The Corporate Supermarket

By Mike Frazier | Director, Information Governance, TERIS

grocery storeLet’s take a journey to the supermarket to do your weekly grocery shopping. Only, rather than the supermarket you’ve come to expect, with all of the products being neatly organized by store section, department, and aisle, we’ll be going into an alternate reality for a moment.  Imagine that the products on the shelves are strewn about the store haphazardly.  There are no signs above the aisles, and even when there are they don’t necessarily correspond to the products on the shelves.  The produce is mixed together – fruits and vegetables in and out of the refrigerators and other displays regardless of whether they should be cold or not.  The meats and seafood are comingled, some of it not refrigerated and they’re also creeping into the produce section.  Much of the produce appears well beyond its peak ripeness, some of the milk has soured, and much of the meat has “turned.”  The frozen foods look to be well organized and in good shape behind their freezer doors, but the doors themselves are padlocked to keep customers out.  But without a key it’s unclear whether those are the products you need or how you access them if they are.  There are shoppers scurrying around the store picking up random products, putting them in their baskets and walking out the door.  Some come back minutes later, drop the products they just left with, and pick up other products – they repeat this cycle a number of times, and none of them seem particularly phased by the way the store is being operated.  In fact, they seem to have accepted it as just the way things are.  Amazingly, there is also little to no effort being undertaken to organize the shelves and there isn’t much attention being paid to the checkouts either. The security guards look overwhelmed as they try to prevent shoplifting and keep some semblance of order.

Does this sound like a nightmare?  Would you continue to shop at a place like this or would you demand better?  Undoubtedly, none of us would want to make a repeat trip to this store.  In the consumer world this sort of disorganization and clutter would be intolerable.  Why then do we tolerate it in our corporate information management? The vast majority of organizations I talk to are struggling to keep up with the velocity and veracity of their corporate data.  They generally have some, or all, of the following common issues:

  • Unmanageable archive pst files on almost every users hard drive;
  • Network file shares that have little or no organization;
  • Retention policies and schedules that are not executed upon or enforced;
  • Silos of structured and unstructured data that are not uniformly managed;
  • Inefficient data preservation processes for litigation and rising eDiscovery costs;
  • Increasing data storage costs, shrinking IT budgets, and thinly stretched internal resources;
  • Content management software that was sold as the easy fix, only to find upon implementation that it is anything but;
  • Limited visibility into the information being created and stored across the enterprise; and
  • Data that is being kept well beyond any legal or regulatory requirement to do so.

Do any of these issues sound familiar?  If so, are you looking to clean up the mess or is everyone in your organization content to be corporate data shoppers that have accepted that this is just the way things are?  I’m here to tell you that there is a better way.  It will take commitment and accountability to get there, but at least you don’t have to do it alone – TERIS can help.  How?  Give us a call and let’s talk about it.

For more information about how TERIS consulting services can help you with your information governance strategy, please contact us at 512.476.3371, or [email protected].

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