It's time to govern information assets

What are you waiting for? Govern Your Information Assets!

Life used to be simple in the “old days.” Most corporate content used to be paper-based. We knew “roughly” what we had (which was not much 😊). We also knew where it was… a folder somewhere on somebody’s desk, in some file cabinet, or at an on-site or off-site file room.

The march towards digitalization of business in the past two decades has yielded tremendous benefits for organizations. The tools we have used to empower this march (business systems, ERP, Office, workflow, ECM, email, social media, etc.) have resulted in an uncontrolled explosion in the volume of corporate content (not to mention other v-words like variety, velocity, virality, value, etc.):

  • Content (electronic) is scattered across various systems, physical locations, platforms, and jurisdictions
  • Sometimes, content is stored in a manner that makes it unclear as to who owns it and who controls it during its long lifecycle

Let us take for example content stored in a shared drive space that has been assigned to a project or an employee. What should happen to that content when the project ends or when the employee leaves? Who should own it at that point, who should control it, and above all, who in the organization will have insight about the information locked in that content?

For a long time, corporate leaders (business, IT, legal, operations, etc.) have paid insufficient attention to the need to maintain awareness and governance over what content they have. They don’t know where that content is located, what valuable information is contained within it, what is it costing them to keep, and what can be erased in a legally defensible manner.

Benefits File Digitization

With the ongoing fundamental transformation of business models (…aaS) and the equally radical changes in IT infrastructures (cloud migration), there is an increasing keenness and urgency to get that level of insight:

  • Business wants to know this to improve its processes, extract maximum value and improve the bottom line
  • IT wants to get rid of unwanted content to decommission legacy applications and redundant storage, and in the process, reduce operational costs
  • Legal wants to minimize risks, optimize its ability to respond to litigation and reduce legal costs

Dr. Peter Drucker once said (HBR 1988) that “Information is data endowed with relevance and purpose.” The terms “relevance” and “purpose” point to an emerging notion in the marketplace that asserts that corporate information represents Information Assets that contribute to the well-being, valuation and bottom line of corporations. Consequently, the organization needs to govern (properly manage and look after) their assets.

The need to govern corporate information is real and looming – it is also inescapable. Organizations need to take proactive steps to:

  • Establish corporate Information Governance strategies
  • Setup Information Governance programs to execute on these strategies
  • Implement technological solutions to power these Information Governance programs and tackle specific governance (lack of) related problems that exist within the organization

In my next post, I will write about the application of File Analytics solutions (IG) to content located in file shares:

  • Significant amounts of corporate content (can be > 40%) are scattered across file shares that are uncontrolled and ungoverned (high cost, high risk, loss of value)
  • File Analytics solutions can help with risk mitigation, the establishment and enforcement of information governance policies, and the optimization of the IT infrastructure

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