A Tailor-Made Information Management Maturity Model for the European Central Bank (ECB): Development and Application

A Tailor-Made Information Management Maturity Model for the European Central Bank (ECB): Development and Application

Beatriz Garcia Garrido (European Central Bank, Germany) and Paloma Beneito Arias (European Central Bank, Germany)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 33
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7080-6.ch001


In 2011, the European Central Bank (ECB) developed a customized information management maturity model that was subsequently applied to assess the success of the implementation of the organizational policies, processes, and technologies supporting the information management function and to identify and priorities future activities. This chapter provides an overview of the model's objectives, design process, and principles and a comparison of the sources that were used to support its design. In addition, it provides a detailed description of the model's structure, including goals, key process areas and key practices, common features, and maturity levels. Furthermore, the chapter describes the process and the tools that the authors designed to support the maturity assessment and the results obtained during the first two applications of the model.
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The ECB is an official European Union (EU) institution and the central bank of the 19 EU countries which have adopted the euro. With approximately 3400 staff members, its mission is to serve the people of Europe by safeguarding the value of the euro and maintaining price stability. The ECB, in close cooperation with the national central banks and national supervisory authorities of the Euro Area, defines and implements monetary policy for the euro area and carries out banking supervision as well as a number of other tasks.

In 2011, the Information Governance Division (IGO) decided to investigate how to support the institution to obtain a reliable and unbiased image of how successful it had been in its efforts to manage information systematically, effectively, and efficiently and to identify and prioritize actions needed for future improvements. After some discussions, IGO management opted to use a maturity model as a tool commonly applied to assess the as-is situation, to derive and prioritize improvement measures, and to control progress in organisations (Iversen, Nielsen, & Nørbjerg, 1999).

The timing was perfect: While still a relatively young organisation, established by the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1998, the ECB had a solid information management policy in place, which had been originally introduced in 2001 and had evolved with the years to cover all aspects of the information management lifecycle. The IGO division was composed of four teams of highly motivated and talented information professionals, including archivists, records managers, information technology experts, and librarians. In 2005 the ECB had also successfully implemented an Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRMS), known in-house as DARWIN, which, following the discontinuation of the use of network drives, had become the only accepted, widely used, and very valued repository for unstructured information. The general perception among information management professionals at the ECB was that information was managed well. A solid policy and the necessary procedures and guidelines were in place, and their application was monitored on a regular basis. As a result, recordkeeping practices were clearly improving: documents were better named and categorized; metadata was of higher quality; information was generally well classified and protected; records, including e-mails, were being captured; and retention would soon be automatically applied to digital information in DARWIN. The teams were already thinking about the long-term preservation of digital information and very committed to satisfying compliance with transparency and data privacy requirements.

Notwithstanding, it was also clear that much remained to be done, although it was less obvious how to proceed to identify gaps and shortcomings and to prioritise the actions required to guarantee a constant improvement. This all led to the decision to apply a maturity model.

Maturity models are business tools that support the measurement of the current state of a particular discipline within an organization and guide the organization to implement continuous improvement in that field. Maturity models have become an important topic in management research and are defined as conceptual multistage models that describe typical patterns in the development of organizational capabilities (Waring, 2015). They are frequently applied in organizations to assess the current state of development against some notional ‘best state’ and then to determine improvement measures to reach the desired best state (Poppelbuß et al., 2011). While they originate from the field of software development, they have evolved into other areas of business and their use in government, commerce and e-business are acknowledged worldwide (Scott, 2007).

This chapter explains why the ECB decided to measure its information management maturity, why it opted to design a tailor-made maturity model instead of applying an existing one, what objectives were defined, and how the model came to be. In addition, the chapter describes how the resulting model was structured and what principles were applied to its design. Furthermore, the chapter examines the assessment principles and tools that were employed upon the finalization of the model to assess the ECB’s information management maturity and summarizes some of the identified challenges and lessons learned.

In terms of timeline, following the literature review and the development of the ECB´s maturity model, which took over one year, IGO completed the first maturity assessment in 2013, a second in 2016 and has planned to undertake a third in 2020 (Figure 1).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Goal: A defined organizational end result based on information management best practices as defined by international standards. It defines the scope, boundaries, and intent of a set of key process areas.

Enterprise Information Management Strategy: A road map of activities to be performed during a period of three years that contribute to strengthen staff engagement, enhance efficiency of business processes, and increase insights from information through managing and protecting all information assets in an integrated and compliant manner.

Eurosystem: The Eurosystem comprises the ECB and the national central banks of those countries that have adopted the euro.

Information Management: Promotes and supports the systematic, effective, and efficient creation, use, management, and retrieval of information and fosters cooperation. Information management allows the ECB to meet its accountability, transparency, and legal obligations; to support informed decision making; and to preserve and ensure secure access to information for the benefit of present and future generations.

Maturity Model: Set of structured levels describing how well the information and records management policies, practices, and processes of an organization have been implemented and whether they produce the required outcomes. It defines the characteristics of information management at different levels of maturity, allowing for staged progress. It can be used to assess an organization’s performance against external benchmarks, as an aid to understanding where an organization stands, and as a road map for future improvements.

Common Features: Attributes according to which key practices can be grouped to provide a better understanding of how a specific maturity level has been attained.

Digital Transformation: An organizational initiative that aims at improving efficiency through the development of user capabilities that leverage new technologies for the automation of business processes and the integration of information assets to facilitate Agile working, collaboration, and staff engagement and that contribute to the ECB business objectives.

Key Practices: Describe the way information is managed at the ECB for each key process area. They are indicators of the level of maturity in achieving the defined goals.

Assessment Questionnaire: A tool to perform the maturity assessment at the ECB that consists of a list of questions on the presence of the relevant key practices areas in each maturity level.

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