The first step in cleaning a shared drive is to make sure the right people are involved. Cleaning and organizing the content on shared drives requires input from a number of constituencies. All of the following groups will benefit from an organized share drive, so they should all be willing to participate in defining requirements. Gather and formalize requirements and polices that will help cleaning up by talking to:
Information Technology – IT policies and requirements often come from trying to meet the storage and information security needs of the organization. As an example, IT will have policies and requirements regarding whether employees can download applications. Therefore, decide if you can delete or isolate any applications you find according to policy. Applications are not likely to work in their new M365 home and they will only take time and resources at a critical juncture in your migration process. IT will also have opinions about decommissioning, backups, security models, and other requirements that will impact retention and sensitivity labeling.
Human Resources – HR can be very helpful in connecting content with business functions by identifying who works where and with what content. They are also involved with terminated employees and their content. Both of these are critical in developing a classification structure. Decide if you need to migrate content “owned” by employees who no longer work for you.
Litigation Support – Litigation staff are concerned that you not delete anything that you are required to preserve. If your organization’s process for preservation is “in place,” their participation is critical. They should tell you what needs to be preserved and if that impacts migration efforts.
Records Management – If your goal is reducing the volume of storage on shares, there are some good opportunities using a data map. Quick-wins are the high-volume short-retention categories. Figure out, for example, what is in your General Administration retention category. Pencil requests, travel confirmations, and employee recognition files can be easy to identify and may be voluminous. Nothing is more maddening than migrating thousands of files over many weeks to M365, only for them to be immediately deleted because they are expired records.
The business – The actual content creators in the organization should be primarily involved with figuring out how to set up the foldering/taxonomy/labeling structure based on what is important to them. At the enterprise level, the files on the shared drive may be able to be organized in a more useful manner. If these teams are involved in some of the work group and user level cleanup recommendations below, their adoption and satisfaction with M365 will be optimized.
In addition to a retention policy and schedule, transforming shared drives may also require some less-obvious additions to existing enterprise policies:
What will you do with files that someone has specifically identified as garbage, as a duplicate, or as outdated?
Which duplicate (of several) are you going to keep?
Is a rendition (a pdf, for example) a duplicate? What about a zip file?
When does a draft become obsolete?
When is a computer program a record?
All of these perspectives will make the process of getting rid of information much easier and cleaner.
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