Discover unknown value

Discover Unknown Value: A Q&A with InfoDNA Solutions

Everteam and InfoDNA Solutions recently announced a partnership that will see the two companies support enterprises as they work to get a handle on their information assets.

We thought it would be good to introduce our newest partner and give you a look into their solutions and perspective on information management.

1.Tell us the story behind your name “InfoDNA.” What are your areas of specialization?

When the fundamental and distinctive characteristics or qualities of information are not aligned with the business process, there will be a gap in the ability to manage the information lifecycle; we call this an information DNA challenge.

The name InfoDNA was born from realizing that information management challenges are common regardless of the business use cases. Focusing on the source instead of the symptoms of the problem (somewhat like human DNA) is the only way to manage information properly. It is imperative to understand the characteristics of the issues and analyze the history of the information’s origin to compile a correct information structure framework.

Our definition of Information DNA includes the following components:

  • Taxonomy
    • The document type that fits in a functional area
    • The metadata that identifies the document type
    • The information structure that holds the document type
  • Retention Schedule
    • The classification of the document type
  • Security Model
    • The access control to this document type
  • Disposition
    • The disposition criteria specified for the document type

InfoDNA is the information management company that specializes in content classification. Our services and solutions are focused on creating an information management framework, organizational accountability and governance, optimized user experience, change management, information life-cycle and master data services.

  • Content Risk Assessment – Identify Sensitive Information
  • Content Landscape Assessment
  • Information Management Framework Assessment
  • File plan and Taxonomy Services
  • Information Management Governance Program and Compliance Assessment
  • Document Classification Services

All together this process …

…results in a high adoption rate in the enterprise.

  • Content Migration Services
  • IT Services such as Documentum and Captiva Platform Management

2. Gungor recently spoke about the challenges of Information Management and “Why the InfoDNATM approach is the right one.” What brought organizations to this challenging point? Were they not paying attention, playing with new “toys” without a plan, not realizing the wealth of information they were capturing?

Many IT organizations believe in the approach that a tool/solution could be purchased to fix business problems. This approach is like building a house without architectural plans or a proper foundation. Every business is unique, and its business processes, company culture, and existing regulations its determine its requirements. Because of this approach, IT organizations cannot create an information structure framework that aligns with true use cases of information lifecycle without the involvement of lines of business.

Many organizations deal with this challenge by trying to change the information’s DNA in the information lifecycle phases. In other words, technical efficiency handles the issue at the expense of business process and information lifecycle alignment. The number of levels/document types added by functional groups to accommodate their business needs within the enterprise Taxonomy make this problem easy to spot in the unstructured information space. It is not a coincidence that many organizations do not have an automated retention policy process and proper records management. Companies cannot identify what a company record is, what is high business value content, and what is Redundant, Obsolete and Trivial (ROT). You must align information lifecycle and business use cases to solve this conundrum.

3. What are you seeing as primary reasons companies aren’t keeping better track of their content/information? What tactics should they implement for success?

In our opinion, the primary reasons companies do not keep better track of their content is because of technical debt issue. Technical debt is a concept that reflects the omission of steps or shortcuts when coding or managing a project instead of applying the best overall solution from the beginning. Basically, what’s the cost tomorrow of a shortcut from yesterday? Each time you make a sub-optimal technology decision, you’re incurring debt for future re-engineering and refactoring of the cost of that decision.

Technical debt can occur due to premature adoption of technology, inadequate integration, tight code coupling, misunderstood implications of middleware dependency, poor design, poor architecture and engineering, and not taking into account cybersecurity and UX from the beginning of the project.

Tracking of anything is expensive; however, once companies understand the magnitude of the savings and benefits they can reap by properly managing their content, they can easily justify the cost required to act. The result is a system that finds the right information quickly and will unlock the value of business information, improve business processes, and greatly reduce cost.

To successfully track an organization’s content/information they need to have a solid information management foundation, which includes:

  • Optimizing the information management framework
  • Creating a normalized taxonomy
  • Creating a classification schema aligned with the business process
  • Understanding the Content Landscape, which includes removal of duplicate information (typically 40% of the data)
  • Processing documents – cluster, classify, and attribute so that you can ingest documents with their metadata into a repository aligned with the taxonomy
  • Developing and enforcing an Information Management Governance Program

4. Many organizations are adopting cloud services for storing and working with content, but they aren’t taking the bigger picture of information management, compliance, governance when they move forward. What do you tell clients who need guidance and advice before they do this? And after it’s already done?

To stay competitive and reap the benefits that cloud offers, it is hard to argue against moving to the Cloud. We encourage clients taking such initiatives to look closely at their requirements. There are many advantages to adopting the cloud for hosting information, such as the information is available anytime, anywhere, on any device; reduced cost and complexity; elastic storage capacity; reduced shelfware (software licenses not put to use); leverage the latest technologies, and much more. However, we recommend our clients spend some time and effort to understand the risks and challenges of Information Management and Governance when it comes to moving their information to the cloud. Some of the issues that should be understood are:

Privacy Requirements – Make sure that the provider honors the obligations of privacy laws (e.g., around PII, PCI, PHI, etc.) in required jurisdictions. Be aware of the physical location of your information and keep your legal team in the loop in the entire process of engagement.

Information Availability – Work with the provider to understand their business continuity plans for their customers and make sure it works for them. Find out how they handled an adverse event for other customers in the past.

Retention and Disposition – Does the provider adequately manage metadata and records, enabling organizations to apply their records management processes? What is the built-in support for managing retention and disposition of records? Does it pave the way for interoperability with your choice of a Records Management System and Retention Policy Services?

E-discovery and Audit – How does the provider support for e-Discovery? If they have a platform for e-Discovery, make sure it is adequate for your organization’s requirements and is cost effective. If the provider does not provide e-Discovery, work with them to understand whether the infrastructure supports interfacing with the e-Discovery software of your choice. The e-Discovery process might demand high computing requirements when subject to complex search use cases. Try to understand the cost implications of surges during such events. What kind of support does the provider have in the event of an audit requirement?

Portability – If you need to move records/information from one cloud provider to another, or your in-house data center, does the provider have the capabilities to export data? What kinds of standards do they support? Understand the comprehensiveness of the export process to support metadata requirements, costs, and timeframes.

Hybrid – A global company needs to manage data that is local to a country or manage data that is highly confidential; does the provider support such cases with a Hybrid solution where on-premises and the cloud solution are well integrated?

5. What is your process for working with a new client? How do you get started understanding their situation? (key steps or roadmaps)

  • Perform a Current State Assessment
  • Identify Pain Points
  • Determine Future State Definition
    • Maturity Level (Business Emblement, Technology, Standards, etc.)
  • Perform a Gap Analysis
    • Current to Future State Deficiencies
  • Develop a Blueprint (Information and Technical Architecture) to rectify the deficiencies
  • Create an Implementation Plan
  • Provide Implementation Services
  • Provide Post Implementation Services

6. The Fun Stuff:

You can really get to know a company when you ask simple questions that carry big meaning. This is what we asked InfoDNA Solutions:

If you had to write a book about information management and give it a silly title, what would you call it?

“Information Management Chaos – The Business Time Bomb”

If you only had three words for an elevator pitch, what would they be?

“Discover Unknown Value”