To state that 2020 was an unprecedented year for everybody feels somewhat cliché. Yet here we are, nearly a year on from the initial UK lockdown, having made it through a year that has fundamentally altered working practices across all sectors. The past year saw COVID-19 force people into a new wave of remote working away from offices, approaching work in a way that most had never done before. At the same time, ongoing Brexit talks left any organisation with international working ties awaiting information on how the landscape would look for their business.
The roles of those working with the management of information and records have not been exempt from these uncertainties, having faced unique and unpredicted challenges. We’ve been helping organisations to balance the acts of ensuring compliance, while enabling new ways of information sharing and access which have been necessary for staff and teams to work effectively.
In our upcoming blogs, we will be sharing some of our experiences of the past year including:
- Challenges and pain points relating to Information Management and Governance
- Opportunities for digitisation
- Tools and tips to support new ways of working
- Trends and outlooks for the next year
To get started, we have outlined the three biggest information challenges we’ve encountered.
1. Scale and Speed of Adopting Remote Working
March 2020 saw workers across the globe forced into home working environments, many of whom had never before experienced a working environment outside the office. It is safe to say that the logistical issues presented were huge.
Organisations have been required to implement information sharing technology quicker than it would ever have been rolled out before. Quick decisions have needed to be made on whether to use one tool or another for everything from video calling to document collaboration. Practical issues such as hosting access to software through remote connections has tested network infrastructures. Outside of the organisational factors, there have been challenges such as user connection issues, such as poor-quality internet connections not allowing key access to organisations systems.
In many cases, the sheer speed at which this change has been mandated has meant gaps in all but the most urgent questions around information security and storage. Work-around ‘solutions’ have also been implemented to bridge gaps, which could ultimately leave high risk information outside an organisation’s control, for example information downloaded in offline environments.
2. Insufficient Policies and Procedures
With new procedures becoming working practice, decisions had to be made with minimal information on how long these new working practices would continue. Did organisations spend the time and resource on creating new policies? Or were their efforts better focused on conducting reviews of existing governance policies to make the new environment fully compliant? These decisions were particularly challenging due to the uncertainty if they would only be instigated for a few weeks – or did they spend time making sure the minimum requirements where in place until workers were back in their normal office areas?
3. Interim File Sharing and Data Security
One of the biggest challenges for information management, that was quickly highlighted, was how workers would share information in the interim period. Adequate tools were not available to everybody, meaning that was a much greater need for sharing and cloud usage. The past 12 months has seen issues with colleagues, within the same organisation, needing to access data in a variety of ways – with issues ranging from hosting databases that multiple people can access remotely, to employees living in areas with limited internet connection making access difficult.
IFC has over 30 years’ experience in helping organisations manage their information to gain control, allow collaboration, minimise risk, and use new technologies and data insights to stay ahead of your competition. If you would like to know more about how to transform your information practices in response to any challenges you may be facing, please get in touch.