Barnaby Davies

Barnaby Davies

October 2018

Information Management

Information Management: Doing the right thing the right way

There's an important distinction between doing the right thing and doing the thing right. It doesn't matter how right you do the wrong thing; the outcome isn't going to be particularly helpful.

When I heard DocAuthority's Chief Technical Officer saying that the hardest part of fixing any problem is deciding which problem to fix, I knew this was more or less the same point being made.

What is the right thing to do? What is the right problem to fix? These are bigger and more fundamental questions than how do we do this thing or how do we fix this problem. These questions speak to strategy, direction and the resulting capabilities and benefits.

Within the arena of information management, I think there has been too much focus on how and not enough focus on what. Furthermore, when the question of how becomes protracted and beset with practical difficulties, it leads to poor outcomes.

The question of 'what' often comes to the fore when it becomes apparent in the news which organisations have failed to successfully execute a sound strategy. This sort of brutal audit is not a good way to find out whether your organisation's strategy has succeeded. Accepting the risk in the absence of a serious incident is looking like an increasingly marginal option in an era of stricter data protection controls.

While you may offer assurances to individuals that their data is being adequately safeguarded, if you do not know what personal information you have, where it is stored, who has access to it and for what purpose it is used then you cannot be compliant or secure.

Rare indeed will be the organisation that can claim universal conformance with these requirements, but shouldn't every organisation's objective be to know what personal information they hold, who has access to it and for what purpose it is used?

And that's a loaded question because saying no is tantamount to asserting that the strategic objectives of the organisation will not explicitly include compliant, secure and assured information management. Perhaps saying yes seems no less problematic as it raises the spectre of an unmanageable volume of work.

While it is relatively straight-forward to cleanse and manage your structured data in core systems (your CRM, Finance or workflow management platforms for instance), unstructured data (files and documents on file shares among other things) is a much more complex and labour-intensive issue. In most cases, your entire workforce can store whatever data they like, in whatever format and location they see fit. They can move it, transfer it to different media and send it to colleagues via email or other means. An absence of controls unmatched in any other area of enterprise.

This objective of indexing and cataloguing all unstructured data might seem a very good idea in principle but if there is no practical approach for how it might be achieved, then it is likely to be swiftly discounted as a viable option. The issue many organisations are faced with is the mounting problem of years (decades even) of ‘compliance debt’. Years of poor information management for which there has until recently been little compulsion in the organisation to address or even acknowledge.

That is why DocAuthority ensures that the job of managing your unstructured data is not just manageable and achievable, but also economic and beneficial. That's the problem we chose to fix. DocAuthority underpins compliance and security objectives but not at the expense of business benefits or prohibitive resource costs.

In the years to come organisations will have the opportunity to reflect on the strategies they adopted and how successful they were. DocAuthority is committed to ensuring that organisations have the tools necessary to implement the right strategy when it comes to unstructured data. We're helping customers gain unparalleled insights into unstructured data as well as creating significant capabilities and benefits for those organisations.

If you are interested in leading edge strategies for your organisation's management of unstructured data and you would like to know more about how DocAuthority can help, please get in touch with the team.

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