A File By Any Other Name

“What’s in a name”, Shakespeare once asked.  “Everything” seems to be today’s answer.  Nomenclature, taxonomy, lexicography, cataloguing, classifying – or whatever name is chosen for ‘naming’ (that in itself being paradoxical) – is the cornerstone of records and document management, a key enabler of information and knowledge management.

Information and knowledge management is now one the top 10 initiatives for most corporations.  Harvard University suggests that up to 40% of a company’s worth does not appear on their balance sheet.  Further, they speculate that most of that 40% resides in information and knowledge.

University of California research suggests that there is now approximately 250 Megabytes of information for every single person on earth and the figure is going up – in some cases, exponentially.  The time to start prioritising and managing your information is now.

The information belonging to organisations is commonly highly fragmented.  Finding information spread across the organisation – pulling it from silos and putting it together as a single piece of knowledge is impossible in a fragmented environment.  Fragmentation has a number of explicit and potential costs. Fragmentation is both a more subtle, and costly problem than even the volume of information.   When you don’t know what you know, at the time you need to know it, even straightforward matters can develop into major crises.

Quality of decision making is at risk when decisions are not evidence based. When you cannot access all the information you have, decisions are based on incomplete information.  Not all decisions will be bad (even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while), it is simply an unnecessary form of corporate risk.

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