Steve looks at the problems of Data Storage and Knowledge Relativity that could be a solution for managing corporate data and reducing back-up and storage Budgets.
The problem with knowledge relativity
The problem that most people face is that they don't actually know what knowledge is, they have a great idea of what information is, organisations have Terabytes of data sitting on hard-drives costing money to support and protect. So how does one select the bytes that are knowledge and those that are not? The answer is General Relativity to the data... but let’s gets back to that later.
I heard a story some years ago that illustrated how a consultancy firm was completing and documenting the production process of this chocolate bar (or maybe another one) and as they worked down through the process they came to a stand still... They had questioned the buyer to obtain the ingredients, they had spoken to the production team, the maintenance team for the machines, the wrappers and packers and shippers and eventually understood the whole process, but after bringing this together they realised that the process time line had a gap...
The production stopped at a specific point until a handed-down 'secret stage' was completed and then production could commence. This has to be a great example of Knowledge is Power as the delicious chocolate and caramel bar could not be produced without the knowledge of this ingredient and process.
Locked in the safe
The story goes that the consultants returned to the board and only to be told that the secret was locked in the safe and for the last 100 years as only been accessible by the chairmen who hands down the key to his/her successor. At the appropriate time the safe was opened, the knowledge used, the hidden process stage completed and the creation of those delicious bars of heaven could be continued (yes I like these very unique confectionery items!!).
So... Knowledge is Power... this has to be a perfect example.
However I do not need to go into the problems of halting the process for one individual to complete a task... this leads us to Knowledge Relativity.
The company is still family owned and this piece of the knowledge process puzzle was resolved (how of course is another company secret!!) but it involved protecting the knowledge in a different way that was relative to the needs of the process. Successfully as this year I notice that the labels changed from "over 4,000,000 made and sold every week" to “over 5,000,000 made and sold every week" but let’s use this as an example of knowledge in a process.
Combination of information As highlighted by Relativity Software Company kCura Relativity; along any process there is knowledge, and this knowledge is a partnership between the task supporting the process and the person completing the task. What they do is documented as information, but how they do it and quality of delivery is relative to the individual. Successful production of anything be it chocolate bars, software code, even building a process is a combination of the information, the skills and the experience of the individual who completes that specific part of the process.
Returning to the problem for the terabytes of data within corporate network drives and what to do with it... consider that each piece of data stored (this includes paper and data!!!) within an organisation is relative to a person or role (in knowledge terms defined as the owner) who is best placed to decide what to do with it... delete it, store it, archive it?
Unfortunately many organisations allow the individuals to make the decisions about their information and we get the situation we have today that network drives are growing (according to Forrester at a rate of 60% year on year) and frankly becoming a burden on IT budgets and the corporate ability to find the right information.
Embed Knowledge Relativity through policies
The solution is to guide staff and users with policies just as the production of a chocolate bar is guided by the process. The policies should cover Email retention, Data versioning and Data perpetuation, data perpetuation is equivalent to the “Knowledge Black Death” as 100’s of versions of the same, but different file, e.g. expense report, circulate the system.
Setting up these policies and bringing the corporate data store into line is a reasonably large task, but pays for itself in Data back-up and Storage costs and ensures that only the core data is available to the organisation.
With the correct policies and directives in place which link back to corporate procedures, the network drives will be nothing else except a shared knowledge bank for the company.
Sei-IS have provided advice and solutions for organisations who have made savings and created Knowledge stores of information directly relevant to the business
If you would like help with your SharePoint implementation, or would just like to talk to a SharePoint expert then please contact me, I'll be glad to help:
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Many thanks - Steve
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