I’m not a great fan of marketing events but, this time, I’m going to make an exception because, as we wrap up at our first sponsored AIIM event, its great to be able to reflect on some good things. First (and most importantly), the food was great and secondly, we had a busy booth with plenty of great conversations about our solutions.However, by far the highlight was the workshop I led on “File Share Cleanup in the Context of Information Governance”.

Despite the terrible title we had around 70 people in attendance and, since AIIM squeezed us into an unfeasibly small room, this made for a real buzz. What’s more, the session was jam packed with so many success stories it really was properly educational and, of course,  we ran well over time. I don’t think I’ve ever attended a workshop with so many people offering up positive stories of how they got in control of their unstructured data and above all, the benefits they achieved in doing so.

That’s right, organizations getting business benefits from file share clean up.

Since I started out in information, I have been all too aware of how practitioners can lose sight of outcomes whilst contentedly designing the best possible practices, ways of working and user guides. The end result is that they have amazing documentation and plans but very poor adoption and, ultimately, the project will likely get canned. In the room this time were plenty of examples of real outcomes secured or enabled by attending to good clean, quality content. Lacking any notes – its hard to keep those when facilitating such an active workshop – I’ll recall a couple of examples as best I can:

  • Ensuring quality as-built engineering content through active cleanup had enabled an oil and gas company to drive down the occurrence of pipeline repair and re-work. In turn they had assembled metrics which showed how their initiative had resulted directly in maintenance cost savings and safety efficiencies.
  • Using home-grown tools and manual processes, a defense organization had been able to prove that it was not adequately securing important sensitive data. Its efforts had established the business case for its CISO to fund an active clean-up project.
  • By undertaking a policy-driven clean-up project and engaging its users in the results, an organization migrating to a new content platform had been able to track improved performance and efficiency for user information retrieval. As a result of the reduced support load they had been able to reallocate IT staff usually tied up with maintaining the system to new value-add initiatives.

Throughout the discussion, it was interesting to see that very few – if any – had a storage cost reduction component in their business cases (how times have changed). Most examples were driven by some regulatory or risk-based requirement and just a few for staff and process efficiency. That matches with our experience that risk and regulation/compliance really lies at the heart of how organizations are justifying investment in their information governance.

In all cases, and across the workshop software tools were playing a critical part in scaling up efforts and legal teams were playing a critical sponsorship role when seeking to secure budget from whichever stakeholder was in the lead.
I wish we could have had twice as long to dig into more details, but you can’t win them all. Thanks to all who contributed.