Achieve Information Governance

Combat Content Sprawl, Achieve Information Governance

Nicole Miller Marketing

Back in October, we published an article about “in-place records management” which discussed its relevance and potential fit for your organization.  With the changes we’ve seen in the market over the past year, I’d like to spend a little time expanding on the concept – and sharing some thoughts on why now is a good time to evaluate your long-term information governance needs.

Explosive Information Growth Creates Potential Chaos in Information Governance

Let me start by stating the obvious: the volume of information, structured and unstructured, is growing at a seemingly uncontrollable pace.  While having vast amounts of information is good – and valuable – it also presents a tremendous risk. 

The value of having information is somewhat obvious too:  it can provide for better customer service, marketing, support, and actionable business intelligence.  It can also provide for a single source of truth (provided you have data and information governance policies in place).

The risk of having information isn’t always so obvious.  Content sprawl, balancing accessibility with security, discovery risk, and cost inefficiencies are all risks associated with having too much information – or having ungoverned information.  Imagine, if you will, that you’re a general counsel of a large enterprise and have been served with discovery requests related to an actual or pending lawsuit.  If you’re not managing your information effectively, both retention AND disposition, this could be a nightmare.  Can you find the information?  Do you know what you’ll find?  Should you even have this information based on your retention schedules?  I’d hate to be in that situation.  While failure to manage your information is an option, it can be a costly option.

And you want to know something? This information chaos isn’t going away. Data and content volumes are only growing. We can’t wish it away. The question is, “when will you create structure out of the chaos?”

Now that we’ve discussed the chaos, let’s look at some secular trends that increase the urgency to address it now.

First, the cloud is a real thing.  Enterprises – public and private – have been migrating to cloud-based solutions and will continue to do so.  Not only does it support the democratization of information, but it also lowers your total cost of ownership and improves your business agility.  COVID-19 only exacerbated the need and – from our perspective – is accelerating that migration effort.  Working from home, from the office, from wherever – you need ubiquitous access to your information.

Second, and somewhat related, many organizations are looking to drive unnecessary costs out of their IT spend while maintaining or improving service levels. Economic uncertainty and the need to improve the efficacy of your information strategy has highlighted the fact that there is an increasing financial and organizational cost of maintaining legacy content management systems.  We’re seeing clients, from the private and public sectors, looking to migrate to Microsoft 365 (and off of their legacy systems) in order to improve their overall service levels and compliance posture.

Finally, governmental privacy and compliance regulations are increasingly pervasive.  It doesn’t really matter which political party is in office; there will likely be increased pressure from governments worldwide to improve how we all handle our constituents’ information.

Centralized Management of Decentralized Content

How many of you have consolidated all your important content into one repository? Are you certain that all of you content resides in that one repository?  One of the problems we see – and help solve every day – is that organizations struggle to gain control of information across multiple repositories and platforms.  While there is the intent to store everything in one place, humans and business processes aren’t infallible. 

We’ve got clients that are managing their critical documents in any number of combinations – on-premises, in the cloud, hybrid environments, Microsoft 365, Documentum, FileNet, Box, SharePoint, good ol’ file shares, and – yes – warehouses full of boxes.  As shared in the blog I mentioned at the beginning of this article, in-place records management allows you to manage – from a central web interface – information no matter where it resides.

Why does this matter?  Why do I think it’s better for most organizations?  It’s simple: management of information, wherever it happens to reside, improves the likelihood of successful application of your information governance policies and reduced total cost of ownership.  Because we leverage your existing infrastructure and because we can facilitate your migration to a modern platform, we know you can save money and improve your effectiveness.  But most importantly, having an in-place information management strategy means you don’t have to materially change your business processes in order to have effective information governance. 

To learn more about how to achieve information governance amidst information chaos, what an on-demand webinar: New Year, New Information Governance.