In today’s ultra-connected, data-driven world, information governance is increasingly important. And it gets more important each day, with companies pulling in massive volumes of data on a daily basis. 

This trend is going to increase significantly over the next few years, as companies continue to accelerate digital transformation efforts. Yet at the same time, many companies still lack robust information management frameworks. As a result, they’re at risk for data breaches, privacy violations, and missed opportunities.  

One strategy that can help streamline information management is the Information Governance Reference Model (IGRM). Keep reading for a deep dive into the IGRM that shows you what it’s all about and how it can help your organization. 

What Is the IGRM?

The IGRM is an information governance framework created by This is the same company that developed the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM), which is commonly used for eDiscovery management.  

As the organization explains, the IGRM is designed for corporations, industry associations, analyst firms, and other parties. It’s a tool for educating stakeholders about information governance processes, responsibilities, and practices. Further, the IGRM highlights dependencies across information stakeholders for defensible disposition and compliance purposes. created the current version of the IGRM based on feedback from multiple industry groups—including parties with expertise in discovery, records and information management (RIM), and information management. There was also a large community effort, with a series of biweekly sessions that lasted for more than 12 months. In addition, communicated with more than 350 CGOC corporate member practitioners and over 750 CGOC member practitioners. 

How to Use the IGRM Model 

The IGRM may look a bit confusing at first, but it’s actually pretty simple. In short, you can use this tool to enhance collaboration, information governance, and cross-functional processes.  

The IGRM can help define a unified governance approach to information. It points out the organization’s key stakeholders, their role in managing information, and data dependencies.  

How the IGRM Aligns With the EDRM

If you’re unfamiliar, the EDRM is a nine-step framework for eDiscovery management. It’s a conceptual model instead of a linear or waterfall system.  

Information governance is the first step in the process. The rest includes identification, preservation, collection, processing, review, analysis, production, and presentation.  

According to the EDRM, information governance is all about staying organized and mitigating risk and expenses from the creation of ESI through to the final disposition. In essence, you use the IGRM in conjunction with the EDRM. The two models complement one another.  

Who Does the IGRM Help?

The IGRM aims to increase data management collaboration for information stakeholders.  

Stakeholders may include business users who need information to do their jobs, and IT departments that need to control information management. Other key groups include legal, regulatory, and risk departments that need to preserve information over time.  

IGRM 3.0 vs. 4.0 rolled out the latest version of the IGRM in 2021. The model is now in version 4.0. Version 3.0 will remain active for a few more months and will be decommissioned on December 1, 2021.  

IGRM 3.0: A breakdown

The Middle vs. the Outer Ring

In the current version of the IGRM, the middle part contains a life cycle model. Data flows from a state of value (creating and using data) to retaining and archiving and then disposal. 

The model promotes the idea that data management is important at all stages of the information life cycle, from creation to the final disposition. In addition, the model has an outer ring with several different colors representing the different stakeholders. This includes IT, records and information management, legal, business, and privacy and security. 

Within the IGRM, data means different things across various departments. For example, for business users, data offers value because it drives profits. Conversely, privacy, security, and IT teams view data as an asset with risk. And records information management (RIM) and legal teams have a duty to hold and discover information as it flows across the organization. 

A Look at IGRM 4.0

Don’t get too comfortable using the current IGRM model because it’s about to change. Version 4.0 of the IGRM builds on the previous model. 

The most noticeable change is the addition of “privacy” in the outer ring as a key stakeholder. The addition of privacy in the IGRM aligns with the push for greater privacy and transparency among consumers and policymakers. The US presently lacks a federal privacy mandate, but a growing number of states—including California, Colorado, and Virginia—now have statewide data privacy measures in place. There is also the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU. Therefore, businesses need to start prioritizing privacy in the same way they manage security. So the addition of privacy in the IGRM is undoubtedly a big step in the right direction. 

Furthermore, the new framework has a different model for the flow of data, which you can check out here. The current version has business and IT creating and receiving data. IT and security protect information, while RIM and legal teams use and transfer information. Meanwhile, privacy and risk teams work together to retain and dispose of information. 

Is There Still Time to Issue Public Commentary?

Unfortunately, public commentary is currently closed. Stay tuned for more updates as we inch closer to the December deadline and learn more about the new version of the IGRM. 

Scratching Your Head? You Aren’t Alone

Chances are your organization’s information governance system looks a bit different from the IGRM. According to, few companies are systematically linking information value and legal obligations to their digital assets. So, this is still a relatively new concept—and something that more companies should consider exploring.  

The point is this: It’s never too late to overhaul your business’s information governance strategy. If your company lacks integration across stakeholders and teams, then it is probably worth upgrading your system—or at least looking into the process.  

In general, companies with robust information governance strategies and IGRM frameworks stand a better chance of securing data, organizing information, and controlling costs. On the flip side, those that lack strong IG policies are likely to learn the error of their ways the hard way. 

Using Venio for eDiscovery 

When it boils down to it, information governance is considerably complex. It impacts all departments and all workflows. Plus, it’s constantly evolving with the ever-changing IT landscape and the acceleration of big data. 

With all this in mind, it’s important to view information governance through a wider eDiscovery lens. Ultimately, governance is just one of the many steps that you have to go through when preparing for court—and each stage is equally as important. At the end of the day, your team has to be able to procure information quickly and efficiently. If you can’t do that, then you risk missing important court deadlines and losing your cases.  

Your best bet is to streamline eDiscovery by using a purpose-built platform like VenioOne. The VenioOne platform provides instant data visibility across multiple stakeholders and teams. This helps legal departments communicate with IT, security, privacy, RIM, and business units. VenioOne knocks down organizational silos, allowing for much tighter integration and data sharing.  

Ready to Get Started? Take Venio for a Spin

Venio can help your organization manage and share information faster, safer, and more efficiently than ever before.  

To experience the transformational power of Venio, request a demo today. And be sure to check out our comprehensive eDiscovery certification course so you can begin to master the process. 

This post was written by Justin Reynolds. Justin is a freelance writer who enjoys telling stories about how technology, science, and creativity can help workers be more productive. In his spare time, he likes seeing or playing live music, hiking, and traveling.

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