Why SMBs Need Policy Management & Enforcement

A recent study conducted by AIIM, Association for Information and Image Management (www.aiim.org/research), reported that 52 percent of the members surveyed are actively working toward implementing a content management process within their organization. Results from a Sherpa Software survey correlate AIIM’s findings with a sound 50 percent of respondents indicating they have a mandate to enforce a policy directive targeting electronic content:

Infographic

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Since middle-market (or SMB) organizations represent a strong percentage of Sherpa’s client base, we were surprised to learn that our survey results so closely mirrored AIIM’s findings. In order to understand why policy enforcement has earned such a high priority with our SMB clients, I had had an off-the-record discussion with two of them about rationale behind their policy programs. These two organizations come from very diverse industries, Client A is an industry trade association with more than 600 members and Client B is a professional sports organization.

As a professional trade group, Client A regularly exchanges electronic communications with their members on topics as diverse as education, advocacy, safety and any number of related matters. Their policy effort is geared toward identifying and/or disposing of information that could be relevant in a situation where one of their members becomes involved in litigation. When required, their policies place tags on electronic content to indicate that an item is on ‘legal hold’ and therefore exempt from its normal document management lifecycle. When a legal hold is lifted, policies remove these hold tags from the content items and resume enforcing the appropriate disposition action.

The focus at client B is on network file shares that are widely used throughout the organization. These storage locations have a tendency to become a dumping ground that accumulates Office documents, PDF files and other items employees plan to store for a limited period of time but neglect to clean-up in the long run. The team has begun to mitigate this problem by implementing automated policies to inventory, organize and dispose of abandoned electronic content after it has reached the end of its useful life.

Of course, preparing for legal compliance and policing electronic content are only two of the reasons that organizations may choose to enforce policy. This list could also include:

  • risk management,
  • automating workflows,
  • regulatory mandates,
  • and many others.

Both clients cited in this post have adopted Sherpa’s Altitude IG platform to power their policy enforcement programs. Altitude’s workflow engine is ideally suited to enforcing complex policy requirements and the modular design of the platform allows clients to expand the scope of their enforcement practices as new content sources are introduced. For more information about all of Altitude’s capabilities visit www.sherpasoftware.com or contact a Sherpa account executive.

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