Thursday, January 12, 2012
Information Governance Uncovered
Content management is useless without information governance. In fact, it does not exist. You cannot successfully manage content if you don't have policies and procedures in place to govern it.
In my previous post on information governance, I mentioned that information governance is set of structures, policies, procedures, processes, and controls implemented to manage information at an enterprise level, supporting an organization's immediate and future regulatory, legal, risk, environmental and operational requirements. Let's look closely at these structures, policies, procedures, processes and controls.
Before uploading content into your CMS, you need to determine what types of content you have now and/or will have in future. Knowing this will help you to set up the taxonomy and metadata accordingly and to make sure that your CMS contains documents that you would expect to find there. Uploading documents that are not included in your content types list, would create havoc in your CMS. If you have multiple systems in place such as document control systems, CRM, ERP, etc., you need to determine what documents each system will contain and what interactions these systems will have with each other.
You have a content management system (CMS) in place and you have uploaded your documents there. And you keep uploading them. At some point in time, you are going to have thousands of documents in your CMS. Well, they can't just stay there indefinitely without somebody taking some action about these documents such as update, move to the archive, delete, etc. In addition, when users look at these documents, they may have questions about content of these documents. Somebody has to own these documents. Each document should have a document owner. It could be a group name. The document owner should be entered into the document metadata. This will allow users and the CMS administrator to find owners of documents.
If you upload documents into your CMS and do nothing about them, the time will come when your search for documents will retrieve obsolete documents which will over-flood the system. In order to prevent this from happening, retention schedule needs to be put in place. Determine document types for your content. For each document type, determine the period of time, during which this document type is current and active.
For each document type, set up a workflow which would trigger an email to the administrator that this document type has reached an expiration date. This workflow is based on the expiration date of the document type. Upon receiving this email, the content administrator should contact the document owner who would make a decision whether this document needs to be reviewed and updated, moved to archive, or deleted. If the document is reviewed and updated, re-set the workflow for the next period of time.
Change Management and Control
When you set up taxonomy, metadata, naming conventions, systems functions, etc., they should not arbitrarily be changed. There should be a procedure in place for a change management. Changes like this, should go through a workflow and be approved. In addition, users feedback should be obtained.
For each document type, you need to establish naming conventions. Users should be able to have a very good idea what the document is about without opening it. This would save a lot of time for users.
Approval and Publishing Documents
Set up a workflow for content approval and publishing documents. Users upload documents and populate metadata. They may upload documents in a wrong place or enter wrong metadata. These errors would impact search and browse functions. The administrator should check to make sure that the document has been uploaded into the correct place and the correct metadata is entered. Errors should be corrected before the document is published.
Time for Check-out Documents
In a CMS environment, users need to check out documents if they need to edit them. They may check out documents and leave them checked out for a long time. While documents are checked out, other users can't edit them. Set up a policy with the time frame that users can have their documents checked out to them. Monitor checked out documents. If you see a checked-out document with expired check out time frame, contact the user and request that the document would be checked in. You can also check in the document yourself or discard the check out.
Determine your users groups. For each document type, determine which permissions should your users groups have, e.g. read and write or read only. It is highly recommended that only CMS administrator has full permissions to the system. Users should not be allowed to change the system.
These are main and most important procedures. Depending on your specific requirements, you may have other procedures in place. Set them up from the very beginning of your CMS deployment and educate your users about them. Create these procedures with users feedback. When users provide their feedback to you, they will agree with these procedures and will follow them.