Tagged: SharePoint

Solving the Shared Drive Problem

The sexy Information Governance problems today are (in rough order of sex appeal):

  • Social Media
  • Big Data
  • Cloud Computing

Somewhere waaaay down at the bottom of this list comes, “Governing shared network drives.”

However, in real life – outside of the hype cycle – solving the shared drive problem is right near the top of the list for my clients. The massive growth of SharePoint has been driven in large part by enterprises (or at least, departments within enterprises) looking for an incremental and easy replacement for shared drives.

However, most project teams tend to underestimate just how “incremental” the shift from shared drives to SharePoint or ECM is. In fact, in my experience, the problem is vexing enough that many project teams effectively throw up their hands and end up moving the big pile of unstructured manure from one unmanaged, fragrant corral to another (albeit a less fragrant, more attractive corral).

My firm has worked on this problem many times, and we are excited about a new partnership with Perram Corporation that allows us to finally bring intelligent process and intelligent technology to bear on this problem in a pragmatic, real-world way.

On Thursday, February 16th, we are going to walk you through some of the most useful things we have learned about this problem. We are hosting a webinar at 11 ET, which you can register for here. Hope to see you there.


Governing SharePoint: New Executive Information Governance Brief

“As soon as IT sets it up so that people can self provision and create these new sites, it’s always amazing to see how it proliferates . . .”

Bill Gates, speech at the first Microsoft SharePoint Conference, May 15, 2006

One of the key attractions of SharePoint – for IT at least – is the ease with which users can set up and use SharePoint sites with little to no involvement from IT. While this may drive adoption of the product and reduce the burden on IT departments, it can make IG more challenging, as sites can be set up with little or no enterprise control or insight into the information.

This is the role of SharePoint governance – the rules and processes organizations must adopt to ensure that they are leveraging the strengths of SharePoint, but also maximizing the value – and minimizing the risk – associated with the information within SharePoint.

We cover this concept of SharePoint governance in latest entry in our OpenText Executive Brief series. Click here to download the new brief from the OpenText website.

Click here for more information about the series, and for links to the other Briefs in the series.


New Information Governance Executive Brief Series

I’m excited to announce that I have been working on a new series of executive briefs about information governance, sponsored by OpenText. I have made it my mission to try to spread the IG concept as far and wide as possible quite simply because I believe IG provides the best chance we have to finally get information management right. OpenText’s sponsorship of this series provides a great platform for the IG message to be heard.

Every one of our clients tackling IG have the same problem: closing the gap between the people who “get” IG, and those who don’t. In many cases the people who have had the least exposure to the IG and its value are the people with the money and mandate to tackle enterprise-wide problems: i.e., senior management. Thus, the focus and the format of the executive brief.

With this series, I’m hoping to provide some practical and pointed IG advice for senior managers. While I won’t be covering new ground for serious IG practitioners, I will be laying out IG fundamentals in a way that hopefully is accessible to time-strapped executives. These briefs should also be a great tool to help you build awareness around IG in your organization.

In our first brief, we answer the first logical question about IG: “what is it, and why is it important to me?” There is no universally agreed upon definition of IG, but it is possible to define what most people mean when they talk about IG. Also, I think there is pretty broad agreement about the potential of IG, and the value it can bring to us. So, check it out now at the OpenText website.


We have now posted the entire series of six Briefs. The links to them are:

1. Why Information Governance? (the brief above)

3. Getting Started with Information Governance

3. The Role of the CIO in Information Governance

4. Governing SharePoint

5. Records Management and Information Governance: What’s the Difference?

6. Justifying Investments in Information Governance


A Stench Gas Warning System for Information Governance?

“The most commonly used fire warning system in underground metal and nonmetal mines is the stench system. It employs the injection of a stench into the ventilation system or compressed air lines for carrying the fire warning signal to the underground miner.”

One-Way Fire Warning Alarm System for Underground Mines, Kenneth E. Hjelmstad, Mark A. Ackerson, U.S. Bureau of Mines. (pdf)

I took a little vacation time last week and ended up in the interior of British Columbia near a small resort town. Outside the town is a former lead and zinc mine – formerly one of the world’s largest (earning over $60 billion in revenue over 100 years). They have done a nice job of setting up a mine tour using the former crew train to transport you inside the mine and ex-miners as guides.

We hadn’t intended to go, but the train cleverly departs close to the town center, and as soon as our 3 year old son saw it, we “were done fer.” It was a good experience, and we learned some interesting things. Like, for example, although the mine focused on zinc and lead, it also produced silver – every ounce of which was bought by Kodak for producing film. According to the guide, these ancillary sales of silver entirely covered the cost of operating the mine – the rest was gravy.

But, the most interesting thing I learned was about the “stench gas warning system” – a system used for warning miners f there was a fire in the mine. This is a simple but effective system that has been used for decades: when there is a fire, Ethyl Mercaptan is released into the mine’s air supply system. The rotten egg smell pervades the entire mine within minutes (depending on the size and shape of the mine and the way it is ventilated), and upon smelling the stench, miners head to refuge areas, as they have been trained to do.

I thought this was a fascinating, low-tech way to transmit a message. Newer wireless technology that uses repeaters through the mine, low-frequency communications that travel through rock, and other systems have been developed to enable communication throughout the mine, but the stench gas system continues to be used, at least as a backup.

This, of course, got me thinking about information governance (hey, the fun never stops, even on vacation).

Like these mines, our businesses have a stench warning system for information governance. These are the events and situations that tell us that something is seriously wrong with the way we are managing our information, and that disaster is impending. However, unlike miners, we haven’t been trained on how to react properly when we smell the stench of poor information governance.

What are the stench warning systems for information governance? Here are some that come to mind:

  • Your shared drives are full of unclassified, unmanaged, duplicate, and unnecessary information
  • You have little or no governance on your SharePoint sites, allowing anyone to create a site without any rules about provisioning, sun-setting, classification, or retention of content
  • You allow “Shadow IT” to flourish, turning a blind eye to consumer-grade technology in your enterprise without any consideration of its risks and rewards. After all, the employees like it.
  • You have no idea how much really spend on litigation and e-discovery
  • You have no idea how many ongoing lawsuits you currently have
  • You think that IT is taking care of the information problem, but IT thinks that information is each department’s problem
  • Your solution to “email management” has been to enact blanket mailbox size restrictions

What do you think? Does the metaphor hold, or did I spend too much time down in the low oxygen environment of that mine?