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From the Archives: “Shared drives are a fact of life for most organizations–they are an easy way to store the vast amount of electronic records generated in the course of business. If organized properly, they can be a major asset to any records management program. Unfortunately, not everyone has an organized approach to managing their drives. In fact, we regularly see shared drives that have morphed into chaotic public folders filled with confusing groups of unstructured documents. It’s impossible to find and retrieve information and our clients are constantly asking us to help them get a handle on their drives.”

Today:  Cloud repositories have been added to the facts of life for most organizations, with a huge increase in 2019 as a result of more people working from home due to COVID-19. The combination of remote work coupled with disorganized repositories has made business as usual an uphill battle for many organizations. With COVID-19 changing the landscape in regards to how companies operate, an organized cloud repository is crucial to thrive in today’s business world, and is seemingly increasing in value every day.

If your shared drives weren’t under control, chances are your cloud repositories aren’t either. Here are some common symptoms:

  • Abbreviations in the file name or folder.
  • Acronyms in the file name or folder.
  • No versioning – how do you know if the document you found is a draft or the final?
  • pdf found multiple times for wildly different document types.
  • “Plan to Market”, “Marketing Plan”, “Rollout of Product XYZ”, “Project Plan” – all the exact same document.
  • Duplicates, duplicates, duplicates.
  • Near-duplicates – which is the “real” record?

The root cause is often the lack of a records and information management program that encompasses a retention schedule (so you know how long to keep a document), a taxonomy (so you know what to name a document) and a file plan (so you know where to file it).

Once a program is in place, and has an executive sponsor, technology tools can be used to apply the business logic in the schedule, the taxonomy and the file plan so your employees don’t have to remember.  The content of the document can be parsed and put where it can be managed as the business asset it is.  Analyses of the use of the content can develop  risk assessments around the user community and how long information is kept beyond its useful life “just in case”.

If you’ve been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of “stuff” that your organization has accumulated in the cloud (or in shared drives), call Western Integrated Systems for a health check and plan of attack.