Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Stewardship vs Governance, is there a difference?

Early last year, Andrew White at Gartner asked the question When Information Governance and Stewardship Efforts Differ…do they?

He was dealing with the sort of grey line where two terms that almost equate to each other are used interchangeably or at least close to each other.

Information governance is something we concern ourselves a lot at Objective, so I was interested, and stewardship is something often talked about in Christian circles, so thinking about it in terms of information is also interesting.

Without just referencing online dictionaries/thesauri I would give the following definitions myself:
Information Governance
Information governance is concerned with ensuring that we govern the way our organisation creates, consumes, collects and stores the information necessary to fulfil our purpose. It has connotations of restrictions, rules, compliance and auditing. It emphasises controls, policies and risk analysis.
Information Stewardship
Information stewardship is concerned with ensuring that we derive value from the information our organisation creates, consumes, collects and stores. It has connotations of exploitation, efficiency, profiting and judging. It emphasises usefulness, ease of access and valuation.
I think you could implement either of these concepts and find you were not doing the other. Both are desirable, but their emphasis is slightly different and they may indeed be two sides of the same coin. Perhaps it’s the classic dichotomy between cost and revenue, or pessimism and optimism at work.

Update: I certainly don't think stewardship is '13 minutes a week' as this Gartner blog post suggests!