7 key considerations for managing your information in place

Objective’s experts examine the benefits of leaving your information where it is.

Organisations have many critical decisions to make over the coming years as the sprawl and growth of information presents an ongoing challenge.

One of those decisions requiring consideration is investment in applications which can allow organisations to manage their data in place, sometimes known as ‘Records-in-Place’ or ‘Manage-in-Place’ applications. 'Manage-in-place’ is where the information is managed or controlled centrally but the information and data is left in the source system. This perspective challenges the conventional approach of consolidating all records into a single Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRMS). While this may be suitable for many users in the organisation, other users need to work in their applications of choice and not directly in the EDRMS.

Objective’s Business Solutions Director, Stuart Meyers and Business Solutions Consultant, Steve Whittington give their thoughts on some of the key considerations and potential benefits if your organisation is contemplating such an initiative.

1. User engagement

Keeping your users engaged and happy in the systems they currently use is always a tricky one to manage – especially when change is afoot. A ‘manage-in-place’ methodology gives organisations the freedom to stay in the systems that users like and are comfortable in. As a result, the information manager gets the benefits of high user adoption of current systems, as well as the ability of maintaining the governance from one place.

2. Simpler retention and disposal

When handling information, retention triggers and actions , a ‘manage-in-place’ methodology allows the information manager to maintain governance rules in one place. The benefit here is by having centralised control, the information manager doesn’t have to re-create or re-configure retention triggers and actions across multiple data silos.

3. To copy or not to copy

One of the most discussed topics pertaining to deploying a ‘manage-in-place’ methodology. The question often arises when a change such as this is mooted whereby an organisation needs to decide upfront whether they choose to keep information in one application and have the risk of data being deleted (from the source systems). The alternative is to have a copy of a record in a secondary system (such as an EDRMS), but this means an organisation’s storage needs will increase. There are both advantages and disadvantages that need to be considered for an organisation to decide which direction they will take.

4. Discovery across multiple data silos

For information managers handling information requests (either from within the organisation or from external sources), this can be quite an onerous task. Do you have all the right information from the right people and sources to meet the request? Is the information you’re providing both correct, relevant, accurate and most importantly, complete? In a traditional EDRMS the content could be discovered through a single search facility. ‘Manage-in-place’ applications typically include federated search capabilities to allow you to search across all connected data silos in one go with the benefits being accuracy and mitigation of risk by discovering more relevant information.

5. Data breaches and Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

Through discovery with a ‘manage-in-place’ methodology, PII becomes visible across all silos. By being able to locate all PII gives organisations the ability to enforce or create policies, to keep only what’s required and reduce the risk by disposing of what’s not. Most importantly, it gives you a clear understanding of the magnitude of risk carried and reduces the risk of keeping unnecessary information.

6. Redundant, Obsolete and Trivial (ROT) Information

Each organisation needs to define what it considers Redundant, Obsolete or Trivial (ROT) information and have policies on how to handle it. ROT can be information of little or no value such as footy tips, tmp files or files related to deprecated software that can no longer be opened. If your information source is full of ROT, it makes it difficult for users to find information and they may potentially use the wrong information for decisions or sharing. With manage-in-place, ROT could be disposed of as per record keeping policy.

7. Duplicate content

Related to ROT is the ability to identify duplicate content across your information silos. The ability to find duplicates allows organisations to make decisions on what to do with them (e.g replace a duplicate with a shortcut to the original). The result is reduced storage space, but more importantly users are always working with the latest version of the content, to share, collaborate on or make decisions with. With this new ability, organisations must then educate their information users on the best ways to avoid duplicate files in future, so the process is not repeated after the duplicates have been removed. A consideration around this is that duplicate detection currently does not branch across different file types (e.g .pdf, .docx) so organisations must be aware of this issue.

'Manage-in-place’ is where the information is managed or controlled centrally but the information and data is left in the source system.

Stuart Meyers

Business Solutions Director

Ready to discover more about manage-in-place?

Contact our Business Solutions Team today.

Objective Experts

Steve Whittington - Business Solutions Consultant

Steve Whittington is an Information Management professional with over 25 years experience. Over his career Steve has held various senior roles in records management in a range of Government agencies. Now as a vendor, Steve uses his wealth of knowledge to assist in facilitating change and improvement in those agencies, helping them scope and implement new initiatives.

Stuart Meyers - Business Solutions Director

With 30+ years in vendor software sales across various roles, Stuart is a versatile business professional with expertise in presales, consulting, marketing, and sales. Specialised in sales enablement and content creation, Stuart thrives on face-to-face solution discovery and embraces those challenges with a can-do attitude.