The Business-Technology Weave

Nov 30 2010   11:14AM GMT

Content Continued: Minimizing exposure and liability

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott


[Note:  If you haven’t yet, you may wish to start with “WikiLeaks:  Lessons of content and its management for the organization” – then click View All Posts and scroll down to the article  following; then read up for the discussion of content in its chronology ].


Reducing Exposure – Minimizing Liability:  When managing content, we’re also talking about a comprehensive process that can give a central authority a ready report, at any time, on all content in your organization, according to any criteria by which they query:  What is its subject matter?  Who created it; who has it; who’s been using it?  What is its useful life?  How does it relate to and support other content?  Which members, customers, staff, projects, products, services, regulations, agencies, etc. does this content pertains to?  Where are versions of similar content residing?  Which version is current? 


Accumulation of content contributes to inefficiency:  and liability for exposure:  Multiple versions and drafts of documents can exist in all sorts of locations.  Absent an overarching system of control, things get passed around within the organization, and saved in various user and departmental folders.  You build all sorts of redundant, near-redundant, and ultimately erroneous data.  Near-redundant data comprises records and documents that have various locations of storage (whether electronic or paper), with various dates of update and various inputs at various times – the resultant scatter of storage is always for some individual’s or group’s “convenience.”  However, it is distinctly inconvenient… its dangerous… for the organization.


Further, there often exists content that was created by persons who have left the organization – there may be no one who can readily answer whether the content is correct.  Outdated content, or content whose value is murky, should be weighed against some standard in order to determine its disposability.  At the very least, it should be evaluated for archiving and removed from the active environment, in thwarting a glut of suspect information.


So, content management goes beyond eliminating “glut,” and yields the possible exposures (liabilities) that certain content may represent.  For example, your organization may have all manner of outdated business policies, stored in various departments, which may be based on expired outside law and regulation.  You wouldn’t want anyone taking action within such policy that no longer applies.  How can you be sure that everyone is operating on the most recent issue of organizational policies?  Another example may be emerging client relationships:  relationships to you, and their relationships to other agencies.  How do you best disseminate breaking information throughout the organization?  How do you ensure it’s received?  How do you ensure it supplants the old?  How do you remove the old? 


We’re driving toward a CMS:  a Content Management System (whether supported by a formal applications solution – with attendant policy, training, and use – or, where budget constrictions exist, a simple reliance solely on policy and its influence on content, again leveraged through training and expectations for the handling of content.  That too represents a “system”). 


But before we get to that, let’s examine an area that often presents some confusion for Business, as well as IT… in particular, the small and medium business arenas – where a CMS is becoming a crucial component.  That confusion involves two key, related, policies:  Content Management vs. Acceptable Use.

November 30th:  On this day in 1866, work begins on the 1st U.S. underwater highway tunnel, in Chicago.

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