The problem is you, not the technology

Atle Skjekkeland


Change is constant, but the pace of change varies. Some areas may change multiple times per year, while others may only change once per decade.

Change is constant but the pace of change differ
The change is happening slower than we expect, but still faster than what we are ready for. As an example, people in the Nordic are required to change to winter tires before the winter starts, but many are still taken by surprise when the road get icy or we get the first snow. A friend of mine took the below picture one morning with black ice on the roads, which took a lot of people by surprise even though we know it is going to happen every year.
Change is happening slower than we expect

Prepare for the future that will happen

Every organization, product, customer, and executive is now on a digital journey. Effective customer engagement, business operations, and compliance all rely on one thing: effective information management. Organizations can use information to add value, minimize risks, reduce costs, and allow the business to identify new opportunities. But for this to happen, you have to enable it.

The below “Outskirts of Paris” painting by Van Gogh shows how the city planned for the growth of the city by installing lamp posts. They anticipates what would happen, and prepared the infrastructure for the change. You need to do the same for your organization.

Improving your Information Management

What does the constant change mean for information management:

  • Cloud technology like Microsoft 365 changes very frequently – many struggle just keeping up with all the improvements.

  • Regulatory requirements changes less frequently – but it takes time to understand and define what regulations like GDPR means for an organization

  • Information management frameworks changes less frequently – many struggle getting enough resources to keep it up-to-date

  • People and culture changes a lot less frequently – many users want progress, but not change

The consequence of this is that many organizations do a poor job at managing information, which creates both operational, legal, and financial risks. People, processes, and technology are not aligned.

Change your value proposition

When companies buy software as a service, the only lasting asset to manage is the information. Information Management programs have to go beyond risk management, – become instead an enabler for digital transformation. Ensure that your information management program delivers value, and look for quick-wins to get traction. This way you ensure that go in the right direction, and people, processes, and technology can be aligned to support your goal.

Change your requirements

Many organizations have information requirements that made sense in the paper era, but not in the digital era. Your information management requirements have to be easy for users to understand, easy to manage by compliance admins, and easy to implement and automate. Based on your updated value proposition and goal, focus on getting the foundation right with master data, metadata, access control, and retention schedules. Modernize your requirements to make them future-ready. Determine the speed of change per component, and establish roles and responsibilities for keeping it up-to-date, e.g. update master data and metadata.

Change what you require of users

Many information management programs require users to manually identify, capture, and classify records, but users are too busy doing their job than worrying about compliance. Good information governance has to be automated information governance. The key to success is therefore to make it possible to automate your framework. If poor framework, then poor automation.

Image : “Office Space” movie, 1999

Change how you buy solutions

Another problem is the buying process. We often want the same as we have today, just better. Our business and system requirements often reflect this. Imagine that you were tasked with buying a new TV remote for your enterprise. If you focused on documenting must-have vs should-have requirements before involving legal and procurement, how would then the TV remote look like? You usually end up with a solution that works well for the buyer, not the user. Change the game by gathering and grouping use cases. Involve users early to evaluate proof-of-concepts to ensure the solution delivers value to both users and the organization.

Change how you manage solutions

In the on-premise era, we could sometimes install-and-forget solutions since few changes would happen to the technology, regulations, frameworks, and people over the next 5 years. This does not work in the cloud era with frequent technology changes. You need roles and responsibilities for keeping the solution up-to-date with frequent updates and improvements. You also need to get rid of legacy systems that are keeping you hostage, e.g. lift-and-shift to Microsoft 365 with post-migration analysis and classification.

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