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Q&A with Joshua Bartlett, Southern Region Manager, OpenText

Q&A with Joshua Bartlett, Southern Region Manager, OpenText

Joshua Bartlett speaks about the challenges faced by organisations that are implementing information governance policies and procedures.

Joshua Bartlett at the information governance in a digital world breakfast held in Sydney.

Joshua Bartlett at the information governance in a digital world breakfast held in Sydney.

The volume of information generated worldwide each day by businesses and individuals is mind-boggling – it’s believed to be around 2.5 quintillion bytes. This means that organisations large and small need to get their information governance in order to reduce risk, ensure compliance, and increase business productivity and efficiency.

OpenText’s Joshua Bartlett speaks about the challenges faced by organisations that are implementing information governance policies and procedures.

1. What are some of the biggest challenges organisations are facing when it comes to creating information governance policies and procedures?

The two most common questions we hear from our clients today are, ‘Where do we start?’ and ‘What if it fails?’ There is a common misunderstanding that information governance initiatives tend to be large scale projects that consume valuable time, effort and resources across the business. This is not the case today.

The first step in any information governance journey should be to map how information flows across your business, which business systems they are feeding and how this information is being consumed by your employees, customers and partners.

The information that is captured from these mapping activities will highlight what is currently under management, what is unmanaged (or unknown) and potentially at risk and will form the basis of where you need to start on your information governance journey.

2. What are organisations potentially doing wrong? Are the standard approaches to information governance not working for enterprises? If not, why not? (fear of failure etc)

We have all experienced information governance projects driven by IT and legal teams where they have ‘shoehorned in’ technical solutions that meet their project objectives but ultimately provide limited business value due to the lack of cross-functional business unit involvement. These types of projects are almost always orphaned back to IT and legal to own once the ‘shiny new toy’ phase wears off.

One of the key ingredients in avoiding this scenario is ensuring that the senior representatives across the customer’s business commit to playing an active role in the development of the information governance strategy. They must own the business outcome from program initiation through to the roll out and be ‘change orchestrators’ within their business departments.

From a vendor perspective this commitment from senior stakeholders means that there is an increased expectation that value is realised quickly. This is something cloud-based service offerings are able to deliver in ‘sprint-to-value’ delivery models.

3. Information across organisations is increasingly becoming unstructured – generated through social media networks in particular. Is this making information governance more difficult for organisations?

Particularly so when these social platforms are now being used to provide businesses with the information exchange, collaboration and content management capabilities outside the control of the IT administration teams.

There is definitely a balancing act when it comes down to the value these social media solutions provide in terms of user experience and immediacy. But this is unfortunately coupled with the risk of sensitive or classified business information falling into the wrong hands.

It’s here that information governance plays an important role in ensuring that the appropriate policies are in place to educate and inform your business of the impact associated with poor information management practices.

4. What do organisations need to do to encourage their staff to adhere to information governance procedures and use the tools provided to them? (for example, encouraging people to stop using email as their information repository.)

The most effective way to get staff to adhere to information governance procedures is to remove the burden of being information governance practitioners from them completely.

In our experience the most successful organisations are those that adopt a process driven approach to information governance where the leading process (asset management, HR onboarding, procure to pay etc) determines the classification, lifecycle and security of business information transparently for your business users.   

5. We are living in an increasingly litigious age. Why is formulating a company-wide information governance strategy policy essential to reducing legal and compliance costs?

Most organisations underestimate the importance of having a company-wide information governance strategy in place until they find themselves involved in costly litigation proceedings and unfortunately by then, it’s too late.

We know that both structured and unstructured data is growing rapidly and with that comes a new set of challenges when it comes to eDiscovery. This is particularly the case when data is duplicated or aged, which adds cost for storage and ongoing management and increases organisations’ exposure for litigation if held onto longer than required.

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