Practical Steps to Drive Productive Information Management Practices
To help you realize the goal of more productive operations, we've compiled this
list of things you can do to streamline your information management processes
and promote efficiencies across your company.
Interested to learn how to
make these efficiency
gains a reality? Contact
Iron Mountain today and
we'll work with you to put
the insights and best
practices we've learned
from helping over
to use in your business.
The usefulness of information is directly tied to how easily it flows throughout
your company. So when a record is maintained by a sole custodian, exists in a
single physical copy or resides in a lone department, it can create bottlenecks
that slow response times, delay billing cycles and make it difficult to distribute
the necessary information in a timely manner.
Eliminating these bottlenecks is a great way to boost efficiency and maximize
the usability of the information you create and share each day. To do so, think
about how a specific piece of information is used to support a given business
process. Ask yourself who needs it, when and for what reason. Then, review
access requirements, examine current workflows and determine a means of
storing, indexing and — when appropriate — imaging different types of
information to provide records to users across your business.
Look for the Paper trail
Despite our best efforts to eliminate it from the workplace, paper continues to
be a prominent part of many business processes. Because paper-intensive
activities typically require you to manually print, distribute and store records,
they are often the source of many errors and operational inefficiencies.
Thankfully, removing paper from these processes is a sure-fire way to reduce
errors and streamline processes. To start, analyze your workflows to determine
where paper is not required, and adjust these processes to prepare for the
transition to digital records. Then, establish a procedure for the timely
conversion of paper records to an electronic format. At the end of these steps,
you'll find it much easier to access a particular piece of information and put it to
use toward a variety of ends.
Do more with less,
and do it as quickly
as possible. It's advice all
companies must heed in
order to compete in
today's economic climate.
However, given the
amount and variety of
businesses must access,
distribute and manage
each day, improving the
way it flows from person
to person to drive
productivity has become
no small task.
Zoom in on Copies
Although we've become accustomed to conducting business via electronic
means, we continue to create more physical copies than we need. And whether
these copies are piled on an employee's desk or stored in a filing cabinet, keeping
too many on hand can significantly hinder agility and slow response times.
To make sure this isn't the case, examine your current processes and look for
areas where redundant copies are draining efficiency. Any situation where
multiple copies are created can be refined with the help of centralized,
electronic storage that provides company-wide accessibility. Next, develop and
enforce policies and procedures that require any copies to be properly
destroyed after being used. This way, your employees will have access to the
records they need without filling your office with unnecessary paper.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Events like fires, floods, audits or lawsuits can happen at a moment's notice.
When they do, any information security lapses are thrown into the spotlight.
And if it's difficult to restore and access critical records, your business suffers
and can even grind to a halt.
Recognizing that the unexpected can — and does — happen is the first step in
being able to quickly recover from a disruption or respond to a discovery
request. But that's only half the battle. You must also implement disaster
recovery processes that ensure a paper record — as well as the system on which
electronic information resides — can be restored following an unplanned event.
You'll also need to develop litigation readiness programs that help you identify
and produce the records needed during a lawsuit in a timely manner.
Create Business Agility
Quickly responding to requests from internal and external customers alike is
highly dependent on your ability to locate the required information in a timely
manner. To do this as efficiently as possible, you must optimize your workflows
so they are able to flex with the changing needs of your company.
To achieve this goal, simplify the workflow to the point that it requires the
fewest touches, exchanges or approvals to complete, so that as the volume of
activity changes, you can easily compensate. Improving throughput in this way
helps to create business agility, which has far-reaching implications on your
ability to achieve high customer satisfaction marks, deliver products to market
on time, share information with suppliers and customers and flexibly manage
resources to address emerging business challenges.