Energy & Utility Management

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Category information governance

Sustainability with Intelligent Information Management

Fighting climate change has undoubtedly become, and rightly so, one of the major drivers of people’s behavior in recent years. At the same time, the importance of sustainability to business has grown too. Whilst companies have to a large extent realized their responsibility on sustainability, the ability to find ways to become ever more environmentally healthy remains a challenge.

Many companies have or are initiating their environmental policies, aligned with an increasing amount of similar requirements from their trading partners, which places demands upon their own internal processes. Thus, sustainability has become a clear factor on B2B sales, not only B2C, As people are placing more and more importance on these topics in their personal lives, green values have become an important factor.  Employee demands for sustainability change are becoming selection criteria when applying for a new job. This places far more emphasis on a prospective employer to show a progressive approach to these demands if they are to persuade new talent to join.

Challenges for sustainability in Information Management

The role of Information Management is often not the most obvious when it comes to a sustainable way of working. The most notable effect of modern IT systems is clearly their ability to support collaboration over vast distances, i.e., as an enabler of remote work and avoiding unnecessary travel to business meetings. The COVID-19 epidemic has quite naturally sped up the transformation towards remote work, so communications over remote meetings with Teams, Zoom, etc., have pretty much become the norm.

Even though modern remote meeting systems enable communications over remote connections, they are not very good for non-formal communications that we tend to do while in the office or meeting clients or partners on site. The lack of such non-formal communication places even more importance in information management processes, including tools for employees to easily carry out their responsibilities.

Traditionally, managing the company’s business critical documents has been especially reliant on the non-formal communications taking place in the workplace and physical meetings. Finding the correct documents or previous work has been done by asking around in the office. A lot of documentation is simply replicated, with approval processes largely completed by signing paper copies in the office. Thus, better means for document & content management are certainly one challenge that companies need to address, allowing operations with reduced overheads.

Besides providing means for remote work, there are other factors in Information Management systems that affect the total CO2 footprint of a company. As these systems consume substantial amounts of energy, optimizing their usage of computing resources and digital storage would result in a more sustainable workplace. Unfortunately, such issues were largely overlooked when companies initially set up their information management systems and, therefore, offer considerable room for sustainability enhancement.

Sustainability challenges have gained more attention lately. For example, Capgemini has recently produced a report and an article about “Sustainable IT” that outlines very similar conclusions as mentioned here: Sustainable IT Leads to Significant Benefits But Is Still Not a Focus for Most Organizations.

How to make content management an asset for sustainability

State-of-the-art information management usually relies upon Enterprise Content Management (ECM), i.e., managing a company’s documents and the information related to them. The question is: How can a company become more sustainable by improving the way they are using and managing their documentation?

Reflecting the challenges outlined above, the benefits of an ECM system for a company from the sustainability viewpoint can be summarized by the following three points:

  1. A common system for accessing documents and supporting digitized processes.  This approach enables effective collaboration on the documents, typically involving review & approval processes, even when working remotely. Thus, an ECM system can act as an important enabler for remote work, avoiding travel to meet clients and partners whilst enhancing customer service.
  2. Avoiding document copies.  Document version management in ECM systems and the ability to use document links instead of email attachments, reduce storage requirements, thus saving energy required for maintaining multiple document repositories. In practice, this means that the companies can reduce the amount of network drives & other repositories by utilizing modern ECM systems.
  3. Cloud environments enable computing resources to be securely shared. A cloud-based solution is a collaborative resource distributed among many users / clients, thus using processing power much more efficiently than systems relying on the processors in each users’ PCs or company servers. In this manner, using cloud-based ECM solutions can drastically reduce the overall computing power needed for document management.

Improving a company’s sustainability can be seen as a ripple effect: changes that by themselves seem small but combined together make a real difference. Applying modern ECM technology to enable intelligent information management is an important part of striving towards more environmentally healthy way of working.

Source: https://resources.m-files.com/blog/sustainability-with-intelligent-information-management

Productive Processes and Profit Begins at Home!

In this age of 24/7 Client focus, it is easy for Practice Management to lose sight of the fundamentally important job of looking for internal systematic operating process bottlenecks.

In many cases hidden away in the business, there are functions that remain supported primarily by a mixture of seemingly permanent ‘temporary Shadow Systems” such as spreadsheets and shared drives, all supported by manually driven processes.

Quite often, due to budget prioritization, resource focus or simply not allocating “your own business review time”, opportunities to introduce robust, low-risk digital solutions to help improve productivity and bottom-line profitability are missed.

Typical questions that need to be asked include:

  • Can we ensure our compliance and governance processes are adhered to?
  • Are our data sources secure and controlled?
  • Are we maximizing the value of our data?
  • Do our processes work seamlessly across the Practice and externally to our Clients?
  • Can we guarantee that the GDPR request can be answered?
  • Am I sure that my KPI’s are based upon fact?
  • How can we work smarter?

Many organizations do not have an accurate accounting of their own IT estate. How many and what types of servers? How many and what types of applications? How well utilized is the IT estate? Are there redundancies in application licenses and maintenance? How much of the estate is at the end of service life (EOSL)? Can the estate be consolidated based on newer infrastructure?

Regular analysis of the costs and performance of your legacy applications identifies the gaps, performance degradation, outages, and service interruptions that inevitably arise.  The resulting analytics highlight areas that need to be modernized to improve the performance, availability, and support of your systems.

Importantly, the benefits of process optimization have a wider reach than just the business processes. The operational knowledge and experience needed to manage and oversee people-dependent processes tend to be concentrated in the heads of a few key individuals. This results in greater risk to the business.

Ironically, fewer people with complete knowledge of key processes, also complicate succession planning, making transitions prone to disruptions, relationships with partners strained, and general discontent within the organization.

Ultimately, a more structured, stress-free working environment that enables your teams to function effectively, enhances well-being, and can contribute to staff retention, will enhance productivity, increase customer satisfaction and contribute to greater profitability.

Source: https://resources.m-files.com/blog/productive-processes-and-profit-begins-at-home

Why ‘Set It and Forget It’ Information Governance Matters More Than You Realize

Anyone who has ever spent an appreciable about of time working with business information knows full well that the sheer volume of content within their deployment is growing by the day. But at the same time, the variety of content is also on the rise — which can easily lead to governance issues before you know it.

This was always an issue for organizations in the process of scaling, but it has become increasingly difficult in the wake of the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With more employees working from home than ever, information management solutions have become more than just tools to store important files in the cloud. They are literally the foundation of your workforce right now, allowing people to better communicate and collaborate with one another during a time when they’re not going to be able to get back in the same shared space for the foreseeable future.

This, in essence, is why ‘Set It and Forget It’ governance is so important. Every minute that you spend trying to make sense of your infrastructure or trying to get third-party add-ons to work the way you want, is a minute that you’re not actually acting on the insight contained in your data and using it to propel your business forward. Thankfully, most IT leaders seem to understand the gravity of the situation.

The Power of ‘Set It and Forget It’ Governance: An Overview

M-Files intelligent information management solution helps achieve a ‘Set It and Forget It’ governance strategy. With workflow rules, organizations can maintain consistent records management policies. Documents in a governance workflow would be governed by a ruleset whereby any of the following would happen automatically:

  • Records would be disposed of or retained according to policy
  • Stakeholders would be notified to review batches of documents designated for a certain disposition

Files can automatically be added to this workflow, as well, through metadata. If, for instance, a file matches certain criteria — say, a type of contract — it would automatically be applied to a governance workflow.

Thanks to a lot of these features, information in all repositories across the organization are standardized with common ‘Set It and Forget It’ governance standards. Really, what this means is that there is now no longer a need to transfer important information like records or compliance documents to a totally separate repository. This approach to governance only ever worked with records that you didn’t need to use that often and created quite a significant challenge in terms of management for everything else. Active records obviously need to be available with their critical context intact — meaning in a way that allows you to retrieve all relevant documents and see all crucial tasks also quickly. Now, these types of records can be actively managed within the M-Files platform — which is really the most important advantage of all.

In the end, ‘Set It and Forget It’ governance is all about breaking down yet another data silo so that information can move freely across your organization for the first time. Rather than forcing your employees to use a number of different tools just to get work done — thus increasing the time it takes them to complete those important tasks to begin with — they should have access to absolutely everything they need, all under one roof.

But you also shouldn’t have to work very hard to get to this point — which is really what ‘Set It and Forget It’ governance is all about. It’s about making it easier to get the highest return from your IT spending and from your technological investment, not harder. You’ll still need to make sure that the business strategies that are driving your technology investments are carefully thought out, of course. You should never invest in a solution because you think you need to — it should be the right move to make given whatever you’re trying to accomplish at the moment.

Thankfully, “simple” has emerged as a recurring theme when it comes to businesses who are embracing cloud platforms and process standardization — and it absolutely could not have come at a better moment.

Source: https://resources.m-files.com/blog/why-set-it-and-forget-it-information-governance-matters-more-than-you-realize