If there is one common theme I’ve found over the past twenty years it’s that client’s consistently believe that technology will solve all their problems. There’s a number of reason’s for this; software sales and marketing people with nifty presentations that promise a simple solution (for a price) or the always present desire to push that “Easy Button” and solve all your issues. We’ve all been there. Sometimes it works, but more often it doesn’t. The problem isn’t with the software. More often than not the problem is the issue is larger than what you originally thought.
There is an old axiom that Information Governance is about Process, People and Technology – in that order. Technology is last in the list because it is only as good as the process that it’s automating. Ever hear of “garbage in, garbage out”? Technology is great for doing very specific rote process tasks and that list is growing as technology improves with artificial intelligence. Here’s some of the things I’ve found where technology is a benefit:
The easy ones that are readily apparent would be Information security, invoice processing, call center efficiency. These tasks are perfect for technology to come in and do the job more efficiently – IF they are configured correctly. This doesn’t mean they can be set up once and never touched again. A new invoice may mean creating a new scan template before you can process it and we all know that there is always a new virus or threat created by hackers to test your security protocols. Continuous maintenance is a must for any system.
Technology can also be a great benefit for business process management and records capture. Automating these tasks ensure that they are more consistent and reliable with auditing capability to identify issues so they can be corrected faster. One of the key features of technology for the information governance world involves records capture. Automating the application of metadata and classifying content relieves the burden of this critical task from the staff and ensures it’s done consistently and accurately. This will also help with the process of eDiscovery, FOIA or whatever processes require information to be found and presented in an accurate, timely, and cost-effective manner.
We’ve talked a lot about using technology to increase efficiency and that is where it really shines as a tool, but the underlying thing to remember is that all of these give you better control of your information assets – and they are assets. Once you have these systems in place you can now start looking at business intelligence. Any successful organization knows what to do to be successful, but reliable information assets that are easily searchable creates a pool of information that can be utilized for better decision making. Think of an organization with a large motor pool. Maintaining that equipment is a constant source of budgetary pain. Business Intelligence for them may mean spotting maintenance trends, parts inventory control and any number of other factors that can save considerable sums of money.
Technology can get you many places. The key is to have a plan where you use technology to do you the most good. Technology cannot solve all your problems, but it can do a lot to get your there.