When Bob Dylan released “The Times They are a-Changin’” in 1964 (Is that song stuck in your head now?), he wasn’t referring to technology or even the pace of change we seem to be a-changin’. When Dylan sang this song, he was of course talking about social change. However, hearing the song recently led me to think about whether we can say the same about information management at most organisations. Would the song be better sung as, “The times they are a-changin’, everywhere except information management?” It might not be as catchy, but it’s probably accurate. Technology moves fast and drives significant change, but many organisations seem are having difficulty keeping up with this evolution when it comes to content lifecycle management as well as digital and physical record keeping.
With Change Comes Opportunity and Risk
The thing about changing times is that they’re also exciting times. We know the benefits that solid information management brings to an organisation:
- It delivers improved user productivity and improved business efficiency.
- It supports good governance and organisational performance.
- Users can find the information they need to do their jobs, and in turn make better decisions.
While change is necessary, it can also be hard and sometimes feels risky – especially when it comes to enterprise technology. Aussie rapper Seth Sentry’s “Play it Safe” says it best – “don’t take risks ‘cause risks are risky.” This is a song about limiting our potential by staying in our comfort zone. When we avoid change and stick with old processes, technology, or ways of doing things, we get left behind and lose credibility with our users. Users will find another way – maybe sneaking back to a file share, using email as a storage facility, or private cloud solutions like Dropbox or Google Docs. None of these support a single source of truth or a collaborative information management environment. When we ask users to perform traditional, old-style tasks, like declaring content as records, they simply won’t do it.
How Information Managers Can Drive Change
It’s the role of information management professionals to lead the way. Rather than expecting users to continue to carry the burden of information management while they work, we need to support the users where they work by automating information management actions to the extent that users don’t even know it’s happening.
We as records managers should be constantly assessing technology and how it can enable effective information management through this kind of automation, integration and flexibility. Will this drive information management processes and deliver positive outcomes without end user involvement? Can we get technology to automate for us? The answer is yes, we absolutely can.
By using technology combined with business processes that the user is familiar and comfortable with such as leaving them to work just in the Microsoft Office applications they use every day, users are significantly less likely to try and find a way around the system. This is because the systems they are using align to the way they want to work. It already suits them.
How AvePoint Can Help
AvePoint’s information management solution, RevIM, has been designed with the understanding that end users don’t want to perform those traditional records management tasks. Instead, RevIM applies management to any SharePoint or Office 365 content from the time it’s created or captured. The end user does nothing more than continue to work in his or her preferred business applications. In the background, the information manager has a platform to manage all this content, regardless of where it is stored (on-premises, the cloud or both) by applying flexible business rules from a central interface.
Different types of users want to work in different ways. We understand this and that’s why RevIM adapts to users and to the business processes you use, not the other way around.
The times they really are a-changin, but by taking a different approach to information management, harnessing technology for great business outcomes, the “changing times” are definitely not leaving us behind.
Join Alyssa at the Digital Workplace Conference in Auckland, New Zealand.
Session Topic: The Ever-Changing Landscape of Information Management – Achieving Compliance without End User Burden
Location: Thought Leadership Room
Date & Time: 23 May 2017 12:15 pm – 1:15 pm
If you haven’t yet registered yet, use the AvePoint code upon registration to get a $50 discount.
Discount Code: AVEPOINT