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5 digital trends transforming Information Protection and Governance

The records management (RM) profession has historically struggled to translate the principles of the paper paradigm to the ever-changing world of electronic information. In the last decade, more enterprises have embraced cloud technologies to put their people on a digital-first path and accelerate the adoption of web, mobile, social, and cloud content services, revealing gaps in many traditional RM applications.

Furthermore, regulations increasingly cover a broader spectrum of electronically stored information, e.g., voicemails, chats, videos not just what have traditionally been called “records.” This has created new challenges for both Enterprise information architects and cloud vendors to protect and govern new forms of content collaboration and communication.

The rapid shift to digital workplace in last decade has strongly affected both enterprise customers and software vendors. For one, the enterprise content management (ECM) and Record management (RM) principles have consolidated into Information governance. Traditional Record management roles across enterprises are transforming to Information governance management.

Information governance now covers and describes a holistic, life-cycle view of the creation, use, preservation and defensible disposition of digital information.

The digital-first shift also strongly demonstrates a continuous shift in the market, with ever more tools that once belonged in the realm of specialist vendors now being part of the large enterprise cloud suites (e.g. Microsoft 365, Azure, Amazon etc.) able to deliver the latest digital solutions to meet the growing needs of a modern digital workplace, yet enable enterprise architects and RM professionals to apply governance controls.

Here are the 5 trends which have disrupted and transformed the traditional ECM and RM practices.

Infotechtion view on digital trends
Infotechtion view on Information governance trends

1. ECM and RM shifts to Information Governance

Information of corporate value is increasingly generated outside of traditional desktop applications, and managing record compliance in separate archival systems is no longer sufficient. For example, Work-in-progress documents, cross enterprise collaboration on Microsoft Teams all require governance, including protection from unauthorized access, use, deletion, or disclosure across their life cycle. Cloud platforms like Microsoft 365, are leading the transformation through embracing the change and embedding Information protection and governance capabilities across all of Microsoft 365 suite.

2. Cloud platforms challenging records archival softwares

The race to provide software-as-a-service (SaaS) already captured a significant proportion of the enterprise collaboration market a decade ago. With continuous improvements in ability to govern, protect information from both insider and external threats, the global market is projected to reach $240 billion in 2020, according a report by Forrester.

Several fortune organisations and Infotechtion customers are already in Microsoft 365 platform replacing traditional RM and ECM tools which can no longer easily integrate with rapidly changing cloud based business productivity tools. Our expectation is that the evolution of cloud platforms like Microsoft Office 365 will shift enterprises to consolidate a significant fraction of their existing solutions from the Legacy ECM / RM suites to integrated Cloud platforms over the next 5 years.

3. Digital Preservation is a key player in Information governance

Digital preservation is no longer about file format standards ensuring long-term accessibility of information, but also ability react in real time to discover and protect information across multitude of communication and collaboration formats to meet regulatory / litigation demands. We are observing that digital preservation and information discovery is becoming a key prerequisite for any software to be accepted as a holistic information governance solution. Recently, an oil and gas major decided to make eDiscovery integration a key criteria for implementation of automated disposition policies across all of their enterprise content-services and communication platforms.

Cloud platforms like Microsoft 365 are embracing this challenge and embedding eDiscovery across all their applications including the recent Microsoft Teams which has gained significant market share in 2020.

4. Information automation is now a reality

The technology to automatically capture , categorise and apply information governance policies has matured at a great pace as leading content-services platforms leverage machine learning automation to make the human participation in a business process more effective and repeatable especially in high volume use cases. This is a game-changer in the race to consolidate all of organisations unstructured information to cloud platforms.

"AI and machine learning is being infused into every experience in a deep way, and you are going to see a lot of that." Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella

Even in the most aggressive of these organizations, only 20-30% of their content is in the cloud platform.70-80%of the remaining is in share drives, email repositories (especially Microsoft Exchange), legacy ECM / RM systems, and increasingly, in cloud file sync and share solutions, such as Box and Dropbox. This is the content that is most in need of governance and is a key use case for machine learning technologies to automate, ingest and apply information governance policies. Microsoft announced Project Cortex, a new service to transform organisation data into corporate knowledge through use of AI based automated classification. Read more about this in two blog posts on automating information migration and automate records management in Microsoft Office365.

5. Information Governance is 'top of mind' for most CXO

Cloud adoption with integrated information governance has become one of the key initiatives in organizations. Demonstrable compliance (gdpr, ccpa etc.) is no longer a legal initiative.

“We have to treat privacy as a human right. We have to have end-to-end cybersecurity built into technology. We have to have both a set of ethical principles that guide our AI, but most importantly we have to translate that into engineering practices that are there, that are part of everyday engineering.” Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella

This drives a significant culture change and a clear 'tone from the top' towards a need for holistic information protection and governance programme.

Our Recommendations

Enterprises on digital transformation journey must set their sights on embedding their information governance strategy with business priorities, keep pace with new technology platforms, and adapt to more agile approaches to cloud adoption program delivery. The evolution of the Microsoft365 proposition of compliance-by-design creates a standard platform for information governance that shifts the advantage from the legacy ECM repository vendors to Microsoft information governance combined with partner led configurable solution components and frameworks to accelerate the implementation of compliant solutions.

We believe that compliant solutions will continue to drive significant investments by large organization. Start your journey with a clear business case and a mature template for Information governance strategy.


Infotechtion is a vendor independent consulting firm specializing in information governance and protection strategic advisory and adoption services.

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