Published: 27 April 2023

Reading time: About 6 minutes

The annual go-to event for information management professionals is celebrating its 40th anniversary! From 14th to 16th May, IRMS23 will showcase the innovations and ingenuity of the industry through its theme: ‘Embracing a New Information Generation’.

We’re pleased to announce that as well as attending and exhibiting at the Kimpton Clocktower Hotel in Manchester, we’re sponsoring the event and hosting a breakout session exploring: ‘Mailbox Detox’– the digital heap is growing, and it’s in your mailbox. The legacy of email in the digital heap helps focus attention on how to de-toxify and de-trivialise email.

New people, new skills, new ways of working and new technologies

IRMS 23 is all about ‘new’. New people, skills, ways of working, and technologies that are shaping the world of information management. The transition to a digital age began decades ago. Still, the global pandemic triggered an unprecedented scale and pace of evolution in working practices as the world went into lockdown almost overnight and digital transformation began in earnest.

The adaptations made during the pandemic spotlighted a new generation of workers who harness their skills to overcome challenges in their day-to-day activities. Today’s workforce has different demands and priorities from previous generations. They want greater self-agency, autonomy and tools that help them achieve this.

With a solution-oriented, on-demand approach, the information generation embraces anything that empowers them to do their jobs– so technology is a must-have! Technologies that facilitate remote working, leverage best-in-class platforms and deploy cloud-based software. Technologies that create an interconnected ecosystem and enable work, collaboration and access to resources from any location.

The problems with the interconnected ecosystem

The new way of working in a tech-enabled interconnected ecosystem is great for business continuity and productivity. But hasty implementation, hurried adaptations, and unsanctioned deployments bring about massive challenges for information and records management. Around 80% of enterprise data is unstructured, and that figure is growing by 60% per year.

Policy hasn’t kept up with digital records. Paper-based systems of old assumed an ongoing level of human involvement which isn’t suited to the digital environment.  What’s more, the inheritance of inconsistently applied well-intended approaches, like ‘keep everything’ mean on-premise servers, over-engineered EDRM platforms and other legacy technologies now add to the burden.

We recognise that the process of transforming information lifecycle management in line with new workforce and operational demands represents an overwhelming workload. We also understand that the resultant information sprawl and digital data tsunami make complying with ever-increasing governance policies, industry regulations and data legislation particularly onerous. And we know how heavy the cost of getting it wrong is.

IRMS 2023

Digital appraisal at the heart of the interconnected ecosystem

Technology sits at the centre of the interconnected ecosystem. It ties it together and ensures interoperability, connectivity and seamless integration. When it comes to information lifecycle management, digital appraisal is the beating heart. It’s also the solution to the problem of the digital heap.

Digital appraisal is the process of deciding which records an organisation should keep and which should be deleted. It reviews all information formats, including images, emails and spreadsheets, without disruption to the organisation. Integrated rules-based dynamic categorisation, pattern recognition, and duplication detection applied across multiple repositories mean data is located and retrieved even when it’s decades old.

Digital appraisal securely reviews sensitive information for accurate reporting. It seamlessly creates a fully-audited defensible disposition for redundant, obsolete and trivial (ROT) data at source. Resulting in reduced storage costs, increased accountability, and a faster auditable trail. It also prepares the data estate for discovery, analysis and insights and intelligent migration.

Digital appraisal in action – Tackling the digital heap at the Department of Knowledge and Information Management (DKIM), Cabinet Office

Good decisions depends on good information management. Information is the foundation of effective analysis and policy-making. It supports intelligent planning and is an enabler of efficiency. Problems arise when a mountain of uncontrolled and largely unorganised volumes of files and other information has accumulated in systems since digital transformation began. Tackling this digital heap is, then, a top priority.

The challenge for the DKIM, and every other government department, involves creating secure pipelines to sort and move information from a digital heap to controlled spaces where it can be reviewed for retention or remediation. It’s particularly problematic as tension in legislation exists between keeping information and ensuring it’s not over-retained.

Consolidating vying responsibilities under The Public Records Act (PRA), which mandates the transfer of records with historical value for permanent preservation to The National Archives (TNA) and the principal of storage limitation under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is one such example that adds to the workload.

A time and motion study determined it would take 59 people working continuously for 12 months to digitally appraise the content for value, then extract ROT and duplicate files stored across multiple devices in shared and individual physical and cloud locations. Not wanting to dedicate such resources to the task, the DKIM contacted us.

We applied our wealth of experience helping public sector organisations on their journey to better insights, discovery, intelligent decisions and change for the better. And deployed our proprietary software solution AI.DATALIFT. We reviewed, analysed and cleansed the entire DKIM metadata. 11 million files held in 170 different formats were processed.

The DKIM was left with a single platform from which it could efficiently manage the information lifecycle. Data is more easily identifiable and more readily accessible. Risks are uncovered and reduced through enhanced visibility and defensible audit trails. Ongoing management and compliance are simplified through an intuitive integrated dashboard. And the entire data estate is ready to migrate to the cloud at scale without impacting day-to-day activities. The best part, it led to a total cost avoidance of £3 million (£0.5 million per year in infrastructure costs and £2.5 million in labour costs)—money which would’ve been taken from the public purse.

If you’d like to know more about how the DKIM benefited from our AI.DATALIFT platform you can watch our Case Study Video with David Canning, Head of Digital Knowledge and Information Management.

Join us on Tuesday, 16th May, 10:20-10:50am in Clocktower 6 as Automated Intelligence CSO, Paul Hudson, showcases our enterprise cloud migration and analytics software solution AI.DATALIFT. You’ll see how it helps to over come the challenge of digital heap with real use cases demonstrating it ingesting, detoxifying and detrivialising problematic legacy emails.

We’ll also be at Stand 5 in the exhibition area.

Can’t make it in person– learn more about the ways our cloud-native end-to-end platform for unstructured data management and governance can help your organisation by visiting our website, dropping us an email or calling us on +44 (0)2890 996 118.