Information Governance, Archiving, Records Management, e-Discovery, and Compliance
The clamor around big data’s applications and how best to tame them was one of the key themes which emerged at this year’s BIO International Convention, held in Chicago. Hosted by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the event drew 13,594 industry leaders from 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and 62 countries. I was there and fortunate to have the opportunity to gain first-hand insight into the industry’s challenges and opportunities, as well as the strategies and tactics that forward thinking companies are utilizing to extract value from Big Data and improve the therapeutic options of patients.
The volume of data generated by all aspects of life sciences is staggering. Estimated to be around 150 exabytes in 2011, this almost inconceivable aggregate of information has been increasing at a rate of 1.2-2.4 exabytes per year. To put this in context, one estimate holds that all words ever spoken by human beings could be stored in five exabytes of data. And just how much is an Exabyte? An exabyte is 10^18 bytes, or one million terabytes. Truly staggering!
The incredible vastness of this information presents an unprecedented set of opportunities for the biopharma enterprise, particularly around personalized medicine and companion diagnostics. It also presents some stiff challenges regarding information governance: All this data must be captured, curated, stored, searched, shared, transferred, analyzed, and visualized while maintaining 21 CFR Part 11 compliance.
The scene at BIO was set in the first day’s Personalized Medicine and Diagnostics Forum. One of the sessions, Big Problems Need Big Solutions–Fixing the Health Care System Using Big Data, addressed the potential value biopharmaceutical companies could realize through exploring the databases of payers, hospital groups, and CROs, in addition to their own datasets. An integration of these datasets would allow researchers to determine which patients will benefit from certain drugs and which could experience side effects. It would also assist in identifying patterns and causality in complex diseases, potentially feeding back into the drug development process.
How might an integration, synthesis, and governance of data such as this be achieved?
OpenText specializes in providing Enterprise Information Management (EIM) solutions that can help life sciences organizations deal with the challenges of Big Data. From Electronic Lab Notebooks and LIMS to FDA filings, OpenText Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences solutions ensure compliance with federal regulations for data governance while helping solve critical process challenges.
What about the future? New ways of delivering solutions are being explored. Is innovation in the cloud the answer – might it be the new “space” to accelerate scientific discovery and development? Subsequent sessions at BIO delved into this question and others, exploring the trends, challenges, and best practices of drug development in the cloud as it relates to ecosystem partnerships, data analytics, and compliance.
As we work to implement current capabilities and aim toward future standards-based collaboration, the conclusion is clear–collaboration across biopharma, technology providers, and regulatory agencies will be essential to develop the standards, technology, and approaches necessary to critically evaluate data and generate useful information for improved health outcomes in patients. The taming of Big Data is not a simple task for Life Sciences, but the innovation that can flow from that is well worth the effort! Now is the time to get on board and explore the possibilities.
- Tags: compliance, document controllers, ecm, eim, engineering, engineering document management, enterprise content management, file sharing, information governance, managed file transfer, mft, project transmittal information, risk, security, transmittal management, transmittals
- Categories: Enterprise Content Management, Records Management
Until now, transferring large files to points outside the corporate firewall has been an exercise in inconvenience, irritation, and risk. Believe me, as a technology professional working out of a home office, I can’t tell you the hours I’ve spent managing the movement of multi-GB files to colleagues and customers–either electronically through FTP and its ilk, or (shudder) physically through the shipping of storage media.
The fact is, we’ve all had to make do with inadequate large-file transfer options over the past decade:
- Email is a no-go if your attachment is larger than 10MB or so.
- FTP, USB drives and DVDs are time-intensive, unreliable and present sizable security and compliance risks.
- Public file-sharing services? Don’t even go there, friend. Aside from the ever-present threat of hacking and uncontrolled distribution, I’ll bet you didn’t know that the service providers themselves generally reserve the right to access your data at any time, for a wide variety of reasons.
The Future of Large File Transfer is Already Here
The technology exists for a better way, though. I’ve seen it every time my son effortlessly downloads a multi-GB video game from an online retailer with a simple click. And I finally had the opportunity to experience the same convenience in a B2B setting with the recent introduction of the OpenText Managed File Transfer (MFT) solution.
How easy is it to use? Transferring a 3.9GB file from head office to my remote laptop involved simply receiving an email informing me there was a file waiting, clicking on a link in the email so I could direct MFT where to put the file on my hard drive, and going back to work. That’s it, that’s all.
The download finished seamlessly in a few minutes and I had no reason to worry about the transfer at all. Not only is MFT fast and user friendly, it will auto-resume if the connection hangs and it encrypts the data during transmission. The genius behind the solution–and the reason we have patents pending on it–can be explored here but, in plain user-speak, I saved a nice chunk of time, worked with a familiar email-based interface, and securely received a complete, non-corrupted file with an auditable trail. What more could you ask for?
How about the fact that OpenText is now integrating the progressive capabilities of our new file transfer solution with our existing Transmittal Management application? It’s all part of our commitment to providing optimal value to our customers through a comprehensive, cross-pillar Enterprise Information Management (EIM) strategy. Thinking about this combination in action really got the wheels in my head turning!
A Step-Change in Seamless, Secure Transmittal Management
The engineering sector is my specialty. And I know from listening to Document Controllers across the industry that the process of efficiently managing project transmittal information around the world has become a major issue. In recent years, the scope and complexity of these transmittals has increased in lock step with their financial and legal implications. Document Controllers now regularly spend stress-filled hours struggling with inefficient methods of transferring contracts, drawings, specifications, and other time-sensitive, mission-critical information.
What’s more, these transmittals are often destined for remotely located engineering projects utilizing networks of varying quality and stability. The integration of OpenText Transmittal Management with OpenText Managed File Transfer will be all they need to adapt to these fluctuating environments while ensuring that essential files are delivered completely, securely, and in full compliance with corporate policies and industry regulations.
Granted, not everyone’s daily activities involve transmitting the blueprints for a hydro-electric dam to the jungles of Borneo, but if the new OpenText Managed File Transfer integration with OpenText Transmittal Management is designed to excel in some of the most demanding environments in cyberspace, think of the stability, security and efficiency it can add to your organization.
As cloud-based Enterprise Content Management (ECM) implementations become increasingly commonplace, I’m seeing a growing number of noteworthy client success stories. The kind that overcome substantial hurdles to literally transform a client’s content management infrastructure from non-existent to world class in one seamless, magnificent leap.
The really intriguing element in the vast majority of them is witnessing the tangible, quantifiable benefits the cloud brings to information management. For me, it’s one thing to discuss the practice of cloud-based content management as a theoretical talking point, it’s quite another to see it in action, elevating content solutions from great to how-did-we-ever-operate-without-this through additional functionality, security and efficiency.
The OpenText team has collaborated on yet another example of this recently; designing and implementing a cloud-based ECM platform for a non-profit, clinical research firm. The core challenges and goals of this organization are remarkably similar to most large enterprises, namely, an extensive, remote workforce all generating and collaborating on vast amounts of mission-critical data that’s highly sensitive and stringently regulated. Sound familiar?
What’s more, you may also recognize the environment that sparked this particular initiative: Essential data stored in isolated network drives and filing cabinets, email serving as the principal means of collaboration, security and governance tools struggling with oversight of highly mobile staff. (As a side note, did you just mentally give your organization one, two, or three checkmarks? That’s what I thought!)
In short, this particular enterprise was at the mercy of the disjointed and exceedingly manual processes resulting from the lack of an integrated content management solution. For participants, the frustration factor was setting in with the inefficiencies posing challenges to meet deadlines and an overall lack of confidence around the information being used to fuel decision making. On top of this, every day was like rolling the dice with potentially catastrophic implications for data security, financial stability, regulatory compliance, and reporting credibility.
To be sure, these were considerable issues that permeated right to the core of the enterprise. Yet the solution was relatively, even surprisingly, straightforward: A tailored version of OpenText Content Server provided the centralized and standardized data management structure they needed to ensure optimal security, management, and compliance. What put it over the top (and into my personal business hit parade) was the astute decision to utilize an OpenText Cloud solution to host the application - ensuring easy, real-time access for far-flung contributors, both those internal and external to the organization, and collaborators through a custom-designed web interface.
Voila…One undemanding yet multi-faceted suite of ECM tools solving five common issues:
A secure repository for storage and distribution of version-controlled documents
Increased adoption, efficiency, and collaboration via a user-friendly, web-based interface
Comprehensive auditing and reporting functions from one, centralized source
Full compliance with all applicable government and industry regulations
Simplified system management that exceeds security requirements thanks to OpenText Hosting Services
It’s a beautiful thing. And I invite you to read through their entire success story to get the full story. For us here at OpenText, these content management successes are both rewarding and invigorating. Not only do they fulfill our mission of contributing to our customers’ success - you can literally see the stress from years of legacy inefficiencies fall away as velocity, security and adoption skyrocket - they also serve as notice that we, as an organization, are on the right path. Cloud-based services, be they ECM or broader-based Enterprise Information Management (EIM) initiatives, are the future. There’s just too much to be gained with them.
It’s time to start considering the benefits of cloud services. I know they continue to change my perception of what’s possible in the world of enterprise content management.
On my personal blog I write about Information Management related topics, just for fun. Back in February 2013 I wrote this post which addressed the need to define policies before procedures when trying to implement holistic information governance. That post became the precusor to what you're reading now.
This post brings up topics that you’ll have to deal with in defining holistic information governance. (I think I’ll refer to these as PHIGs - Principles of Holistic Information Governance). This isn’t going to be exhaustive or ultra-detailed; it’s just a list to guide where you need to pay attention.
Principles of Holistic Information Governance
1. Information is an organizational asset.
In the course of our employ we produce and receive information. It doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to our employers. As such, we need to treat it like any other corporate asset. Even if you use a personal device to produce the information, it still belongs to the organization.
Assets have acquisition costs, maintenance costs, residual value (sometimes), and get disposed of at the end of their useful lives. Tell me how this doesn’t apply to information.
If you do not understand this, stop reading and go away. There is no hope for you.
2. Understand what you’re using information for.
How does information help you achieve strategic objectives? A government entity and a direct-to-consumer sales organization may use some of the same information, but they will use it differently and for different purposes.
Understanding what you’re using information for ought to help you understand what information you actually need.
3. Understand where it’s coming from and where it’s going to.
Information doesn’t just magically appear; it comes from somewhere. You need to identify your internal and external information sources.
Most organizations don’t just fire information out willy-nilly. Information is intended for specific audiences, for specific purposes. You need to understand what effect your information is intended to have, and who you want/need it to effect.
4. Understand when you need it.
The next person that says “I need this yesterday.” wins a smack in the head with a frozen mullet (the fish, not the hairstyle).
Information is needed at various points in business and decision making processes. Is real-time information really necessary or can you wait a few minutes or hours for it? Figure out when you actually need the information in order to make a decision.
5. Understand who can and should be using it, and for what.
This is not just about security, though that’s a big piece. This is also about getting the information out to those that need it or to those that you want to influence with it. Think about it in terms of getting your message out to your target audiences.
Once the information has found its way to the audience, what are they going to do with it? Are they going to make a decision, buy something, receive a benefit…?
6. Understand your social, regulatory, and compliance obligations.
Depending on what you do and for whom you do it, you have information related obligations. Some of these are imposed by statute, some by convention, and some are self-imposed. These obligations determine how long you must keep information, what you can do with it at the end of its life, and to whom you may or must disclose it when asked.
7. Understand your information related risks (too much, not enough, disclosure, etc.).
If some of your information leaks, what’re the consequences and can you live with them?
If you’re overwhelmed by information how does it impact performance?
If you’re missing information can you still get stuff done?
How likely are you to be sued?
8. Understand how stakeholders are interacting with it.
It’s not enough to know what your stakeholders are doing with information. You need to figure out how they’re doing it. It’s not enough to identify the types and locations of devices that stakeholders are using; you also need to find out if the interactions are passive or active.
9. With few exceptions, information has a finite useful life.
Unless your information has historical/archival/archeological value, get rid of it as soon as you can. It’s not just about the whole discovery/litigation thing; it’s also about de-cluttering and being info-efficient.
Information is a perishable good; once it’s stale or rotted, get rid of it.
10. Make someone accountable.
Overall organizational performance, financial performance, legal, technology … they all have single-role accountability and responsibility. As, arguably, the second most important asset of an organization, information deserves at least the same level of attention as finance, IT, HR, legal, etc.
A C-level executive needs to be accountable for how information is governed and managed across the organization.
None of these ten “principles” is much good on its own; they only work as a whole. Other than the first and last, the key is to go only as deep as you need to in order to make things work for your organization. Nobody is expecting perfection; things just need to be good enough.
I’m not trying to downplay the difficulty in formulating information governance policies and procedures. However, much complexity can be avoided if common sense is applied and business objectives remain the primary focus. Doing Holistic Information Governance correctly isn't easy, but we have a couple resources to help you get started. Check them out and let us know what you think.
Thanks for reading. I'd love to get your feedback.
On March 6, Mark Barrenechea posted a blog about the recent OpenText Resonate KT acquisition. This blog post will explore more about how these new ECM additions can help customers of ECM and Extended ECM for SAP.
ECM Made Easy
One of the biggest challenges every organization faces as they implement enterprise software is user adoption. While the VP of Application Development and the Business Architect seek to bring the highest level of functionality they can to drive business processes and applications, they are faced with the issue of how well the system will be adopted by the people that use it. How much training will be required? Will the users be happy with how the systems fit into their daily work or will they find a way to minimize use of it?
Some of the most common things we see customers do in order to make the experience simple for casual users include:
• simplifying content views and choice lists to ensure users aren't faced with long menus of options
• customizing the interface so that common information is clearly presented in a simple, uncluttered view
• driving business processes through forms and workflows
• providing simple, interactive dashboard views containing information that is relevant and in context
• providing reports, notifications and lists of critical information to support business operations
Using WebReports and ActiveView, customers are now able to provide these user-driven views and operations through simple customization of the Content Server interface and workflows. IT groups implementing ECM can easily simplify the interface for a user, change the view by their role and deliver views tailored to the device they are working from. In addition to this they can create dashboards with report driven content for the user and business situation, and create powerful workflow processes and forms to drive critical business operations in user-centered ways.
Custom dashboards present real time information in context
Power with Simplicity
In every organization there are situations and users that demand both ease of use and the flexibility to work in different ways. Power-users drive productivity through creative use of systems and customizing their operation to best meet their own personal needs. While these individuals can provide challenges to the application development group, they can also be the system's strongest supporters and those that gain the most from working with it.
For these situations WebReports and ActiveView turn ECM into an adaptable environment that simplifies business processes by utilizing common interface paradigms such as tabbed and tree views of content, inline editing of metadata, and mouse-over ability to see more about content. These tools also provide the ability to work differently on different devices, providing a mobile experience that brings the power of ECM to a consumer-like mobile experience. This is easily managed by IT with role and device based views.
Tabbed View provides quick access to common sets of data
A Picture is worth a thousand words
Sometimes the best way to analyze content is to see it in action, to look at it in a visual way. Charts, graphs and KPI indicators are well recognized as ways to quickly provide a snapshot of information that can then be drilled into for more detail. With OT ECM it is now simple to embed visualization of information, charts, graphs and KPI's into views for all types of users. Understanding content and metrics has never been easier.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) provide simple view of status against targets
Some of the requests we hear most often come from IT groups and application developers. These people work with all types of enterprise software and they want to have easy and standard ways to extend their system; cost effective deployment and maintenance; and the ability to build applications that meet their industry and business needs while gaining user acceptance. Add to that the concept of making working with the system fun, and you have the winning combination we now provide with OpenText ECM.
The WebReports engine uses a simple Tag and Template concept which should be familiar to any web savvy developer. Its standard HTML templates provide the interface, while the tags enable insertion of data into the layout or actions to be performed on content. When put together with WebReports WorkFlow Extensions, developing an interface built around business processes is easily done, all without requiring any knowledge of OScript. This powerful engine allows for easy creation of custom deployment and development of business applications, and provides a level of insulation from core system changes that reduces the time and cost of upgrading.
Develop using standard HTML templates
IT concerns in using any add-on to a core system include how well it is integrated, does it keep pace with core product changes and does it add to the size or complexity of the infrastructure. As a long time OT partner, RKT has always been focused exclusively on additions to Content Server and core ECM, developed to meet the latest Content Server security standards. All of these products are tightly integrated, optimized for performance, and do not require extra hardware. Releases of these modules have always closely followed core product releases and now that the RKT team is part of OpenText these add-on modules will be released coincident with core product releases.
WebReports has been a commonly used ECM and xECM extension for a number of years and supports over 500 customers in 20 countries. The driving force behind the usage of this module has often been requests from solution consultants, services teams and partners because they find increased flexibility with a reduced amount of development resulting in faster, less expensive deployment and maintenance of business specific ECM implementations. The addition of WebReports Workflow Extensions and ActiveView expands this benefit further still.
There is a lot written about Value of Information and the conclusion of almost everyone is that you need information before you make your decision for it to be of any use. Can we act quickly based on historical information? What happens with the information that companies have gathered on their customers? Is it easy to access the information? Do companies use the information to build profiles and then connect with them in a more efficient, personal way, either directly or through an intermediary?
Most companies still have an "Archive all" policy where all records being archived. And whether that is in cabinets or electronically, it is stored in an archive to be there for any given period, exposing a compliancy risk when being audited not to mention the cost of storage. Companies that want to reduce that risk and especially enterprise businesses that create billions of records may have applied Records Management in their Enterprise Content Management system and offload records that would no longer be needed for compliance purposes through a defined set of rules. Very internal driven to reduce risk and cost which is very good, I am sure we all agree. However, as said in general most of the records are stored in (several) legacy archive systems, either on-premises, off-premises or nowadays in the cloud. Records that contain information. Information that can be of much value when it is used in a proper way.
Today Enterprise Content Management technologies allow organizations to take full advantage of enterprise information and gain better business insight, create a positive business impact, increase process velocity, reduce risks related to information governance, and protect intellectual property from internal leaks and external threats. But it takes a good strategy to really take advantage of valuable (historical) information.
I am sure that it must be difficult for organizations to take advantage of all that unstructured data. The volume of unstructured data is huge and just growing and growing anyway. But can we somehow start using the information we archive and unleash that information? Information that is stored in many different repositories or business applications where it is hard to access and use the information. For internal purposes, yes of course but a customer should also to be able to access information that concerns them, old or new information, on any device they prefer and update information where needed and/or required. Then businesses should use the information to target their customers in a more effective, personal way, through all communication channels, also when using social media. All the valuable historical information must give them the possibility to build a profile of their customers, right?
Yet, I still see another challenge for CIO’s and business managers to find the right balance in unleashing the information in a secure environment and on every required device. How much information can be shared and used? Allowing business operations departments using information to build profiles to target and communicate with customers on a more personal way and still remain compliant with regulations that have been put in place over the years and those to follow. Not to mention their challenge in finding one vendor that can offer solutions in all areas because that would be ideal.
OpenText customer DDR Corp. DDR Real Estate Investment Trust, is one of those companies where their internal business can already view the history of previous lease contracts. They applied several OpenText solutions and continue to look for new ways of developing Mobilizing Enterprise Content, like using the Content Server for property managers, depositing more information in their Content Server and exposing it via web access. Another OpenText customer Blokker plans to store a profile of each shopkeeper and wholesale customer in the OpenText system using it to preferences on how they want to receive information. Are these companies done? I don't think so but they see the value of information.
The challenge is on; finding the perfect balance in reducing legal risk and IT cost to unleashing valuable information and do more business while remaining compliant. Yes, there is a lot to consider and a long way to go but one thing I am sure about is that once an organization forms an information governance strategy that includes using valuable information it can over time gain better business insight, take the right decisions and capitalize on opportunities to positively impact the business. I mean, all that historical information and new information that is created on a daily basis gives companies the perfect opportunity to build customer profiles based on the most important pieces of information. Then constantly refresh those profiles based on new information. And why not make information available to the customer in an environment that remains compliant and managed so they can update and influence their profile? Don't you think it will get companies closer to the customers and vice versa? Don't wait, start using the valueable information and make it part of your information governance strategy.
In recent years there have been many horror stories about the mismanagement of information, whether it pertains to personal, private or public data in the form of lost laptops, discs, files and briefcases etc. How should information be managed? Could anything have been done to avoid the loss or minimise the risk of human error? Is there an easy answer?
The HM Government released a whitepaper entitled “Information Matters: Building Governments Capability in Managing Knowledge and Information” this highlights an extension of ‘Transformational Government into data, information and knowledge management where there is a need for best practice policy supported by technology’.
It has been said before that this is the century or age of information. More information is being created every day, this in turn means that more information is being held every day too. Businesses, Services, Governments and other Organisations all need this ‘lifeblood’ of information to be accessible, useable, safe and accountable.
The government is committed to addressing specific aspects of information management and information security (BS10012 and BS27001). This is all very well, but having just information management on its own is not enough. Good information management needs to be aligned with good knowledge management. Well, what use is information if it is not used correctly? If you go to an ATM to withdraw money, you expect that the bank has used the information about you correctly, to ensure that you get your money from the correct account when you need it. But what if this information was not managed properly and you were abroad and needing to access your funds and were unable to? This is a simple scenario but think about how information is used when you renew your car tax online, at passport control or to ensure you have the correct tax code etc. It is not just about having the information but using it effectively. Recently Knowledge Management and Information Management have been formally recognised as functions of government, in the same way that finance, IT and communications are.
With more and more information being created, how long should you keep certain pieces of information before it loses its usefulness or becomes dangerous? Who decides what parameters are set for this? How does this impact on data protection laws? These are just a few of the many important questions raised. Each organisation will have differing requirements on this matter. There are guidelines online for organisations which help them to meet the necessary regulations required by law, but you still need to manage this effectively.
So what do Governments and Businesses need to do in order to deploy an effective information management and knowledge management strategy? The government, here in the UK, has set out guidelines highlighted in their Information Matters whitepaper and have organised a committee to help manage this. Many businesses have done the same, but some are not seeing the bigger picture yet. People are talking about big data and the age of information but what are they doing about it?
Many of their current systems and process have been in place for many years and a lot of the information is paper based. Technology is moving forward at an exponential rate, particularly with smart phones and tablet devices. Many business processes nowadays are handled electronically with little or no actual paperwork involved, but how is this information tracked and handled? Electronic document and records management software (EDRMS) appears to be the answer. Many vendors will offer this at a departmental level or in some cases at enterprise level. Having an EDRMS system in place will ensure that your business or government department meets the necessary legislations and ensure that you have an effective information management strategy.
However, there is a relatively new approach called Enterprise Information Management (EIM). In effect what EIM does is brings structure to the unstructured by unleashing the power of information to the organisation.
With the growth of information coupled with the myriad of different formats, only one organisation is standing up to be the leader in this field, with the goal of becoming recognised as the #1 EIM vendor. This organisation is already demonstrating leadership, according to analysts Gartner and Forrester, and is well on its way to being leader in all five pillars of EIM, namely Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Business Process Management (BPM), Customer Experience Management (CEM), Information Exchange and Discovery.
If I were a CIO of a major organisation or government department, I know full well what I would be doing. I would contact my local OpenText office and ask for guidance. By acting now, I would hope to avoid any mishaps or issues around information management, compliance and legislation within my organisation.
It’s January, and what does that mean? Lists, lists, lists. It seems to me that as a society we’re rapidly becoming obsessed with boiling things down into a Top 10 list and in January that seems to reach a fever pitch. Thanks Letterman. Even my colleague Chris Walker has jumped on the bus with this list on SlideShare of “2013 IT anti-predictions”.
Sure I jest, but I have to admit, without my lists…I’d be lost. My to do list, my goals list, my ‘don’t forget to take it’ list, my playlists for the gym, my list of people I need to see this month. Seriously, I think I have somewhere in the area of 10 apps on my iPad and Blackberry dedicated to keeping my bits and pieces straight when I’m on the go, and I’d be lost without my Outlook Tasks. I never end my quest for the perfect app that does it all for me. But as I ended 2012, it became clearer than ever—there’s no way I will ever finish checking off the entries. I need to think about what’s really important for me in 2013 and prioritize!
That prioritization and goal setting is critical for all of us, more so than ever in our professional lives. I’ve read countless blog posts and articles over the past few weeks talking about the big picture trends. Bob Evans calls out what he believes are the hottest issues for CIOs in this article from Forbes. Trends and priorities I’ve heard echoed many times over in the discussions in and around OpenText. But when it comes to channeling my inner Kreskin, there’s one tidbit I picked out of my colleague Deborah Miller’s recent CMS Wire article that I’d like to delve into more. Deb pointed to recent IDC research that indicates:
"The trend toward industry-specific solutions will be further driven by the increased participation of line of business (LoB) executives in IT investment decisions. In 2013, nearly 60% of new IT investments will directly involve LoB execs (with them as the decision maker in 25% of the investments)."
Makes sense. If there’s not a business case for using technology that either helps you make money, save money or improve the life of someone you touch – be it a customer or a team member – then why embark on the effort? And when looking for those little golden nuggets of opportunity, few are better poised than those in the trenches to provide a practical view of the problems and the potential solutions. Whether you call it Kaizen, continuous improvement, six-sigma, or something else, the philosophy of smaller incremental change is proven to deliver the potential for large scale, impactful benefit. What do you need to be successful? Ideally, you need to breed a culture that’s fluid, adaptable and insightful—and technology that can act as building blocks to meet that challenge. This is where I see the true advantage of supporting process transformation with an Enterprise Information Management (EIM) based approach.
Given I spend my days focused on delivering compelling product experiences for our OpenText Content Server customers, a product that acts as the foundation to an effective EIM strategy, I got to thinking at a more pragmatic level. I would like to hear more from you, our Content Server customers, about your goals and projects for 2013.
A few of the many questions I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on:
- What strategies are you focused on to increase the value from your content?
- What business processes have you content-enabled with Content Server, and what’s next?
- How do you prioritize projects?
- If you feel strongly about a project that hasn’t been deemed a priority, how do you build the business case?
- How mature is your information governance strategy? And do you dovetail process improvement initiatives when building on that strategy?
I think this could be a very enlightening discussion for many of us, myself included, so I really hope you’ll chime in. Or, whether you're already an OpenText Content Server customer or not, if you have a specific project you’d like to discuss, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @alimclarke.
“New information is like snow and legacy collections of data are like glaciers: each year, layers are added, some melt away, but the accumulation keeps growing.”
So writes analyst Grego Kosinski in Stop Employees from Hoarding Electronic Documents, a new Contoural white paper sponsored by OpenText. White Paper
It’s an apt analogy, one I quite like. The image of a glacier – immense and inert – conjures up what many IT pros are facing in the near future without a solid plan for shoveling today’s snow. Without a solid archiving strategy, flexibility in your business may soon prove positively glacial. Ok, that’s enough with the metaphor. :)
Seriously though, the massive volume of content and information inside your business is a problem that’s not going away. Compounding and exponential growth of data from email, business applications, documents, and files of every type are presenting a major challenge for enterprises that need to keep business information over the long term.
Archiving strategy addresses an increasingly critical situation compounded by skyrocketing volumes of data, a worldwide tightening of regulatory and compliance requirements, a growing need for litigation preparedness, and the reality of budget constraints.
The lifecycle of enterprise content and information starts with the business applications used most in your organization:
- Email: Management of email solutions from on-premise solutions (Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes) and Cloud email (Office 365 Exchange Online, Gmail).
- ERP and CRM Suites: Business applications from firms like SAP require a reliable long-term archiving solution for millions of documents.
- Microsoft SharePoint: Managing SharePoint sites and mission critical business information across your enterprise.
- File systems: More than just backup, organizations need a plan to ease the expensive storage burden on file systems and transition this content to archives or delete unnecessary content.
- Social/Mobile Content: New forms of collaboration in the enterprise from social feeds to mobile communications are only increasing the speed and time sensitivity of EIM.
Keeping a separate archive for each of these applications is proving too costly and complex. A centralized archiving strategy is a must.
Quantifying the Business Value of Archiving
Strategic archiving programs deliver long-term storage savings between 20 and 40%, compared to existing silo’d archiving environments. These savings are delivered by a combination of rationalization of storage infrastructure, smarter storage decisions and decommissioning of legacy systems.
Reducing Storage Costs: Indiscriminate choices about where to store content during various phases of its lifecycle are costly. The refrain “storage is cheap” doesn’t apply when the repository is busting at the seams and is a disarray of un-indexed content and information. Reducing long term storage can be achieved with the following:
Tiered storage: An enterprise-wide repository for long-term retention across multiple storage devices are cost appropriate for level of access required. A tiered approach to storing archived content supports the best storage mechanisms including optical media, hard disk, cloud and tape. The retention-controlled archive can run either online or as near line or off line storage. Only applications can access it – there are no capabilities for direct end-user access.
Single-instance Archiving: Especially in highly collaborative work environments, identical documents can be a risk of being stored several times. Single instance archiving (SIA) ensures you keep the same document only once. Depending on the amount of expected redundancy of email attachments,
SIA can reduce required storage space significantly.
Compression: In order to save storage space, content should be compressed before writing to storage system.
Legacy Decommissioning: Multiple archiving repositories across legacy systems are a complex reality that can grow into a major problem for organizations. These systems are often maintained simply to reference historical information and become more expensive over time to manage as administrator skillsets focus on more current systems. A roadmap is required to lead to a single archiving strategy in one repository with legacy decommissioning tools to migrate content or manage existing content in place.
Security: Risks associated with unsecured archived information can be as costly as security breaches on more current enterprise information. Intellectual property and other sensitive organizational information in archives must be subject to corporate policies that protect all enterprise content.
Timestamps can ensure that document components cannot be modified unnoticed after they have been archived, guaranteeing the authenticity of archived business documents. By encrypting the document data, critical data such as salary tables can archived securely.
Learn more about OpenText Enterprise Information Archiving.