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Breaking Down the AIIM State of the Industry Report: User Expectations about Records Management & Information Governance

In the previous article, we broke down the first section of the AIIM State of the Industry Report,  which spoke broadly about information management problems users are trying to solve with Content Services Platforms. This go-round, we’re talking information governance and records management.

As a primer, AIIM and Mancini surveyed knowledge workers on various facets of information management. The responses around information governance and records management give us a little front-line insight into three key areas:

  • The perceived importance of automation in information protection and compliance
  • The pervasiveness of automation in key information governance processes
  • Which is a more persuasive argument for tighter information governance practices — risk or value?

Let’s dive in:

The Perceived Importance of Automation in Information Protection and Compliance

Information governance and records management can often take a backseat to larger information management objectives, or at least the mindshare given these topics. The report says:

Convincing management that they should even “care” about information governance is a problem for 48% of organizations.

Yet, the implementation of good governance practices is core to compliance initiatives. It seems executives are forging a path towards automation information governance as much as possible, in an attempt to make it something that happens behind-the-scenes.

Respondents were asked about the importance of transforming information governance and compliance with automation in the workplace.

Source: AIIM State of the Industry – Content Services

Over half of organizations see compliance/governance automation as highly important or a deal-changer. But are they acting on it? Which processes are they automating?

Automation of Key Information Processes

Process automation presents huge gains in productivity. By eliminating manual processes, knowledge workers are freed up to tend to value-adding core tasks. Yet, according to the below chart, many organizations are only partially automating processes that could be fully automated with intelligent information management.

Source: AIIM State of the Industry – Content Services

When indexing the general level of automation, the most automated process according to respondents is monitoring unusual user activity and potential breaches.

Consequently, the least automated process is detecting and deleting trivial or duplicate content.

The glaring fact is that, while 100% automation of these processes seems achievable, only around 10% of organizations are achieving complete automation for each of these processes. Detecting personally identifiable information (PII) leads the way in the 100% automated category and that stands to reason as regulations like GDPR and soon CCPA will force the hand of organizations to shore up their management of that data.

Intelligent information management (IIM) solutions like M-Files can help organizations push process automation to new heights, addressing every one of these processes quite eloquently. Here’s how — from top to bottom:

Detecting PII: M-Files Discovery uses artificial intelligence to crawl through legacy folders to find and manage sensitive information.

Monitoring unusual activity & potential breaches: With an IIM platform like M-Files, this can be automated on a couple of levels: (1) at the server-level with Microsoft Azure AD, for example, and (2) proactive monitoring is inherent in permissions contained in metadata fields. That way, rather than responding to unusual user activity, organizations can get ahead of it with customized permission rules.

Monitoring performance of records management system: Records management throughout the lifecycle of documents can be automated and so can monitoring with automatically generated reports detailing which files have been disposed of and where other records might be in their lifecycle.

Detecting and deleting trivial or duplicate content: In the case of trivial data, metadata architecture across repositories allows M-Files Discovery to detect which information might be important and which would be trivial. As for duplicate content, M-Files can detect and notify the user upon introduction of a document into the system. A good example would be storing an email that is already in the system. The IIM platform would recognize and notify the user that it’s a duplicate email.

Flagging files for deletion based on retention rules: Not only can M-Files flag items for deletion to be reviewed manually, it can automatically delete records based on a predefined lifecycle workflow.

Tagging, adding or enhancing metadata based on rules: Any IIM system worth it’s salt leans heavily on metadata as a core function. The M-Files platform relies heavily on metadata and can even suggest metadata values based on content extracted using artificial intelligence.

Which Drives Information Governance Initiatives — Risk or Value?

Survey respondents were asked: Which is more persuasive in talking about governance — the RISK of information assets or their VALUE?

The results were fairly even:

Source: AIIM State of the Industry – Content Services

It’s a philosophical question, really. The driver behind most information governance initiatives tends to be avoidance of risk — mainly by having “all of your ducks in a row” so to speak. AIIM raises a great point in their report (which we highly recommend you download):

For many organizations, the link has yet to be effectively made between the prudent management and stewardship of information assets and the ability of an organization to use this capability to deliver enhanced value and customer experiences.

It confirms that, although respondents put a premium on risk AND value 47% of the time, the connection to value of information governance can still get a bit lost.

In the final installment of this series, we’ll talk about how the spending patterns for content services are changing.

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