Overcoming Information Management Challenges – Ways to Achieve Information Nirvana

By: In: Information Management On: May 12, 2014

While we all face budget and bandwidth constraints in our quest for a higher state of Records and Information Management (RIM) excellence and a deeper, broader, more collaborative information governance framework. Each of us has our own set of challenges that defines the solutions and strategies needed to reach information nirvana.

The first step on the journey to achieving a blissful RIM state-of-mind is determining where you’re starting from, and that means identifying your biggest roadblocks. We spoke with nearly 700 RIM leaders about how to create more value from records and information management programs.

Their feedback led us to identifying six organizational states. Each one has its own set of challenges and recommendations for how you can enhance the business value of your RIM program. Tackling them can seem daunting, but you’re not alone on this journey – watch our video and check out each of the descriptions to figure out which organizational state you’re in to get started:


  • The Digitizer: The Digitizer streamlines workflows and automates business processes by removing paper from workflows. We have work to go as 33% of organizations lack appropriate controls for imaging including quality assurance[i], but 42% of you saw scanning & capture payback in less than 12 months[ii]. Time to speed up digital adoption! Digitizing doesn’t mean scan everything, but know what to scan to improve productivity:
    • Identify inefficient manual steps in key workflows
    • Image, apply metadata and business rules
    • Don’t digitize everything – just what you need
    • Automate workflows where possible
  • The Unifier: 50% of organizations have non-aligned electronic and paper policies[iii]. The Unifier accesses and applies retention, policies and holds consistently across all records from one system. To get there, the Unifer needs to:
    • Align paper and digital policies
    • Standardize metadata
    • Connect information and administer policy in one system
    • Provide common search and discovery
  • The Records Reducer: Hoarding affects businesses too, but the explosive growth of data has made it hard to keep up with retention schedules. In fact, 71% of you could reduce storage costs by 30% if you had a better idea of what to destroy[iv]. It’s important to think about securely disposing of IT assets as well, but 46% of organizations either don’t have a formal secure IT asset disposition plan or note that their formal plan isn’t widely adopted across their organization[v]. Thought starters for reducing your storage footprint:
    • Make sure to securely dispose of IT assets
    • Ensure retention policies are up to date
    • Take advice on defensibility
    • Securely shred records eligible for destruction
    • Ensure go-forward inventory is properly indexed
  • The Vendor Consolidator: Inconsistent policies can expose you to major litigation and financial risk. The average discovery cost is $2.4M per event, and those costs rise if you have multiple vendors[vi]. Companies with a single vendor can lower and eliminate organizational risk and costs. Plus, using one interface to access your information is a welcome relief for the 22% of organizations who still have problems locating records[vii].  A few tips:
    • Call for bids to migrate and manage
    • Consolidate to one place to find information
    • Prioritize consistent application of policy
  • The Program Accelerator: 87% of organizations claim to have a mature RIM program, yet only 8% measure their program performance[viii]. Disconnected records programs can make the cost of litigation skyrocket. Unfortunately, your biggest challenge may not be policy or process, but people. Be a Program Accelerator through the following tips:
    • Take a lead role in the overarching information governance strategy for both electronic and physical information
    • Manage your IT systems from selection to decommissioning
    • Proactively tackle trigger or event based retention
    • Create defensible policies, procedures, tools and a retention schedule
    • Train organization on RIM compliance
    • Monitor performance in all areas with defined metrics
    • Benchmark against your peers

Every RIM program is different, and the strategies outlined above certainly aren’t mutually exclusive, but identifying your organizational state is the first step toward getting more value from your RIM governance program.

Now it’s time to get to work: which organizational state reflects you? Visit our website to learn more about the 6 states!

← Not just Talk: A Practical Information Governance Guide By Practitioners for Practitioners Event-Based Records Retention – When Time Isn’t On Your Side →

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About the author

Michelle Doyle

Michelle Doyle joined Iron Mountain in 2013 and currently serves as Manager, Global Solutions. In this role, she is responsible for understanding industry trends and customer needs, and helping to create solutions and champion customer centric initiatives to meet our those needs. Michelle holds an MBA from Northeastern University and a Bachelor of Arts from Boston College.