Could Automation Of Metadata Be The Face Of Tomorrow’s Information Governance?

Automating-InfoGov2014-CoverBy Doug Miles, Director of Market Intelligence, AIIM

How can we do better on automating information governance?

What is the best way to get such automated information governance to help us protect our corporate assets – and make compliance a snap to achieve?

An organisation that’s just produced a highly insightful analysis exploring just such topics might just have some answers. And the organisation in question is the one I work for – AIIM, the global professional body for information management leaders.

What we just did is poll that user base to produce a new study into the problems people are facing right now around ‘Automating Information Governance – assuring compliance’ which you can download for free (though registration is required, please) here: http://www.aiim.org/Research-and-Publications/Research/Industry-Watch/%20InfoGov-2014).

That user base – the sample we used to probe into these complex and highly relevant issues for today’s enterprises – is 500-plus such business leaders around the world, by the way, so a pretty representative sample.

So what did they tell our team? What came through loud and clear is that these guys feel exposed. In fact, the majority feel they are at clear risk because of a lack of information governance polices … a sense of unease that’s exacerbated by all the data breaches that keep crowding the headlines and which seem to be sharpening focus on the security and privacy facets of information governance. Are we that surprised, really – given that very big personal information data leaks have damaged corporate reputations and that organisations need to work much harder to protect and preserve content?

Is automation the only way forward?

That’s the top level picture, then – real concern. Let’s dive down into that a bit more. What’s making information managers so nervous? The answer’s clear – the fact that just 10 per cent of respondents have an information governance policy in place that is respected and enforced … while an even bigger number, 21 per cent, have a policy, but admit it is mostly being ignored on a day-to-day basis in their environments.

What could be done to turn this situation around? Many experts believe automation has to be the way forward here. To understand why, remind yourself what the practical, real-world face of the information challenge is in most companies. The keyword is ‘expanding.’ There’s a huge growth in the accumulation of electronic records, an increase characterised as “rapid” in the majority (68 per cent) of this group. With only 12 per cent of respondents confident they store only what they are required to store, it’s no wonder that almost half, 43 per cent, are becoming convinced that it’s going to have to be automatic ways of classifying all that data that offer their best be to keep up with the rapidly increasing information volumes. The three biggest benefits anticipated are: improved ability to perform searches in the data (48 per cent), higher productivity (29 per cent) and more sure bases for compliance (29 per cent).

Sounds great. But let’s look at the scale of the hill that we have left to climb here – of our 540 responses, a mere 14 per cent are using automation today. And though a further 35 per cent have immediate plans to do so, that is still a very low proportion of information managers.

But that doesn’t mean it is a task that we can avoid. Why? Because the advent of more types of content and information that need to be governed is stretching – but the volume, velocity and variety of all the stuff coming in is making it really hard to manually maintain the metadata we have to handle.

It may be that automation becomes not just a necessary, but a critical requirement if we want to have any real chance of dealing with information overload.

What do you think?

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