Since the New Year began, I’ve consulted with, explained at, and webinared for a broad spectrum of infogov-hungry information professionals. And in that time, they loudly and consistently voiced one especially strident complaint:
“Information management is hard!”
And you know what? They’re right! Information management IS hard if you’re doing it right, for it requires overcoming four sets of challenges that must be addressed all at the same time:*
- Culture, as in organizational politics, baggage, and “religion” PLUS personal fears, habits, and comfort levels;
- Process, or helping people work better;
- Collaboration, or helping people work better together; and of course,
- Technology, encompassing the likes of security, interoperability, functionality, and performance.
HOWEVER – this cold, hard fact does not mean you should sit back and do nothing, for the longer you let it go, the more information you’ll have to deal with, and the harder the job will become. Instead, try starting with simpler stuff like:
- Shared drive cleanup
- Naming conventions / categorization
- Compliance process improvement
- Email management strategy
“Simple,” of course, is in the eye of the beholder, but the point is that you can accomplish quite a lot without embarking upon a full-blown, enterprise-wide infogov campaign. So don’t worry about swallowing the entire elephant in one go – go ahead and take smaller bites by tackling one pain point at a time.
* These four challenges underlie pretty much everything we do for pretty much every client. If you haven’t heard the spiel, let me know and I’ll be glad to fill you in. It won’t take too long or hurt too much, I promise!