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  • Atle Skjekkeland

The business case for establishing information governance for Office 365 and beyond

Updated: 3 hours ago

Many records managers struggle getting enough resources to manage records well across their organization. Information governance is about better managing information assets, not just ensuring compliance. I have below tried to summarize how we establish a business case for improving information governance for Office 365 and beyond. This is part of the information management strategy that I addressed in a previous post.

Strategic benefits

When companies buy software as a service, then the only lasting asset is the information. Effective customer engagement, business operations, and compliance all rely on one thing: effective information management. Benefits to consider:

  • Establish a foundation for digital transformation - using master data as metadata for unstructured information enables you to connect information across your organization. It will then be easier to start business transformation initiatives.

  • Add value - better connecting people, information, and knowledge will improve customer engagement and create a more effective workforce. This results of this could be increased sales (McKinsey claims that 35% of Amazon´s revenue comes from recommendations) and/or increased workforce productivity (e.g 5%+).

  • Identify new opportunities - historic information may be used to predict - and change - the future. This could be estimating when a customer may decide to cancel their subscription, when crime will happen, when a student may decide to drop out of college, etc.

  • Minimize risks - it could take 10 years to establish your company as a solid brand, but only 10 minutes to destroy it if sensitive information is lost or misplaced. We need to implement retention and disposition to meet GDPR requirements for data minimization and storage limitation.

  • Reduce costs - better information management will help to improve and automate information intensive processes. It reduces the process and transactional costs, e.g. cost to process a claim, service a customer.

Operational benefit

Improving information availability, trustworthiness, and completeness will improve workforce effectiveness. It is also creates opportunities for reducing operational costs by replacing and sunsetting legacy content management systems with Office 365 and Microsoft Information Governance / Advanced Data Governance. Benefits to consider:

  • Improve search - better access to information will reduce the time knowledge workers have to spend looking for information.

  • Improve knowledge sharing - better control of your sensitive information means you can open up access to non-sensitive information.

  • Single source of the truth - better information governance means knowledge workers can trust the information they find. They know it is the right file, right version, etc.

  • Improve business continuity - better information governance means that information assets are locked and protected. You are only able to recover deleted or old versions for 90 days with the Microsoft E3 license (365 days with the E5 license), and you avoid this being an issue with record labels in Office 365.

  • Improve information security - knowledge workers collaborate with people both inside and outside your organization. better information governance means that sensitive information is protected wherever it may go (e.g. automatic encryption), or you can stop if from leaving your organization.

  • Reduce operational costs - Microsoft Advanced Data Governance (ADG) is not only found to be better to manage information in Office 365 than many 3rd party content management systems, but it is also sometimes 10x cheaper. This is therefore an opportunity to reduce technical dept and operational costs by replacing and sunsetting 3rd party content management systems with Office 365 and ADG.

Legal benefits

Information governance will ensure compliance with legal regulatory requirements for record keeping, but also privacy requirements for security by design, data minimization, and storage limitation. Benefits to consider:

  • Ensure regulatory compliance - there are a myriad of regulations that require an organization to keep information for a minimum set of years, but privacy regulations that require some information to be deleted when customers or staff leaves to meet principles of data minimization and storage limitation. Storing information forever in Office 365 is therefore not compliant with GDPR and similar privacy regulations. Better information governance with ADG will ensure you meet legal reguirements for both minimuim and maximum retention.

  • Reduce eDiscovery costs - research by CGOC some years ago found that 68% of information kept by organizations is ROT - redundant, trivial, and outdated. Better information governance allows you to automate the deletion of ROT, which will significantly reduce your eDiscovery costs.

Please feel free to contact us if you need help establishing a business case for change. With every challenge comes opportunities, and it often helps having a neutral consulting partner to document the benefits to your executive team.

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