Monday, 2 December 2013

Harnessing the Strategic Value of Your Content Begins with Content Inventory and Cleanup


The proliferation of digital content continues unabated.  A recent IDC study estimates that “…from 2005 to 2020, the digital universe will grow by a factor of 300, from 130 exabytes to 40,000 exabytes, or 40 trillion gigabytes (more than 5,200 gigabytes for every man, woman, and child in 2020). From now until 2020, the digital universe will about double every two years…” At the same time, the level of investment in IT infrastructure and services to manage such an unprecedented growth in digital content is anticipated to grow by only 40%.  A report by Oxford Economics titled  ”The New Digital Economy” estimates that in 2013 the “total size of the digital economy is about $20.4 trillion, equivalent to roughly 13.8% of all sales flowing thought the world economy…”. 

Given the accelerated growth of the digital economy a widening gap between unmanaged growth of digital content and investments necessary to harness it is becoming unsustainable and is creating significant challenges for both private and public sector organizations.   Such challenges span security, privacy and operational risks.  The IDC noted that “ much of the digital universe is unprotected” to meet increasingly more complex data privacy regimes. The cost to organizations to remedy data breaches and comply with e-discovery requests can be prohibitive and it may also damage organizational reputation, brand and competitive advantages. It is estimated that on a per record basis the cost of remedying a data breach is $200 and the cost of collecting, reviewing and producing documents pursuant to an e-discovery request can be in the millions of dollars, particularly in highly litigated industries. 

While most organizations have well defined content lifecycle, records management systems and policies in place they continue to lack clear insight to what content they have accumulated over time. A particular challenge is managing legacy data in file systems, older versions of document repositories and email systems. A recent AIIM survey found that 61% of survey respondents indicated that “organizational assets are not leveraged to maximum effect” and 46% “consider that storage media and IT infrastructure will be swamped with uncontrolled content if no actions are taken…”A study by Haystac Associates, a software and services company focused on information governance best practices found that “most organizations don’t know where their all their data is and lack tools to systematically filter it.  The amount of time spent on searching for content is estimated at 24% which may be considerably reduced if the data is properly cleansed, organized and well identified. Understanding where the data is located is a necessary starting point for a digital landfill clean-up…” 

The Haystac analysis is particularly instructive in that it provides a systematic foundation for the content inventory and cleanup process that begins with a content identification phase using advanced tools to crawl, index and classify content repositories against organizational taxonomies that may be based on subject, function, hybrid or faceted classification schemes.  The second phase of a digital landfill cleanup project is the content analysis phase the objective of which is to determine the value and relevance of documents identified in the initial content classification phase.  The analysis may encompass a number of variables such as the age of the document, the organizational value of the document, the authors who created the document and for what purpose, the application in which the document was created (this is particularly relevant from the perspective of long term preservation and longevity standards), the version level, how many versions, business and archival value consistent with organizational retention and archival policies.  The third and final phase of the digital landfill project is the content cleanup phase the objective of which is a determination of what should be kept, what should be retained because of its business value, what should be migrated to a system of record as part of a managed repository and what should be preserved and archived in compliance with record retention and archival policies and regulatory mandates.  The content clean up phase outcomes may be illustrated in the following diagram:
Often organizations tend to focus on the go forward strategy for harnessing the value of their knowledge assets and defer the tough decisions relating to how to address their legacy content, their digital landfill.  The confluence of IT consolidation, budget cutbacks and the changing composition of the workforce necessitates that content inventory and cleanup ought to be much higher on the IT/IM project priorities.  Investments in content clean up initiatives far outweigh the downstream costs associated with the continued growth of unmanaged content repositories.

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Monday, 27 May 2013

What's It Worth to You? Determining the True Cost and Value of Information


We invite and encourage contributions to our blog from our network of consultants to share their expertise relating to Information Management best practices. The commentary that follows below is from Valarie Findlay, an independent security consultant with HumanLed Inc. The commentary focuses on an exploration of the challenges associated with the cost of maintaining and valuing information assets.

In 2009, the Treasury Board of Canada issued a directive to ensure effective recordkeeping practices that enable departments to create, acquire, capture, manage and protect the integrity of information resources of business value in the delivery of Government of Canada programs and services. 
The directive addresses the identification of information resources of business value based on analysis of departmental functions and activities, the establishment and implementation of key methodologies, mechanisms and tools that support departmental recordkeeping requirements, proper documentation of recordkeeping practices of accountability, stewardship, performance measurement, reporting and legal requirements, and timely communication with departmental managers and employees on the risks associated with poor recordkeeping.
This article explores an inferred but often overlooked exercise – the determination of the true cost (storage, security, disposition, etc.) of information recordkeeping, the value of that information and why it’s important to go beyond the longstanding standards of sensitivity and classification (secret, top secret, etc.) of information. (For the purposes of this article, recordkeeping refers to the creation, duplication, storage, security and overall management of information.)
Understanding the value of information and the costs associated with it are generally notional concepts and establishing measurable criteria is an exercise unto itself but it is feasible to develop this into a modeled approach which can be implemented into any departmental system, independent of technology. Industry and private sector have already recognised valuation as a critical step in not only justifying spending on recordkeeping initiatives but also to ensure that the value of information is congruent with the countermeasures applied to storing, sharing and securing it.
First, let’s take a look at the cost of recordkeeping and what industry findings on recordkeeping and information management have revealed.  

The Keeping Cost: Hidden and Unburdened Impacts

Companies spend a significant amount of their revenue on managing document production, distribution and associated devices – IDC estimated that it is up 10% of revenue or budget. A recent study by BAE Systems discovered that “about 80% of all workers waste an average of half an hour every day, retrieving information while almost 60% expend an hour or more duplicating the work of others”. An InfoTrends/CAP Ventures Study indicated that organizations estimated spend an average of 3% of their annual revenues on duplication - copying, printing and faxing; other research reveals that actual document expenditures (including hardware, supplies, and “people” costs) averaged 6% of annual revenues across all industries. 
An independent breakdown of the data revealed that only 10% of office document burdened costs relate to equipment, supplies, and service expenses - for every $1 spent on equipment, supplies, and service, another $9 is spent on other burdened costs: IT support and infrastructure, procurement, facility costs, end-user interaction time and document management expense. [1] Finally, IDC estimates that an organization with 1,000 knowledge workers wastes between $2.5 - 3.5 million a year in superfluous or erroneous document related activity.[2]  

To bring this spending into perspective, ask yourself: would you go to the same lengths – effort and cost – to secure and protect a possession that is of no appreciable or inherent value, as you would for one that is? We do this all of the time in recordkeeping and information management: we hoard information and data as if it were all of the same business value often with the overused refutation, “space is cheap”. But it is more than space that makes up the cost of recordkeeping and information management. 

True Value: The Courage to Peel the Onion

In formulating information value, meaningful criteria is crucial, therefore, I utilize the Seven Laws of Information[3], among other industry mainstays, and develop categorical elements that increase and decrease the value of information and then I apply the cost of that information as a formula to establish it as a cost-valued asset.[4] As an example, the Seven Laws of Information state, in general, that, all information would follow these Laws:

  1. The sharing (where it is deemed to be required and necessary) of information multiplies its value; the more people who use it, the more value/benefit can be extracted from it.
  2. The duplication of information does not increase its value but instead increases the costs associated with it and replication and redundancy increases maintenance costs. Therefore, the need to duplicate and store multiple copies of information acts as a decrease to its value.
  3. The more integrated information is or where there is a dependency on it by other information, the more valuable it is.
  4. The more accurate information the more valuable it is.
  5. Unlike most assets, information is subject to reverse depreciation in that the more it is used, the more valuable it becomes;
  6. Unlike most assets, information is subject to the laws of abundance;
  7. Overabundance reduces information value. Psychological evidence shows that humans have a strictly limited capacity for processing information and when the amount of information exceeds these limits, information overload ensues and comprehension (Lipowski, 1975) and decision making ability degrades rapidly at the saturation point (O’Reilly, 1980; Driver and Mock, 1975; Jacoby et al, 1974).
Based on these laws of information comparative value and cost criterion can be developed into a model that follows a prescriptive framework that reveals the cost benefit and return on investment. But it doesn’t stop there: this data should then become the “business case” used to drive and apply counter measures, such as operational, infrastructure, policy and procedure controls and enhancements to help management implement optimum information management best practices. In this climate of cost savings, government and business can no longer afford to dismiss the importance of revisiting and properly assessing information value and recordkeeping costs and auditing current, long-standing practices for appropriateness and effectiveness. Often change will not occur until “the pain of staying the same exceeds the pain of making the change itself”.

All rights reserved. © Copyright 2013

Valarie Findlay is an independent security consultant with HumanLed Inc. and holds several security accreditations and is completing her Masters degree in Terrorism Studies. She can be contacted at:

[1] Assessing & Benchmarking Document Costs: Developing a Future Strategy
[2] MetricsStream
[3] D. Moody, 2004-5; Glazer, 1993
[4]Peter Walsh and Daniel Moody, Measuring The Value Of Information: An Asset Valuation Approach
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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Transforming Digital Landfills to Competitive Knowledge Assets


In today’s digital economy the currency of exchange is information. With the volume of electronically stored information estimated at 2.7 zettabytes and growing 48% annually the value of information as a strategic resource must be reliable, relevant, current and readily accessible. 

This unprecedented growth in the volume and variety of digital content represents both opportunities and challenges for business and public sector organizations alike. For businesses competing in the digital economy agility in leveraging information is an imperative in order to minimize transaction costs and grow revenue. For public sector agencies the need for more efficient constituency services delivery is paramount at a time of increasing budgetary constraints. The growth of digital content also brings about increasing complexities associated with its collection, use and disposition. They encompass protection of privacy and intellectual property rights as well as disclosure and transparency obligations.  

Lack of effective content management and preservation best practices may result in exposure to legal risks, lower staff productivity, in higher transaction costs and in ineffective customer and constituency service levels. While these challenges relating to digital content are self-evident organizations continue to struggle in harnessing its strategic value. Content continues to proliferate in disparate email in-boxes, shared drives, in un-managed repositories and in legacy systems. In fact a recent AIIM study revealed that only 30% of the organizations surveyed felt that their content is reasonably well managed. Moreover the same study found that 40% of organizations surveyed have three or more EDRMS systems in place, while at the same time 40% of respondents continue to manage and store business critical information in personal Outlook folders.  

These inefficiencies often result in fragmented information repositories and data duplication. Given the declining cost of storage the propensity is to continue creating content without the benefit of having a consistent information governance framework in place. When a decision is made to consolidate heterogeneous content repositories into a more organized and centralized system of record the assumption is made that migrating the content is a relatively simple exercise. However, the challenge associated content migration is often underestimated. The result may be substituting one inefficient and unreliable content repository with another albeit within a managed EDRMS.  

Efficient content migration must be a high priority. The challenge is that multiple versions of documents may exist in multiple places. There may be records that are not properly declared and classified. Bulk migration of content to an EDRMS without proper clean up and classification may result in the same problem as persists with un-managed content.  

An interesting approach to effective content migration is provided by Their Smart Content Framework™ methodology provides the building blocks to leverage content assets to reduce organizational risk by providing a framework for identifying, cleansing, de-duping and organizing information assets through:  

§   Auto-classification of content aligned to corporate taxonomies, classification structures, functional entities (e.g. PAAs), roles and responsibilities;
§   Real-time generation of intelligent metadata at source improving information transparency;
§   Automatic intelligent content routing as defined by an organization’s information governance policies; and
§   Populating content to any target EDRMS such as Microsoft SharePoint or Open Text Content Server.  

The expected outcome of intelligent content migration is to transform content into business value, reduce duplication, overlap, improve information relevance so that when content is migrated into the desired target EDRMS repository is of high quality, reliable, authentic and meets operational and compliance requirements.  

CORADIX will be holding a complimentary seminar on intelligent content migration. The objective of the seminar is to share insights relating to:  

§   How to avoid moving your content debris from one place to another;
§   What classification is and how to do it;
§   Which tools make auto-classification easy;
§   How to deal with sheer volume of content; and
§   How to effectively migrate content to either a Microsoft SharePoint or Open Text Content Server EDRMS environments. 

Register now for this event:
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Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The Growing Demand for Certified Information Management Professionals

A recent AIIM [1] survey found that that one of the most sought-after skills that organizations are lacking is that of the Information Management professional. The discipline of Information Management encompasses the organization, architecture and business processes associated with the use of information within an organization. The roles and responsibilities of Information Management professionals span governance, information architecture, metadata organization, process workflows, taxonomy design and evaluation and integration of information systems and services.

The unabated growth of information coupled with the strategic importance of harnessing, preserving and controlling organizational information assets for competitive advantage demands increased investments in Information Management skills and best practices.   Yet, the AIIM survey found that such skills are challenging to find. It is for this reason that AIIM has developed a comprehensive training curriculum and offers formal certification for the “Certified Information Professional” designation. [2]  The rationale for this program is based on the AIIM finding that “few people currently have ‘information professional’ as a title, but many have the stewardship, management, and application of information assets as a core part of their job.” [3]

Based on the ISO Standard 17024 for formal certification programs the AIIM “Certified Information Professional” program tests prospective candidates in six core knowledge domains: Information Access/Use, Information Capture, Collaboration/Workflow, Information Security, Information Architecture and Planning/Implementation.  AIIM offers on-line resources to assist prospective candidates to prepare for the certification examination.[4]  The examination facilitated by Prometric test centers, including locally in Ottawa, and costs USD $265. Candidates have 2 hours to answer 100 multiple choice questions.

The value of the Certified Information Professional designation is gaining wide acceptance by hiring managers. Independent market research of business executives by AIIM confirms that 61% prefer consultants that hold the CIP designation, 64% prefer to hire a CIP vs. a non-certified candidate and 76% would pay a CIP a salary premium.  

CORADIX recognizes that value of the “Certified Information Professional” designation and plans to hold preparatory workshops for Government of Canada employees and for the consulting community to help prepare for and earn this sought after designation.

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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Join Us at the ITO 2.0 High Tech Job Fair!

Date: January 24, 2013
Time: 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Location: Nepean Sportsplex, Booth #18

Come and meet us at the ITO 2.0 High Tech Job Fair. We invite you to start a conversation with one our Human Resources Professionals, Consulting Sales Managers or Practice Leads.

As a leading provider of Information Management and Information Technology Services based in the National Capital Region, we’re always looking to expand our network of skilled IT professionals. We’re eager to share our values and approach to client engagements that foster professional and personal growth.

Our Mission is to exceed the expectations of our Clients and Consultants. Please join us at the ITO 2.0 High Tech Job Fair to find out how we can exceed your expectations.

For more information on this event, visit the ITO 2.0 site at:
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