Information as an asset: influencing at the highest level

Information Governance needs to be owned at the top and cascaded down effectively.

In 1995 a committee chaired by Dr Robert Hawley (who was then the CEO of Nuclear Electric), published a set of guidelines for boards of directors urging them to focus on information as an asset at board level.

On Valentine’s Day 2019 a collaboration between CILIP,  KPMG, CIO Connect and IK Springboard led to the publication of an updated version of the 1995 report (which the project team described as “rediscovered gold”).

Speaking at the launch of the updated report (Information as an Asset: Today's Board agenda), senior managers from the NHS, Network Rail, and Lloyds of London spoke about the challenges – and successes – of managing information across large multisite and global organisations to yield real-time information for decision making.  Each of the speakers showed how important the effective management of information and data were to their organisation’s strategy. 

Today’s Board agenda

The key messages for boards of directors:

  • Information is of critical importance to businesses today and must be managed at the highest level in the organisation
  • Well managed information assets have the potential to deliver value, innovation and opportunity for any organisations
  • Sound information governance is necessary to minimise financial and bad PR risk to the organisation

Board checklist

The report also features a set of questions that will resonate with boards of directors by focusing both on the potential devastating risks of poor information management as well as the business benefits of getting it right. For risk-averse organisations, these questions should facilitate important and relevant discussions and planning:

Are you and your Board confident that your organisation could never:

  • Risk massive fines and corporate embarrassment from information misuse?
  • Fall behind competitors who manage and exploit information more successfully than you?
  • Miss opportunities created through information to develop your business in new directions?

Are you and your board entirely satisfied that:

  • An information strategy supporting organisational strategy is in place?
  • The organisation culture and people processes are matched to the information strategy?

In short is the Board regularly assessing performance as an information driven organisation and acting on findings?

What happens next?

  • Information professionals should do their best to get this latest report into the hands of board-level executives in their organisations
  • Information professionals should consider creating organisation-specific case studies/versions of the Board checklist for your organisation
  • Information professionals might want to become involved with IK SpringBoard – a project designed to build on the findings of the updated report (contact )
Download the new report (and the original Hawley Report) from the Cilip website