.S. (58%) followed by global operations – excluding U.S. (27%), and Canada (12%). When asked to select (select all that apply) their job responsibilities related to information lifecycle management, the most frequently cited responsibilities were: implementing RIM technologies and tools (51%), enterprise RIM program including international, if organization is global (48%), RIM strategy definition (47%), and managing RIM file room or electronic repository (45%).


The survey questions address topics such as business commitment to RIM, retention schedules, records deletion/destruction, legal holds, information lifecycle management, and RIM Program maturity.

For some questions, the 2013 responses are compared to responses in past studies (the 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011 surveys or a sub-set thereof) to illustrate trends over time. More than 12,000 individuals have responded to the survey since its inception.


According to the authors, this 8th biennial survey provides “authoritative, up-to-date benchmarking metrics on information lifecycle practices with an emphasis on electronically stored information (ESI)”. The following Survey Highlights table from the report summarizes the results and recommends implementation actions to modernize information governance (IG). The authors encourage organizations to use the table to “formulate internal action plans and to develop communications highlighting . . . [their] program’s strengths and opportunities.”

1. Overall, IG programs are more prevalent, better-designed, and inclusive of ESI. However, many essential implementation elements are not being addressed.
  • Compare the maturity of foundational IG program components to modern practices and create a plan to address program gaps
  • Define an overarching IG implementation strategy that aligns implementation outcomes to business priorities
  • Commit to ongoing communication, training, and change management for all executives and employees
  • Use meaningful metrics to monitor, report, and improve implementation results
2. Effective IG is increasingly recognized as an imperative for corporate compliance and risk mitigation. Coordination and integration is on the rise.
  • Align the cross-functional IG steering committee with risk management, compliance, and other internal governance practices, and engage these executives in the IG implementation strategy
  • Leverage compliance and risk management relationships and processes
3. While improvements are reported in the management of some ESI, information governance must modernize or forever be losing in a game of catch-up.
  • Refine the implementation strategy to modernize the approach to lifecycle controls for ESI
  • Incorporate IG with application/system development and decommissioning
  • Apply IG practices to disaster recovery media
  • Define IG practices fore newer storage locations and information types
  • Leverage content analytics tools for management, retention, and deletion of ESI
4. Legal Hold processes are more commonplace, but over-preservation is an immense challenge to the implementation of effective information lifecycle controls, thereby contributing to future risk and complexity.
  • Coordinate with legal to terminate legal holds when the matter is resolved
  • Work with Legal, Information Technology, and the business areas to improve the precision of preservation



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts


An update on my IGP certification experience

I passed!  I’m an IGP for the next 3 years.  A list of the 56 inaugural IGPs is available here. Not sure yet what the recertification requirements will be since ARMA International is still finalizing them but see that the ‘My

Read More »
change management

Is E-Mail Obsolete?

Is E-Mail obsolete? This question seems to be everywhere these days.  Marc Zukerberg (CEO of Facebook) made this prediction in 2011, possibly based on his assumption that Facebook will ultimately replace everything.  However, some trends

Read More »
  • About the Author

  • Sheila Portrait
    Sheila Taylor
  • Sheila Taylor is a well known consultant, educator, speaker and writer with more than 25 years of experience in the information management (IM) field.

  • Recent Tweets

  • Company News

  • Search Site

  • Archives By Date

  •  Telephone


    (905) 702-8756




    Request A Call

    Case in Point

    That's A Lot of Records!
    Often the requirement for a needs assessment is driven by a specific initiative being considered or an immediate problem to be solved, rather than a general desire to establish a corporate (or organization-wide) IM program. We had a client wanting to improve its management of a specific group of critical records – thousands of member files in paper, microform and digital formats containing hundreds of unique document types.
    Assess, Plan and Schedule
    Ergo reviewed the organization’s current practices for managing those records, compared those practices to best practices, and identified risks and areas for improvement. From there we developed a strategic plan with a focus on records storage and retention. The plan identified the operational, financial and technological requirements for implementing the recommended changes, improvements and enhancements in the lifecycle management of the member records. Activities in the plan were classified as short term (next 6-12 months), medium term (next 12-24 months) and longer term (next 25+ months).
    Step by Step Success
    Implementation of the strategic plan enabled this organization to ensure its member records are properly identified, organized, accessible, protected and retained as long as necessary to meet operational and other requirements.
    Previous slide
    Next slide