Dog laying on paperwork.
Without a strong information governance program in place, chaos ensues PHOTO: Chris Scott

Asking employees to manage information governance requirements on their own is optimistic at best and deluded at worst.

And yet company after company launch digital workplace solutions without first creating a strong information governance program, one of the requirements of a successful digital workplace strategy, according to Brad Teed, Chief Technology Officer at Houston-based Gimmal.

Teed shared those thoughts in a CMSWire and Gimmal webinar, “4 Essential Capabilities for a Successful Digital Workplace Strategy.”

Avoiding Digital Workplace Chaos

Too many organizations, Teed said, “jump right in” and leave information governance at the individual level. Left to their own devices, some employees will access content in OneDrive for Business, others will turn to systems like Box. IT follows its own guidelines and rules for information governance.

Organizations have many systems, some of which are governed and some of which are not.

“Chaos ensues,” Teed said. “That’s what happens when you jump right in and try to create a digital workplace.”

Teed recommended implementing an information governance framework, to support consistent information architectures, branding, standardized data integrity and content access — without burdening the end user.

Taking Information Governance Out of Employee's Hands

End users simply want to access the files they need without worrying about archiving and retaining information. Compliance should not cause stress, it should be baked in through automation and rules. Gimmal's tools support this through information governance processes.

“We don’t want to have to train every single user in the organization how to manage records,” Teed said. “That strategy has historically been unsuccessful.”

Gimmal works with companies deploying SharePoint or Office 365 to create digital workplace solutions that help align data, content and processes into a unified digital workplace environment, while providing connections to other important business tools, such as ERP systems within SAP, HR systems and learning management systems.

Gimmal’s solutions extend information security and compliance to all stages of an organization’s information lifecycle, setting parameters for questions such as: how long do you retain content? Which is the most recent version? When was a document created? 

“We do things like auto-assign metadata which trigger actions based on that metadata,” Teed said. 

Provide a Personalized Experience 

All of the governance concerns will be moot if employees don't use the digital workplace tools to start with. When organizations personalize end users' experience with these tools, adoption rates improve.

Teed recommended some low hanging fruit to engage end users, including displaying calendars, local weather, individual tasks list, quick access to favorites throughout the information lifecycle.

Along with company-wide exposure to important people, concepts, sites and documents, the home page should include a customized sidebar for each user, which displays links, documents, notifications, calendar information or custom applications relevant to that specific employee.

Improve Search, Create Actionable Results

Teed said during the webinar that he “can’t talk long enough about search.” 

Search plays a critical role in keeping information in circulation and supporting employees in their work. A digital workplace needs to provide search that works across all content silos, pulling information together and increasing its value.

Organizations should:

  • Provide extended search criteria for accurate and consistent results
  • Ensure search configuration is available throughout the environment
  • Eliminate the need to uniquely configure search for every business requirement
  • Easily adapt to changing requirements using centralized configuration. 

Everyone Can't Be a Records Manager

Gimmal webinar

Teed stressed the dual topics of compliance and governance throughout the webinar. 

Organizations should not leave it in the hands of employees to decide what’s compliant and what’s not.

By providing a single interface, Gimmal gives businesses a centralized location from which to manage all compliance concerns within their SharePoint or Office 365 environment.

From this view, business managers can create and assign compliance policies automatically and report on policies, legal citations and provide citation management security.

“You have to have information governance,” Teed said. “Your strategy needs to change as information changes and time changes. You can’t make everyone a records manager."