April 30, 2020

Governing Information Overload

12 minute read

INFORMATION OVERLOAD!!!  We created it.  We are victims of it.  We are perpetuating it.   

“Information is everything, is it not?” – H.S. Blofeld. 

The world runs on information.  The speed at which information is made available is almost instantaneous.  While valuable information is created and disseminated, useless and misleading information is being generated.  This means it is important for organizations to diligently manage their content in a manner that reveals the good and removes or archives the bad. 

The state of information governance in most organizations is still a fragmented web of individual initiatives focused on a variety of business challenges.  Today, some of the more prevalent initiatives focus on privacy and/or security.  At the same time, the need for compliance, security, and privacy has never been higher. 

This is the first of a four-part series that will discuss the state of information governance and provide some pragmatic recommendations to help organizations get their information governance initiatives established as an effective program. This includes the following critical success factors: 

  • Identify all information in the enterprise and make dark data a thing of the past 
  • Create an achievable and sustainable taxonomy/classification approach 
  • Leverage leadingbut not leading-edge, technologies to automate information governance 
  • Establish an information governance organization that owns the discovery, organization, managementcompliance, and disposition of information across the enterprise. 

Governing Information overload blog - magnifying glass

Let’s start with identification.  Information lives everywhere.  It’s in desks and warehouses.  Its in file rooms and field offices.  Iton servers, desktops, and laptops.  Its on phones, tablets, and thumb drives.  Its in the cloud (and often many clouds).  Most of the time, much of this information is not known or easily accessible to the average user.  The unknown nature of this information has the potential to create great risk and cost to the enterprise.  It is not uncommon to fine terabytes and even petabytes of orphaned information in shared drives which were abandoned by terminated employeesdivested business units, re-organizations, or canceled projects.  There is also a lot of information that is not stored in the proper location.  When it is physical information, it is generally considered lost and may need to be recreated at a cost.  When it is electronic information, many additional problems arise such as: security problems, privacy problems, and usage problems. 

The top priority should be to create a search mission for all this dark data.  This includes building an information catalog with visibility of the various locations, identification of the general nature of the information, determining the quality of the information, and weeding out the garbage.  Even the most basic of these activities usually results in an overwhelming project, which ultimately causes these activities to die an early death.  Part of the reason is due to the massive amounts of information found that requires identification, and the other part is not being able to act on even the simplest activities, such as removing the trash. Now, enter the proper use of technology to help automate much of the discovery of electronic information. Establishing an information governance organization with the ability to start making decisions about discovered content is a necessary ingredient.  Otherwise, the organization remains reactionary to situations involving discovery of information.  

On the physical information management side, the process is slightly different.  Identifying and cataloging physical information is a more manual activity that requires time, but it is still dependent on the same information governance organization to act.  To digitize or not digitize, that is the question, but what is the plan? 

The next post will explore the notion of establishing a simple, but useful taxonomy/classification scheme that also leverages the proper use of technology, but more on that next time. 

For more information on how Gimmal can help you manage your information overload, contact a representative here!

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