The Finance Foundation
Reinventing capitalism for all
President of the Finance Foundation

A washing machine, a global bank, a health system, Twitter! They all need information governance and Big Data.


A washing machine will very soon be able to communicate with the garments it washes. Quality, water degrees, size, weight, etc. That is absurd and useless. Maybe not. But it certainly is almost true. Or it will be true in a bit of time. It is part of data technology and results in Big Data.
Last year 1.8 zetabytes of data were produced worldwide. 1 zetabyte is equivalent to That is 1 and 21 zeros.
Mankind generated around gigabytes of data from the beginning of recorded history to 2003.
In 2011 alone, the same volume of data was amassed every 48 hours. Those numbers are mind-boggling.
We are overwhelmed by information which has become the first global service industry.
Suddenly, each one of us is a source of information. The global civilisation we live in, is almost entirely based on information. When one looks at the numbers above, one knows that they are hardly measurable. Billions or trillions of pieces concerning individuals, companies, financial firms, health care systems, pension funds, money, exchanges, defence systems. The list could go on, and on, and on. The accumulation of that amount of facts is only usable with an appropriate and gigantic electronic system. What system? The answer seems to be given within the broad appellation of Big Data.
Here is an example. Each of the 10 global banks, among them JP Morgan, UBS, HSBC etc., have accumulated,  up to 700 billion of those documents.
The British health care system, NHS, and the French social security and pension system have billions upon billions of documents, facts, numbers concerning the French and British citizenry. All of them need simplification and quick accessibility.
And how to analyse it, and how to govern? How to make good use of it and make profit or a saving out of it?           
The Finance Foundation is analysing two sides of this mega issue.  One with Pierre  van Beneden who invented the concept of governance of information with his company RSD (member of the Finance Foundation)  and the other one with professors Joseph Stiglitz and  Michael Spence, NOBEL laureates who started to study of the economics of information:
‘In the field of economics, writes, Mr. Stiglitz, perhaps the most important break with the past—one that leaves open huge areas for future work—lies in the economics of information. It is now recognized that information is imperfect, obtaining information can be costly, there are important asymmetries of information, and the extent of information asymmetries is affected by actions of firms and individuals. This recognition deeply affects the understanding of wisdom inherited from the past, such as the fundamental welfare theorem and some of the basic characterization of a market economy, and provides explanations of economic and social phenomena that otherwise would be hard to understand.’
Pierre Van Beneden is the Chief Executive Officer of the Swiss company RSD, and of an information governance solution called Glass. 
His teams invented an ingenious system and they go into millions, hundreds of millions, even billions of pieces of information whatever their format (paper or digital) wherever they resides archives, warehouses…. Inaccessible and unknown to the management. Therefore not used, and not usable and making no money, and not helping the company to succeed.  RSD Glass is able to analyse, identify and classify  information that allow companies to be compliant with laws, regulations and other policies. And it keeps track record of these information all along their lifecycle in the company. A real opportunity to eliminate documents that are not useful, and makes the rest accessible at any time.
Pierre and RSD make information governance a reality :  "At RSD, we believe the information governance challenge facing the enterprise today is of strategic significance.  Those who understand, plan, and execute to address this challenge will have a competitive advantage, even in extremely tough economic conditions. It helps to reduce costs of information management, to mitigate risk on non-compliance in case of litigation, and of course to make the value of information available to all "
There are many more sectors which need that kind of service. In fact, with what the tech giants- Google, Facebook, Twitter and many more- provide us with, the whole world needs such a system.
RSD is, of course, not alone in the field. IBM, HP, and about everybody who is somebody in technology wants to get in.


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