Common Disguises that Hold Back Your Organization
Halloween is in the air, and it’s a good time to face your fears and scare away any content management goblins holding back your organization. Are you worried you can’t trace your cash flow accurately, even if you’re a regulated financial institution? Are you sure five years’ worth of compliance documentation is saved “somewhere” and easy to retrieve?
Finding some “treats” in your company’s content can be as simple as collecting candy. But you need to start by looking behind the seemingly intimidating masks and myths.
1 ) “I’m already backing up my data on an external hard drive.”
This disguise is the false belief that backing up information is the same as retrieving it, manipulating it, and gaining value from it. Just because you dress like a doctor on Halloween doesn’t make you a skilled heart surgeon.
It’s one thing to relocate a file on a hard drive. It’s quite another to easily extract structured metadata such as “order date” or “trade number” inside of a document buried amidst hundreds of terabytes of stored information. Reusing stored data to protect or advance your business goals is the real “treat” while back-up alone is only a “trick.”
The growing trend towards BYOD (bring your own device) and BYOD (bring your own backup), which companies are increasingly having to contend with from a security and manageability viewpoint, create a number of key problems that Chief Risk and Information Officers can well do without.
The issue is more that organizations have information on disparate “File Shares” resulting in:- fragmented silos of information (creating access issues); unsecured records stores; and non-usability as a trusted records management system as they lack basic content lifecycle and compliance requirements.
2) “There’s too much information to control.”
The continually changing variety, volume and velocity of data in your organization might feel initially overwhelming. But it doesn’t mean an ostrich suit is your only option.
Instead of burying your feathered head in data, up level and focus on your most pressing business problem. Which issue is costing you the most money (e.g. I can’t reconcile cash flow, can we meet our imminent funding obligations without borrowing)? What pieces of information might help resolve this problem (e.g. cleared funds position delivered to my traders every hour)?
With frequent changes to regulation and rising compliance obligations fortunately there are industry-leading solutions to help. Specifically, tools are available today to enable you to 1) develop the “right “information policies” to meet your compliance obligations; 2) analyze/ search/discover only the relevant content needing control, and lastly; 3) the ability to automatically “enforce” those information governance policies across your entire organization.
Spend time – or hire someone to spend time – to look at exactly how your business operates, what the key challenges are, and how reusing information can be to your advantage. Not only will you find that your initial problem can get resolved, but there may also be additional goodies generated along the way (e.g. faster audit time, happier employees, more multinational customers).
3) “All of my divisions, lines of business, or customers are different. There’s no way to standardize.”
Perhaps the most menacing goblin of all, this fear creates inertia and cost that is far more damaging than facing any content management task.
Do you really need multiple disconnected disparate applications just because the banking system in France is different than in Switzerland? Or can you structure content, parameterize and personalize account schemas and information views which share information in and out of newer, consolidated systems?
For every legacy application you decommission, you eliminate the need to keep paying for license fees, specialized staffing, and never-ending integration work. Not to mention you’ll stop employees from taping passwords right onto older, little-used machines…a security and compliance risk and a practice sure to come back and haunt you.
Instead, take your legacy structured and unstructured data – even with its differences – and place it into a single, manageable retrieval repository in the most modern format. Your content will become accessible, reusable, and easy to analyze, retrieve, and manipulate – and change from being a dead storage headache to being a valuable asset to the business.
In one example, pinpointing data discrepancies helped a large European bank drive to standardization. It was evident that simple and common data elements such as a ‘date’ field meant different things across their geographically dispersed bank branches. “10/11” in the US is October 11th.
In the UK, it means November 10th. Identifying and unifying the format and syntax of data elements within all documents, such as dates and values, enabled previously onerous data transformation tasks to be automated. Nuances were kept while standardization was brought in, enabling true Straight Through Processing.
In follow-on blogs I’ll address more specifics about content management in the financial services sector. Post your questions below and I’ll be happy to address them.