Mobile and cloud create new paradigms, data governance best practices

Cloud computing and mobile-device use have changed how businesses create information. Can they also help develop new data governance best practices?

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Cloud computing and mobile-device use are changing the way companies produce information -- and in doing so, they're creating new challenges for organizations looking to develop data governance best practices. But could this trend toward data governance actually help organizations struggling with information management?

Today, organizations are looking for more economical, more efficient ways to address their information technology needs.

Pamela Doyle,
director, Imaging Products Group, Fujitsu Computer Products of America Inc.

Certainly, cloud and mobile are radically changing the way businesses think about data and access: Recent statistics released by Forrester Research Inc. show that by 2016, the number of smartphones in the U.S. alone is expected to grow to 257 million. Forrester also predicts that by 2016, iPads and other tablets will be users' primary computing devices.

"Given this mobile adoption forecast, extending content capture and content access from the mobile world is something every organization has to consider today," said Pamela Doyle, director of the Imaging Products Group at Fujitsu Computer Products of America Inc. "This is further going to extend the benefits we have seen organizations achieve with distributed capture and with scan-to-process, if you are able to capture more critical content very early in the business process."

Doyle made her remarks at a recent "boot camp" in Boston sponsored by the information management professional organization AIIM. Social media, the cloud and mobility are combining not only to create new ways of processing data, presenters said, but also to force organizations to develop new paradigms for how they manage information, according to AIIM boot camp presenters.

Young people's expectations are changing when it comes to mobility in the workforce -- they want to use their personal devices for everything they do, said Peggy Winton, vice president and chief marketing officer at AIIM. She compared this trend to social media use: Some people create problems because when they use Facebook or other social media, they don't make a distinction between how they communicate with friends and with work colleagues. However, rather than just shutting down social media use, companies must figure out how to use it to the business' advantage, Winton said.

"Does anyone train you on how to use Facebook?" Winton said. "I think it's better to be proactive, and instead of putting the gates down and saying 'no' and talking about control, we need to talk about governance -- there's a big difference."

Cloud computing and mobile device use can actually improve enterprise content management opportunities for organizations, Doyle said. Using distributive capture and transaction-capture techniques on information created in the cloud and on mobile devices provides huge benefits, she said.

More on data governance best practices

Metrics help prove information management ROI

Metadata's role in information governance strategy

"Today, organizations are looking for more economical, more efficient ways to address their information technology needs," Doyle said. "In general, it will help your organization drive business process improvement, resulting in significant cost savings, improving your customer service, enabling collaboration and allowing you to demonstrate compliance with various guidelines."

For example, modern organizations can pick and choose content management hosts. Some content can be stored in an application that's running on premises, and other data can be stored in the cloud based on whether what's needed is to protect confidential information or to enable collaboration.

"This content can then be delivered to critical lines-of-business applications that are running either on premises or in the cloud, and you can access that content with a device of choice," Doyle said.

Streamlining data governance

With multiple points of entry for content in the typical organization, it's important to have options in setting data governance best practices.

"The challenge is to create a common or consistent interface and mechanism to bring that content into the environment and bring it under control so you're following the policies of the organizations as part of the process," said Sandy Leavenworth, Northeast regional manager at KnowledgeLake Inc., an enterprise content management solution provider.

Organizations also need to develop a consistent taxonomy structure so auditors and employees can understand where the data comes from, and when it was created and by whom. This metadata proves invaluable to establishing actionable data governance best practices, Leavenworth said. "It makes the retrieval process much faster -- you can set up alerts, you can set up a workflow," he said.

Of course, this multipronged approach to data governance best practices is not easy or cheap. Organizations must look at their budgets and their needs, and determine exactly how they want to capture and store information, and what data -- if any -- they can ignore.

"The volume is not going to go away, the variety is not going to go away, and the velocity is not going to go away," Winton said. "Think about what you can do with a lot of your intelligence and information, and think about what you can do without."

Let us know what you think about the story; email Ben Cole, Associate Editor. For IT compliance news and updates throughout the week, follow us on Twitter @ITCompliance.

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