Metric for how long it takes to get messy again

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Does anyone have any metrics or stats on how long, post-cleanup, it takes for an information storage location to become messy again if no controls are applied.

To illustrate: If I wash my kitchen floor, it will take 1-3 hours for my children to spill something, making it grubby again.

So, if I clean up a shared drive/email box/collaboration site – if then left without any additional controls, how long does it usually take to become unmanaged again?

Looking to see if anyone has quantified measures on this, as would like a number to present to other stakeholders on the importance of applied controls post-clean up.

Thanks!

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Melanie Sucha
Manager, Enterprise Information Governance
Alberta Energy Regulator
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Melanie,

That’s a really, really tough question to answer I think.  There are a LOT of variables that could affect that, not the least of which is there’s probably about as many definitions of what qualifies as “messy” as there are people to ask in any given organization ��.


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Melanie –

I’d agree with Lorne that the definition of messy … gets messy.

I tend to look at the problem differently.  I work with people to understand how to better manage files.  We develop the new behaviors and begin to have a legacy system that starts to feel messy to the users.  At some point we work to have a clean up activity.  (Much like organized river cleanups.)

I don’t tend to think in terms of controls.  I tend to think in terms of guidance, support, training, and productivity aids.  Yea, we have to implement some controls because regulations require it but generally if you improve the awareness, I find that controls are much less important, compliance is better, and the experience for everyone is better.

That’s a very long way of saying I’m not sure I would know how to answer your question independent of understanding the training and support the users have received and will continue to receive.

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Robert Bogue
President
Thor Projects LLC
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Melanie,

If you really “left without any additional controls” … i.e. no explanation, motivation, training, support, monitoring etc, the answer is “straight away”. People will simply continue doing what they always were doing; even if they are given some training, they will soon forget / or just ignore it.

I recently did an analysis of my 50 or so projects and engagements from the past 10 years, and discovered that although all had been successful, at least 40 of them had “died” soon after: changes and improvements were soon forgotten; new systems perhaps lingered on for a few years before they were switched off.

Talking to peers and partners in the industry, I found this was the case all through.

No wonder then that IT, Information Management, and “Digital” budgets are getting cut across organisations; no management wants to keep spending on something that has 80% risk of failure.

But what was characteristic of the ones that survived longer: they made a real difference to the people using them and had full management backing. I.e. there was a real commitment and “buy in” all round that was bigger than any objections (whether voiced or not) or organisational drag. Of course all these projects also had included proper training, support etc… but those alone would not have cut it without having / or winning people’s support in the first place.

I’m now changing my whole approach to projects based on those findings; and even changing the business name to reflect that!

Pauli Visuri

Consulting Director

Boon for Business (formerly SharePoint City)

London, UK


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Paul,
I would say you are absolutely correct (IMO, of course).  I’ve stated many times on this board that I believe wholeheartedly that the key to success in ECM, and to a bit lesser degree RM, is around the Change Management (which includes an ongoing commitment to training).  And that Change Management must, must, must be vocally supported by at least one executive level sponsor.  Without that, you end up like an oil and gas company here in Calgary I worked with: you have expensive tools (they had multiple instances of OT, plus multiple instances of SharePoint) that you’re ‘playing’ with.  What you do not end up with is actually effective ECM/RM.

Sincerely,


(sent via webmail)


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Lorne and all;

I agree that changing behavior is the only way to prevent the mess from returning.  Many of us are natural digital hoarders, rarely deleting or cleaning up our files.  I have found that users need re-enforcement in the way of reports that show them how their file storage is growing.  File analytic tools, such as DocAuthority, have emerged that can automate the discovery and reporting on number of files, duplicates and security issues associated with an end-user’s folders.  Reports help users to understand how they are using their storage and reminds them that should be good citizens and do routine cleanups.

Thanks

Alan Weintraub, CIP
Office of the CTO
+1.484.467.5720
DocAuthority.com
@AlanWeintraub
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Alan Weintraub
DocAuthority
alan.weintraub@…
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Thanks all – this is thoughtful input – drives the need to get clear on what “clean” looks like first and how this is measured.

Much appreciated!

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Melanie Sucha
Manager, Enterprise Information Governance
Alberta Energy Regulator
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