What does a messy basement have to do with information management?

We’re all contemplating change these days.

In fact, a few weeks ago, at the AIIM 2020 conference, I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Michelle Rozen speak about change. At the conference, we spent three days talking about the most effective ways to harness the power of information, from creation and capture to sharing and streamlining and beyond.

Dr. Rozen, a dynamic expert on leading through change, delivered the morning keynote on the final day of the conference. She shared that there is never a “perfect” time to change. There will always be reasons why the time isn’t right, and if you don’t address current reasons, new reasons will quickly take their place.

The way to use change to drive success, said Dr. Rozen, is by embracing it. By committing to a change, one step at a time.

Define your goal

As humans, if we set a goal in a vague and undefined fashion – “I wish my basement wasn’t so messy,” for example – we are less likely to accomplish the goal. To increase our odds of success, we should clearly articulate the goal and then identify concrete steps to take in pursuit of the goal.

For our basement example, these could serve as great steps to success:

  • I want to have an organized basement that is useful for my family.
  • I will go through one box a week to determine what is still useful.
  • I will have a garage sale in June and donate anything left.
  • I will label shelving units to store the organized tubs.

The same concepts apply to digital transformation in the information sphere. For organizations, the goals of information management may remain the same — including visibility and findability — but the technologies that we can deploy in pursuit of these goals are ever-evolving.

Another word for evolve? Change.

With these new, changing technologies come new opportunities for efficiency, productivity and accuracy; accompanied by challenges, including information availability, security and compliance.

Thanks to new challenges and new opportunities, organizations can — and should! — embrace change to remain ahead of the competitive curve and deliver the best possible experience to their external and internal stakeholders. So what is the first step organizations can take?

Govern your information

I will admit that my basement is messy, because it is full of things that I tell myself, “I’ll deal with that later.” I don’t urgently need the space, so it’s out of sight, out of mind.

Surprise, surprise — later never seems to come! And I am not alone in my untidy cellar.

There was a time when it seemed like the safest bet for information governance was to just store all digital records indefinitely. Digital storage is cheap, and if an audit or other event cropped up, the records would be available.

But this digital hoarding doesn’t fly in today’s regulatory climate.

Not only does digital hoarding increase your risk (who is paying attention to the security of your old records?) it also increases your liability. If there is a breach, even more data could be exposed to a loss.

And, if your organization stores personal information longer than relevant regulations allow, you could be on the hook for compliance violation fees. At the conference, I heard a lot of information management professionals express their concern about how to manage their old records (their digital basements) as well as how to create a sustainable plan for the unending supply of new records.

So, how can your organization organize your information and ensure that you are governing it in a way that meets compliance and security requirements — both those required by your organization and those mandated by law?

Take the first step

Start with a concrete first step, said Dr. Rozen. As a first step, I suggest checking out Governance Rules as a Service (GRaaS), a records and document retention solution.

The GRaaS solution provides your organization access to the very latest regulatory rules and requirements via Iron Mountain’s Policy Center. Iron Mountain’s team of international lawyers keep up-to-date on the ever-changing global regulatory landscape, and all of that knowledge is stored in Policy Center, drastically easing the process for you.

Here’s how it works.

Hyland’s document retention software connects your solution to Policy Center, empowering you to automate your retention, archiving and destruction policies. With GRaaS you can customize your compliance plan by selecting the regulations that apply to your organization, and adding your own policies as well. GRaaS works with your on-premises or cloud-hosted solution, but if you are looking for the most proactive way to ensure your critical information is available when and where you need it, don’t look to your digital basement.

Look to the cloud.

Taking this step helps your organization easily understand relevant policies, increase document retention effectiveness and reduce risks. While Governance Rules as a Service won’t clean your basement for you, it will make complying with regulations much easier.

Tori Ballantine

Tori Ballantine

Tori Ballantine is responsible for the product marketing of the Hyland Cloud. With more than a decade in marketing and communications—and several of those years in the cloud—Tori is passionate... read more about: Tori Ballantine

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