Kaizen Infosource LLC

$peed Bump$, Petabyte$, and a Bountiful Harve$t

“Align your service with the company’s strategic direction,” the mantra of the annual the budget process. What does it really mean? For Records and Information Management professionals, and their “silent partners” in Information Technology, it is the justification for continued existence in the next budget year. It is also your directive to find ways to do more with fewer dollars, fewer staff, and to add more services while assuring a company’s information is controlled from creation to eventual destruction.

The full implementation of an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) can provide the savings, controls, and management you seek. It can lower network storage requirements and storage costs by reducing the number of instances of the same information on your network. Those savings alone may provide the Return on Investment (ROI) to justify an ECM system. Controlling unstructured data such as web content, email, social media, and documents on local drives and network shares will reduce your company’s risk. ECM can eliminate silo’d data to allow in-house eDiscovery, apply legal suspense, and provide access to data across the enterprise for management reporting.

ECM sounds great because that is its potentials, when implemented with strategy and a plan. It requires investments in hardware, software, internal resources, a communications plan for managing change, and of most importance, its use required by executive management.

However, before you invest in a Ferrari, look under the hood of your current sedan to determine if your existing systems to manage information are being used to their maximum benefit. Have they produced the ROI you had expected? If not, why? Are they a source of cost savings and increased productivity, or do they add cost and reduce productivity in the absence of regular reviews, which would allow staff to create personal workflows when they refuse to accept change?

We have seen instances where personal procedures have caused massive duplication of information, in multiple forms of media. In one example, data that exists within an application in digital form (copy 1) is printed to create a physical copy (copy 2). The hard copy is scanned back into a digital archive (copy three), and the hard copy is sent to off-site storage. Add backup of the network data for copies 4 and 5. Where there should have been an original instance and a backup, the personal procedure created five copies of the same information. This process was in use for each document created and for each transaction posted. Can you spell petabytes?

The lengthy and costly effort to justify, identify, select, implement, and support a new system intended to improve productivity does not end with its deployment. Deployment is just one of many “speed bumps” along the lifecycle of business processes and systems.

Business systems are organic. Deployment is like transplanting a seedling. After transplant business systems require feeding, staking for support and occasional “pruning” to ensure they grow as intended. The care of your business systems must include a regular pruning to snip off any processes which become “suckers”. If left in place the “suckers” will stunt growth and reduce the bounty you were expecting to harvest.

An ECM system will be as effective as the foundation systems on which it will overlay. Do your prep work and become a frequent visitor at your local garden shop for consultation.

About Kaizen InfoSource

Kaizen InfoSource is the premier records and information management and information technology consultancy in northern California, with headquarters in Palo Alto, and offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento.  Kaizen’s team of consultants has over 100 years of experience in providing strategic, practical approaches to designing business process solutions, utilizing technology and developing information governance which provides a measurable return-on-investment for tis clients. Kaizen has extensive experience with working with both the private sector and government organizations.

For Further Information Contact:
Helen Streck

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