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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Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Ensuring Successful Electronic Records Implementation

Consider the following facts.  According to an AIIM survey[1] only 16% of organizations surveyed have implemented an enterprise-wide electronic records management strategy.  9% of respondents indicated that they have implemented electronic records management system across the whole organization. 
At the same time the volume, velocity and variety of information continue to accelerate exponentially.  A recent report by IDC[2]  found that in 2009 the total volume of digital information was 800 exabytes and is projected to grow at an annual rate of 40%.  More than 80% of incremental investment in storage capacity is required to store duplicate data due to ineffective record retention and disposition practices.  
Knowledge workers are expected to spend 30 to 40 percent of their time managing documents up from 20% in 1997.  Audit and legal costs continue to increase.  It is estimated that on average the cost of culling, de duping and processing responsive documents to e-discovery requests is $18,000 per gigabyte of information reviewed.  It is further estimated that labour costs for finding a misfiled document is $120. 
Today’s digital economy is estimated to be $24 trillion, representing approximately 14% of all goods and services flowing through the global economy. Information has become the currency of exchange.  In order to harness its strategic value it must be effectively managed.  Yet investment in records management remains low on corporate priorities.  40% of respondents to the AIIM survey indicated that the main reason for ineffective record keeping best practices is due to lack of top level executive commitment. 
Implementation of effective recordkeeping best practices must be an imperative given the opportunity costs and compliance risks. What ought to be the common characteristics of an effective records management implementation strategy?  What are the factors to defensible disposition? What should be the measurable performance indicators for a successful records management implementation?  These are questions often asked, yet the answers remain elusive.  Surprisingly, there are some rather critical considerations that apply to all EDRMS projects, regardless of the nature of the organization – private or public institutions, or the size of the project. Recently Bruce Miller, Founder and President of summarized six key strategies that should be considered for a successful records management implementation.  His article was published in Canadian Government Executive.  The link to the article can be found here. 
CORADIX will continue with its educational and thought leadership program in the area of information management best practices. Over the course of the past year we have delivered a number of complimentary seminars and workshops on subjects relating to information governance, data management, electronic records management, and in partnership with  ECM certification programs.  These courses included ECM Practitioner Certification for Microsoft SharePoint and ECM Practitioner and Master Certification programs.  These workshops are delivered by AIIM certified trainers with in-depth expertise in ECM technologies and best practices with specific experience in Government of Canada ECM and records management projects.  The Microsoft SharePoint Practitioner training is delivered by David Wu with in-depth Microsoft SharePoint implementation experience within the Canadian Federal Government. The ECM Practitioner and Master training courses were delivered by Cheryl McKinnon the principal of with particular focus on the ECM field and is a recognized subject matter expert in the areas of digital content creation, governance and content life cycle management best practices.
We will continue to build on these programs in the new year.  Our calendar of activities will include an innovative complimentary seminar –Information Management @ Work ™ that will focus on information governance, classification strategies, records management implementation best practices for Open Text Content Server, Microsoft SharePoint and hybrid implementations.  We are also planning to bring to our clients and consultant network the AIIM Certified Information Professional Certification program   ( We are planning to hold a one day workshop in Ottawa that will empower you to write and successfully earn the designation of Certified Information Professional (CIP). We will continue to deliver in partnership with workshops on electronic record keeping best practices.

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[1] AIIM: Records Management Strategies, 2011
[2] IDC: "The digital universe decade—Are you ready?," May 2010
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Monday, 5 November 2012

Federated Records Management – is it a viable alternative to centralized records management?

The unabated proliferation of content and EDRMS applications that manage it poses a daunting challenge from a records management perspective. Should records be managed in one central environment or should they be federated across disparate content management repositories?  An AIIM research paper on the State of the ECM Industry found that on average 40% of organizations have three or more EDRMS systems deployed. 74% of organizations surveyed use SharePoint for collaboration.  While SharePoint continues to improve its records management functionality, 44%  of organizations are deploying it in conjunctions with more robust ECM applications with a proven heritage in records management capabilities that meet  rigorous RM standards such as ICA Module 2 and DoD5015.2.
There are a number of trade-offs to be considered in assessing the merits of centralized versus federated records management approach.  In a centralized or unified RM implementation there is “one system of record” where all records are classified, declared and where retention and disposition rules are managed.  In a federated RM implementation records are maintained in "their” native repositories, but manage them centrally. That way, the records do not need to be physically moved into a single location, yet a single set of retention rules can be applied. Records are ‘virtualized’ so that they all appear to be within the federated records management application, from which they can be searched, placed on hold, or acted on in other ways.”   A clear benefit of a federated records management approach is that it empowers organizations to preserve existing investments in EDRMS systems.
On the other hand the challenge posed by federated records management is harmonizing or orchestrating records management functions between disparate EDRMS repositories. Such coordination necessitates a high degree of process automation.  “Federated technology will use software algorithms to determine when a document becomes a record. The overall goal is to automate the human judgment and discipline that can make recordkeeping work properly”. Harmonization of meta-data and classification rules need to be effectively implemented in order to avoid inconsistent retention schedules which may result in loss of confidence in disposition processes.
The total cost of ownership associated with a federated records management approach may be prohibitive as well as too complex to maintain given the need for different EDRMS application software expertise. In such as case it may be prudent to opt for a unified records management approach.   In this scenario a single EDRMS repository manages documents, applies the retention and disposition schedules and processes.  There may be two possible approaches. One, to deploy a single EDRMS platform that manages end-to-end content life cycle processes including records.  The other option is a hybrid solution where there may be more than one EDRMS applications deployed however only one is designated as a formal system of record.  Documents deemed as records are “moved” to a centralized RIM repository. For example SharePoint may be used as a team collaboration platform where transitory documents are authored, versioned, shared and processed.   Once a document is deemed as a record it is profiled, declared and classified to the “records center” and from there moved to the RIM application where formal retention and disposition rules are applied and managed.
A hybrid records management implementation strategy is under consideration within the Government of Canada. While Open Text Content Server 2010 is the sanctioned EDRMS platform several departments have also deployed SharePoint as a collaboration platform. In order to preserve such investments while complying with the Government of Canada functional requirements for record keeping based on the ICA Module 2 standard departments are exploring the merits of a hybrid solution.
Bruce Miller of has recently released a comprehensive study endorsed by Open Text which provides best practices associated with a hybrid RIM implementation based on OpenText’s solution called AGA, or Application Governance & Archiving.  AGA allows the two platforms to be integrated. The report may be accessed here.
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