Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Your Business Needs to Rightsize

A Dozen Really Good Reasons Why Your Business Needs to Rightsize its Information Footprint

“Rightsizing Your Information Footprint” is my made-up term for turning your Information Parking Lots into a Goldie Locks and the Three Bears amount of information — not too much, not too little, but just the right amount. There is too much digital content with more created continuously. We need to clean up the past in a defensible way. While the daisies are beautiful at the beginning of their life, they lose their appeal as they decay. The same is generally true for information. Businesses also need a better path forward so that content comes into being because the business needs it, and all records are better managed.

Too much stuff, you fail to be business efficient and you get your clock cleaned when litigation strikes.
Too little information, you can’t run your business and you fail to comply with record keeping requirements, among other things.

So here are 12 remarkably compelling reasons to Rightsize, right now:

1. Information is growing at such a rapid rate that costs related to storing, finding, using, migrating, extracting, preserving information are too high
2. Knowing what information exists and where it is parked to be able to efficiently run your business is too complex
3. Technology has failed to find a good way to manage content with little impact to employee productivity (but Kahn is working on auto-classification to help)
4. Employees get too much content to be able to properly manage it
5. Content has sat for years in old Information Parking Lots and it is a decaying asset (Working on my new book called Chucking Daisies to help companies deal with this precise issue)
6. Companies spend too much time looking through way too much irrelevant stuff to respond to litigation, audits and investigations
7. Companies have out of date records used against them in litigation, which could have been disposed earlier
8. Systems are breaking down or no longer work as efficiently as they should, due to information volume burden
9. Data parking lots are being ill-managed and that failure is causing other failures, not the least of which is failing to harness needed information to be “faster, better and cheaper.”
10. Going Green. No list is complete until it has a bit of Green. Technology is using all kinds of energy and by cutting your energy, emission and every other relevant footprint, you are greener, you look better to the outside world and maybe the marketers have something Green to say about the effort
11. Information finds itself on unsanctioned data Parking Lots, when sanctioned ones fill up, making life more challenging
12. Along with volume, growth has been the creator of many new Information Parking Lots (Smart phones, Cloud, Twitter, Blogs, etc.) which makes management that much more challenging

Rightsizing will never be as easy as it is right now as information Parking Lots grow and grow. Clean house of digital data junk. Develop a thoughtful plan for future information retention. Rightsize now because it’s good business.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Too much data is bad

The June 30, 2011, The Economist covers a story about “Too Much Information” and “How to cope with data overload.” At a minimum that means the folks across the pond are also realizing at some point too much data is a bad thing. The business world is at the place where we are over run with digital stuff and it is now taking away a competitive advantage, negatively impacting customer response times and impacting our ability to be the nimble business machine honed to win.

I have been writing about this topic for years but now it is at a point that business executives need to act. We have more technologies making more content with or without our involvement 24-7. Data volume nearly double every year and we couldn’t manage last year’s stuff efficiently. It only gets harder and something has to give. The real answer is not building bigger clouds of storage stacks. We can’t keep everything forever and there must be a prudent way to make wheat/chaff decisions about what should exist and what can be disposed of.

Three things you need to think to do right now:
1. Develop a team to start to clean up the past. Existing data needs to go away according to law and policy now.
2. Better decisions need to be made about what comes into existence. Not everything needs to be retained.
3. Directives that stop the wheels of progress due to FUD (Fear,Uncertainty and Doubt)should not rule the day. Fight the lawyer’s shotgun approach to preservation. For example, if back up tapes are recycled regularly don’t stop that process if a lawsuit if filed, unless required to.

Get your information house in order. Your business depends on it.