A significant number of businesses are finding themselves at a tipping point as they collect, mismanage, and incorrectly use their organizational information. With a fast-changing and complex landscape, it has become even harder to take control. Ideally, your information should be treated as an asset, enabling you to better respond to customer needs, strategize around your goals and advance business, while protecting legal interests. While this is a known fact, many are still grappling to take control of their informational ecosystem.
As the world moves towards a new year, it’s a good time to revisit and evaluate your existing information landscape and find ways to improve and make it efficient. The most important thing, of course, is to start. Along the way, you will discover inefficiencies to solve, gaps to refine, and before you know it, you would have built a lean machine for your information landscape.
To help you begin:
Here are 5 tips every organization should take to take back control of its landscape:
1 – Don’t Wait for January 2022 to Start
Right now, your environment is in a position where you can start to extract and get valuable information from it. You are going to need that information to formulate and strategize a thorough information plan. Therefore, don’t wait for the beginning of the next year to start figuring this out, instead start now. This will ensure that you are prepared and have taken precautionary steps to mitigate any arising risks. You can follow the below steps to kickstart your journey.
- Assess your information landscape. Document and take note of what information is placed where and why it is in that specific location.
- Perform a security audit. Think about the security of your databases, policies and procedures and look for different methods for auditing these areas.
- Map your information repositories. The first question you will have to answer when you start to think about information governance, compliance, and possibly cloud migration is what type of repositories your information is sitting inside?
- Review your retention schedule. Organizations often deal with a schedule that is not up to date with the latest regulations. This can hinder your information transformation efforts. Evaluate your compliance standing. Go through different compliance measurements and figure out what’s essential to your organization.
- Survey critical business stakeholders. Find out what their business goals are and align these with your information goals.
- Determine your governance efficacy. Enforce good policies and procedures and govern your information landscape to meet compliance requirements.
- Weigh the risks. Understand how critical information is to the business. Consider the risk of liability. This often results from not being compliant and not having an efficient management process for your information.
2 – Have a Concise Vision
Following the above tips from end to end-to-end will not guarantee you a greater information governance vision. As much as organizations have visions for their sales, IT and business strategy, it’s essential that you have a strategy for your information alone. Therefore, you need to start thinking about what that vision is for your organization and information compliance and how you will manage that information so that you can build a culture of responsibility around your data. Here is a guide on how to successfully do this:
- Envision outcomes that are specific, measurable, and achievable. To reach your goals, you will need to be as output-oriented as possible.
- Build a business case. This is a helpful process to go through if you’re thinking about investing in transforming your information landscape. This will also help justify your costs to your key stakeholders.
- Obtain support; you want to find the people who are most important to the success of this transformation and get them to support the initiative. It’s a collaborative effort.
- And finally, start to create a blueprint. So that even before you start next year, you already know what the vision is, and you know what the blueprint is going to look like.
3 – Reach Your Goals Faster, With A Plan
A goal without a plan is just hope. Once you have a vision, and you know where you want to go, you need to figure out how to get there. Here are some steps to help with your planning:
- Involve the whole business in creating an information roadmap.
- Prioritize low-hanging fruit and address pressing issues.
- Consider what required procurement vehicles you need, to reach the different milestones in your planned roadmap.
- Start to orchestrate things like parallel IoT projects and cloud migration efforts.
To have a successful plan, you need to ensure that the above points are represented on the roadmap so that all these parallel efforts are set up for success. It’s a symbiotic relationship between an organization’s department, the infrastructure, and how the business will use this.
4 – Lay a Good Foundation, From the Onset
You need to establish a good foundation from the beginning. This will be the starting point from which you can ensure that you have an efficient structure. Here are a few things you will want to consider.
- It is more expensive to retrofit governance than to plan for it. Often there are scenarios where organizations are migrating to the cloud, for instance, and they think they can move everything across and figure out everything else, afterward. That’s not always the best way to approach things. In most instances, if your on-premises information was a bit of a mess, then that means you will have that same mess in the cloud, and fixing it, will not be any easier.
- Cloud governance solutions on Microsoft365 can lower risk and IT admin. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that governance is a big expense. In reality, the process of implementing governance is not as much of a grudge purchase as organizations think it is. This is because it lowers risk and makes the entire environment a lot more manageable. It will also mean fewer IT admin hours, to govern your information landscape.
- The different types of governance that you need to consider if you’re intending to lay a good foundation, is content governance. This speaks to the lifecycle of information and how your information is used? Second, what are the policies around your Teams’ governance? Keep in mind that your information will be moved around into different types of workspaces, where you will collaborate and build your information lifecycle. Lastly, it’s important that you prioritize security governance. The last thing you want is to face possible cyber threats.
Bringing all of the above into a solid foundation can set you up for success moving forward. An advantage here is that you will also be able to generate granular insights, made possible by the benefits of greater visibility, that will enable you to detect anomalies and trends. Overall, you will be able, to have an eye on the health of your governance ecosystem, inside of Microsoft 365.
5 – Design Your Information Ecosystem
Designing your information ecosystem is a multifaceted process. Following the development of the good foundation you have built; you’re going to have to effectively add to it. Doing so will require you to know and perform a few things:
- Knowing informational taxonomies. You need to know the difference between documents that contain valuable business-critical data, and those with immaterial information.
- Having a process of classifying information, for everyone across the organization, is an important step in familiarizing yourself with what is significant and setting up a good structure within your ecosystem.
- On average only 12% of the data is critical. Therefore, it is also crucial that you are proactive in identifying data that is redundant, obsolete and trivial.
- Knowing what is critical, redundant, obsolete and trivial, will help you when to establish your file plans, and classify your documents.
- Understand that this design, should be relevant across the business and involve each business unit. While there may be differences in each division, will need to put together their own version of an efficient information system.
- Your teamwork spaces and corporate intranet will also play a crucial role in this process ad knowing which ideal location to build on your information ecosystem.
Register for a Free Workshop Today on Information Management, Governance, and Compliance
What’s in it For You?
In addition to gaining a clear outline of your current information landscape, this free workshop offers you the following outcomes to take back to your organization.
Bonus: you can also watch free on-demand webinars here.