In our last post, we talked about the challenges companies face dealing with IT sprawl. In many cases, the primary culprit driving sprawl is the differing objectives of those that need a solution (the business users) and those responsible for supporting/managing the system (IT department). Even in the case of cloud solutions where there is no internal or on premise system to support, there is still user training, security, and information governance to consider.
In this post we will present a few risks you face with information everywhere and a few steps to take to regain control.
1. Audits – This is the most obvious and potentially the most harmful. If you don’t have control over your information, you could fail an audit and face fines, penalties, and loss of customers. A client of ours (prior to working with us) went through a sales tax audit. They were required to show they had tax exemption certificates for their clients. They failed to produce 8% of the requested certificates and the government levied a fine on 8% of their sales in that particular state. It cost the company over $500,000. Now with the proper systems in place, they have 100% recall of their certificates and notifications of pending renewals and deadlines. No more fines!
2. Duplicate information – One of our clients is struggling with vendor contracts. She was recently hired to organize and manage their entire contract base which is quite large. One of the challenges they face is finding the true source of information. During the contracting and renewal process, multiple people work together to negotiate and complete the contract. Using tools like Dropbox, OneDrive and other portal solutions, they end up with multiple versions of a contract and no control over the process.
3. Security – Corporate security is important and failure to comply with confidentiality and privacy laws can be expensive. Just a quick Google search for HIPPA fines returns some pretty scary stories. Failure to protect your employees and clients is not an option today.
There are many paths to take to start controlling your information. Here are a few considerations to help you get started.
1. Start Somewhere! – Many people fall into the trap of analysis paralysis. There are too many variables to control all at once. My best advice is to pick either a high value area such as Finance or HR, or a smaller easy project to get started. The high value project will ensure the project gets done, while a smaller easier project will get a quick win and let you build from there.
2. Put someone in charge – without an internal champion that has approval and authority to act, you will face challenges throughout the project. Set clear goals with them and hold them accountable.
3. Question your current process – So many organizations are living with broken or inefficient processes. Use this as an opportunity to improve how you do things.
4. Out with the old, in with the new – use this opportunity to evaluate your retention policies and make sure you are getting rid of expired data/content.
5. Find a good partner and be a good partner – I have been in several companies lately where software implementation projects have failed. It’s not because the software doesn’t work, its because the implementation failed. It failed because the vendor and the company were not working together. Keep communication open and frequent. Make sure you deliver your tasks in a timely manner just as you expect your vendor to.
For more information, check out our Infographic: 5 Steps To Content Collaboration