Growing amounts of information means that many organisations are struggling to manage information in ways that contribute to business efficiency, growth, and compliance. Digitalisation means that physical filing cabinets may have disappeared; however, in many cases, these relics have simply been replaced with digital file shares that replicate legacy information management practices. Organisations stand to benefit significantly by replacing these practices with modern information management approaches.
If the events of the past few years have taught business leaders anything, it's that organisations must be prepared to expect the unexpected. However, this is made more difficult when organisations don't have a streamlined and highly efficient way to manage information. When documents are stuck in people's email inboxes, lost in overly complex file shares, or simply saved to individuals' desktops, organisations cannot apply effective information governance principles. This means staff members can't work efficiently, effectively, or collaboratively, which will eventually hinder business growth. It can also create security issues, creating the potential for damaging data breaches to occur.
When organisations cannot manage their information effectively, they face numerous negative outcomes, such as:
- the inability to deliver efficient customer service because employees cannot immediately access relevant information
- wasted time as employees try to find the latest version of a document or recreate documents because they couldn't find the originals
- version control issues as employees create multiple versions of mission-critical documents such as contracts
- increased data breach risk as workers potentially expose sensitive information to unauthorised users.
While the risk of these outcomes can be enough to convince an organisation that it must update its information management approach, it's essential to move deliberately and strategically rather than be swayed by current trends.
Too often, organisations succumb to technology trends, implementing the latest content management solutions or file share approaches without critically examining their information management structure and understanding how to transform effectively. This invariably results in new systems that carry the same issues as legacy systems, which means the business has failed to achieve a strong return on investment. This can be overcome with a more strategic approach.
Organisations need a true understanding of their processes and practices so they can choose new technology that pushes the organisation towards a more intelligent approach to information management. Without this, they may merely inherit the difficulties that come with legacy approaches.
With the rise of remote and hybrid working, having an established information management approach is more important than ever. The increase in information accessed remotely at all times of the day means that strong protocols must be enforced to maintain, structure, and capture key information across the business without exacerbating digital complexities.
Using email as a default management system is not the answer. Doing so creates struggles with network sharing, difficulty integrating projects, the inability to support remote working models and unnecessary manual work.
Finding the correct system can lead to increased automation of document management, governance, and compliance. Organisations will be able to standardise documents across the business, improve digital workflows, eliminate data silos, improve access for remote workers, and increase information security.
Organisations should never underestimate the importance of partners across the transformation process. When a business can find the right information management system, the increased efficiency and productivity they can achieve is well worth the effort of establishing the program. In addition, a tailored information management program also lets organisations create a foundation for future development in this area.
Given that information is power, organisations that empower their workers to access the right information, instantly, bolstered by strong governance policies, will position themselves positively for growth.