Recent studies and articles make the case for better information management:
Information overload is escalating. While IT departments look for solutions, relatively few companies have policies and procedures in place deal with the issue or help their employees do so.
Here are some tips:
Gaining control over the information can help ease the sense of overload.
Relying on interaction through the inbox takes away an individual’s control of the information that comes to them – they are at the mercy of information that other people deem important.
An alternative way to interact that gives an individual control over information that is most important to them is through the use of internal social-networking tools, such as shared web pages (known as wikis) and collaborative sites, such as those facilitated through SharePoint.
Another way to focus on what’s important is to set up alerts and feeds from disparate sources, based on keywords. Of course, this means more email, so it’s also important to set up rules to direct less important messages into specific folders that can be checked only when needed.
Control can also be achieved by assuming a proactive, rather than reactive, work ethic. Organize the day into blocks of time that are quiet, focused work, where email is not checked, and specific times when you check email. During the quiet times, post a do not disturb message for instant messages.
Prioritize and Organize
Plan how to manage the messages as they arrive. Messages that can be dealt with in less than two minutes should just be taken care of and then deleted immediately. If the message requires more time, delegate it or defer it. If the message is deferred, move it to an action folder or a to-do-list (Microsoft Outlook has the ability to easily flag emails for follow up in the future).
It’s a well understood principle – the more email you send, the more you get. Here are some specific ways you can better manage the information flow:
While individuals can take control on their own, organizations that have well written, established and enforced policies and procedures will find that information management has been streamlined. These organizations will be rewarded with increased productivity.
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Alvin Toffler
Rapid changes in technology make this quotation particularly true in the e-discovery realm. New approaches, different digital sources of information, new and improved technology, and the practical realities of limited resources all challenge litigators to approach each file in new and innovative ways to minimize the costs of discovery. In short, one size does not fit all.
The moral of this story is to stay flexible. Be adaptable. Don’t get tied down to one approach, one tool, or one piece of software. In the words of Toffler, “learn, unlearn and relearn” to ensure that all of the phases of discovery are conducted in the most timely and cost effective manner possible. This is simple but not easy. It requires e-discovery literacy - a commitment to stay current on new and emerging discovery approaches and technologies: early case assessment, processing, predictive coding. Your law firm and your clients will thank you.
If you don’t know what’s out there, ask your IT department, a forensic vendor, or call us. We’re always happy to discuss all things e-discovery.
How do organizations manage their important business and legal records. If they have an information management systems (less than half of the top 1000 companies in Canada do), it is not deployed across the entire enterprise, Most are being used as repositories to store even more copies of the records. The conventional wisdom in most organizations is just to keep everything, since it’s cheaper to store electronic content than it is to dispose of it. This is proving to be a falsehood.
When asked, the vast majority of business executives do not even consider records management to be worth consideration. The reasons for this are complex, but a recent study by AIIM revealed that:
Traditional principles from “paper-based” records management don’t work anymore. Volume alone is killing the manual processes, and the nature of the records is preventing organizations from specify how they should be stored or managed.
This lack of vision, combined with a non-workable existing records management strategy, has led to a chaotic collection of digital records. Systems such as Sharepoint offer promise, but are not being utilized effectively (most shared drives and SharePoint sites look like a digital landfill with little or no control).
Email is probably the largest contributor to the current mess, but is by no means the only variable. Massive duplication of records is quickly becoming the largest source of headaches for enterprise IT personnel.
The key to solving this dilemma is to move beyond the paper paradigm for records management. But how can this be accomplished? One way is to give Records Management a direct connection to a C-level executives, so that decisions involving risk are mitigated. Records Management also needs to shift to more of a “disposition management” focus – managing risk (and storage costs) by thinking about what goes rather than what stays.
The first step is getting help to figure out how bad the mess is, and what can be done to clean it up. Wortzman Nickle can show you the way.
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