Information: Explore the Value Proposition

Topics: Govern Information

A well-known T.S. Eliot quote distinguishes between cost and value. In which camp would your firm's records and information program reserves fall? Most firms consider their archives to be more of the former. In reality, they're holding a great deal more of the latter.

Extracting value from the avalanche of information bearing down on your company may seem nearly impossible, or, at the very least, overwhelming. After all, an AIIM study found that, though long predicted to decline, the volume of paper typically maintained by a records and information program is still on the rise for 42 percent of organizations. This is true even as employees, customers and business partners generate electronic information from social media, email and other digital sources.

What's more, PwC reports that 36 percent of businesses keep all of their information, just in case they need it, and well beyond the end of its useful life. This increases the likelihood that valuable "nuggets" will get lost in the shuffle, blocked by all that old useless data. This makes information management that much harder.

See Information Through an Economics Lens

Despite these hurdles, you must set out to extract value from your information. Doing this can fuel your company's growth and innovation, pulling you ahead of competitors with new products ore services, targeted customer marketing and even the monetizing (selling or leasing) of the information itself.

Enable your organization to embrace the "value" side of Eliot's distinction by taking the following steps:

Step #1: Consider information an asset.

If you're going to get value from your information, view it as an asset. Granted, putting a dollar value on information can be difficult—and your organization is most likely to view it as a cost. If so, consider this: The Ponemon Institute puts the average cost of a breach in 2014 at $5.85 million. With that sobering potential cost in mind, you may want to give more thought to how information can drive your business, differentiate your company from its competitors, and, when property used, actually help you make money.

Step #2: Look for ROI (return on information).

As you start to view information as an asset, it's easier to determine its potential return. Evaluate your information access and workflow plans. As part of this exercise, you can also determine how to optimize both plans for greater efficiencies.

Maximize ROI by organizing your records information management program, keeping in mind the potential business value of each type of information asset. Also consider digitizing documents to more easily access high-value key information.

Step #3: Take a "smart risk approach."

Reduce information volumes so that you can more easily find, classify and prioritize your most valuable data. Doing this can also better inform your document imaging and records storage best practices. What's more, you'll better avoid the costs of discovery and data breaches, since you will always know which information to protect and for how long. By setting such risk controls, you can self-assess and monitor your records management program.

Step #4: Apply analytics.

Once your information is under control, apply some big data analytics, to see what that information can mean for the future of your business. You'll find opportunities for future growth and identify ways to improve efficiencies.

It's All About Governance

Extracting value from your archives starts and ends with solid information governance. A trusted partner can help you build a valuation framework that can define the roles, policies, processes and metrics that your organization needs to manage the lifecycle of information. With a structure in place and your organization adhering to it, your firm should stay on the value side of Eliot's value proposition.

Do you have questions about records and information management? Read additional Knowledge Center stories on this subject, or contact Iron Mountain's Information Management team. You'll be connected with a knowledgeable product and services specialist who can address your specific challenges.

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Records Management Solution Brief
Records Management Solution Brief

Topics: Govern Information

With Iron Mountain Records Management services, you'll have the resources you need to effectively store and safeguard your information assets, and make them easily accessible to individuals across your organization.