“The Volume of stuff we are trying to manage is spinning out of control.”
– Information Managers across the World
Not one organization is creating less information this year than it did last year. As this data keeps compounding, most companies don’t have the right processes or infrastructure in place to properly manage it. Instead of a working repository for your digital records, the result is actually a digital landfill.
At AIIM, we conduct a lot of original research and, in a recent study, we found that on average:
- 2% of information is in holding (for legal discovery, etc.).
- 5% needs to stay within regulatory requirements.
- 25% is considered working files.
- 68% is JUNK!
That is a big number and hard to swallow for most. Where do you even begin to get rid of unnecessary information? The first step is to recognize that you have a problem, then you can work towards correcting it.
To help you start that process, I have identified five of the biggest challenges organizations face with their information.
# 1 – It Isn’t (All) Digital
The paperless office is far from reality for the majority of businesses. Paper is still a very real part of our everyday lives, and we must find a way to manage it properly while living in the hybrid world of paper and digital.
#2 – A Lot of It Is Digital
One of the main advantages of digital vs. paper documents is the ease of collaboration. However, that collaboration also makes it easy to create version control concerns and/or “zombie” documents. If four people are making changes to a single report, that one document can quickly become a dozen versions on different devices. Zombie files are then created when those various documents are printed and re-scanned for signatures or edits, creating both clutter and confusion.
#3 – Access to Information Anywhere, Anytime, on Any Device
We don’t just work 9 to 5 in an office anymore. Increasingly, the workforce is in coffee shops, airplanes or remote offices, and they’re working on mobile devices. The challenge then to is to create an environment where the needed documents are accessible anytime, anywhere, from any device, while maintaining the necessary security.
#4 – The Business of the Business
I spoke about this topic in my previous post but, essentially, to maintain information health, you need buy-in from management and all of your team members. Scare tactics don’t work. The best approach is to make information accessible to all relevant individuals as quickly as possible, so they can make better decisions that can contribute to the success of the organization.
#5 – Different Organizations Have Different Needs
For years, we’ve been telling people to consolidate their information into one master system for a single source of truth. While compelling, this idea now does not seem realistic or even like the best approach. That’s because every organization is at a different stage of the information management journey, and there is no right way to travel. However, managing the information where it is rather than trying to merge it all into one system is the best way to move forward.
So how do you get value from your information?
By taking control of your information in order to produce significant results for your bottom line, either through increased revenue or reduced costs. You need to bridge the silos and get a holistic view of your information. Check across all of your systems (especially line of business systems) and process silos, and be sure to include both paper and electronic documents. Then manage the information appropriately throughout its entire lifecycle.
The keys to better information management start here:
- Understand compliance issues and position them as drivers of business value, not as consequences.
- Digitize everything that moves and automate wherever possible.
- Reduce costs and risks by only keeping what you need, and identifying what you don’t.
Information management has to support the business of the business and everyone needs to be on board within the organization for it to be successful.
About the Author: Jesse Wilkins, CIP, CRM, IGP, is the Director, Research & Development for AIIM International. He has worked in the information management industry for 20 years as an end user, vendor, consultant and trainer.