A Day in the Life of an Information Leader
IGI Advisory Board Member and IG Executive
While Matthew McClelland’s office is pretty standard – family photos on his desk, diplomas on the walls, art projects made by his children that brighten up the room – the building that houses it is anything but.
“My office is on the fourth floor of the headquarters of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina in Chapel Hill,” said McClelland, Manager, Information Governance Office. “It’s a giant rhomboid, spaceship-looking building – a glass rhomboid on stilts.”
It’s in that fourth-floor office of that rather “interesting” building that McClelland, a member of the IGI Advisory Board, oversees multiple information governance programs.
“I spend a lot of time with our legal team determining what is in scope and out of scope for different legal holds and how to apply those and how to communicate those throughout the organization,” he said, explaining that a legal hold is a process that an organization uses to preserve the relevant information when litigation is reasonably anticipated.
Part of McClelland’s day is also spent working closely with information security to understand what’s going on with the company’s information in terms of managing PHI (personal health information).
“Of course, being an insurance company, we have to be very aware of that,” he said. “I also help set up different policies and procedures to manage that content from a security perspective.”
Of course, McClelland participates in any number of meetings related to the “hot button” of the day.
For example, BCBSNC is planning to implement some federated tools that will allow the company to implement its policies in a broad manner across the organization.
“So I have meetings with different groups in the business,” he said. “I have one with our operations group, one with our finance group, and one with our health policy group, to start getting their feedback on our initial roadmap for the tools, so that we can be systematically governing our structured content, which is our user-created content on SharePoint and our network drives.”
Much of McClelland’s time is spent working on the roadmap and maturity model to address the new information governance and e-discovery tools that the organization is bringing in.
“And then I have an RFP I’m working on for our offsite storage – so it’s stuff, boxes, which is probably only three percent, if that much, of our overall content,” he said. “But with the antitrust case [filed against BCBSNC, its national affiliate and other BCBS entities], we have to deal with that.”
But trying to implement programs that some BCBSNC folks don’t find value in, can raise McClelland’s stress level a bit.
“We’re constantly having to act as salesmen in terms of showing the value in what we’re trying to do, and how we’re not only trying to reduce the company’s risk, but we’re also trying to give us better insights into our content, which if used correctly, can be an actual moneymaker and revenue-driver,” he said. “But a lot of people don’t understand that and don’t see it – they have a different view of the world – so it’s takes a lot of convincing.”
However, the good days make McClelland’s job fulfilling. A good day is when he works with the people who do get it, like the people on his team, as well as some of the stakeholders and supporters within the organization, whom he affectionately calls the information underground.
“A lot of times, a good day can be something as simple as working with someone in the business to help them understand their content and what value it has and how they can actually make a difference for the organization as a whole,” he said. “For the last seven or eight years, we’ve gone from what I would call a kind of a grassroots, almost skunkworks, operation, to actually now getting corporate-approved projects in place.”
Some of the things McClelland learns during the course of a day can be quite “shocking,” including the amount of overall content being created by the company’s users.
“In one month our end users – and there are only 6,000 employees – created 542,000 new files,” he said. “So starting to get those data points is helping us in terms of our communications, to say ‘information governance is important, and we have to do it.’ Because the way that tracks out [for the year] – we’re going to be around 6.3 million files, and 7.1 terabytes of new content just on our network shares and SharePoint.”
Just the amount of content that’s being created on a year-over-year, even month-over-month or day-over-day basis is pretty staggering, McClelland said.
“So it’s a compelling argument when you say if we stay on this same trajectory, we will be at 130 terabytes in three years, and over 100 million files,” he said.
McClelland has some advice for information governance practitioners who may be dealing with the same issues.
“The key is to not give up,” he said. “You’re going to be told no quite often by your executives or governing bodies that control the money. It’s a constant sales job, and you need to be willing to not take no for an answer, and keep pushing forward. That’s how we did it. The secondary piece of advice is, find people within the organization that you can partner with that already have projects in flight that you can piggyback on and get something done.”
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