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Information Governance, a growing concern according to the 9th SERDA annual report

The Serda group recently published their 9th annual report on Information Governance resulting from a large survey, to which more than 300 professionals responded, on all aspects of information governance in the private and public sectors. The report shows that more than half of companies are now engaged in Information Governance initiatives, whether completely (20%) or partially (33%). This observation is true not only for France but also for Belgium, Switzerland and Canada. 

Companies are facing more and more challenges such as dealing with the increase of internal information, limiting time wasted in searching  information, overcoming the spread of information between various softwares… The expectations expressed by professionals are quite similar and are,  in order of importance, becoming more efficient, making the right information available for the right person and improving traceability of information. In this context, Dr Basma Makhlouf Shabou, professor at Haute école de gestion de Genève (HESSO), points out : “What is reassuring is that this report highlights the link between the efficiency of activities with the quick, easy, appropriate and secure access to reliable information.” 

The main obstacle remains the same year after year: the lack of will from managers and decision-makers. However, it is encouraging that more and more of them (almost two thirds) are becoming aware of the positive impact of Information Governance.

If technological aspects are widely covered in the report – including the rise of open-source solutions and electronic signature services –  human aspects are regrettably only briefly mentioned. Yet these aspects are crucial for anyone who wishes to embark in such a change process. For instance, while Electronic Document Management Systems (EDMS) represents a preferred option in Information Governance, it is still widely regarded by users as one of the main sources of problems. This is also true for Mail Management Systems. It is indeed clear that no best IT solution will be of help if users do not accept or understand it. That is the reason why 27% of respondents envisage engaging with external advisors to help them address change management issues (+ 5% in one year).

It is to be noted that, for the first time this year, the report mentions ecological considerations as a new issue. Unsurprisingly, paper saving is the most endorsed measure in terms of eco-responsibility. Then come space saving on servers, accompanying digital transformation and awareness-raising on consequences of energy consumption by the digital industry. The report rightly recalls that 20 emails received or sent daily by one user over one year corresponds to the consumption of one car over 1,000 kilometers. 

Marc Ansoult, Exquando CEO comments: “The latest Serda report, published during this exceptional period of confinement, illustrates the information challenges linked to working at a distance. Indeed, the survey reveals that the effectiveness of organizations is clearly linked to simple and secure access to reliable and quality information. If more companies in the future encourage teleworking, they will have no other choice than to engage in an information governance approach and in the implementation of their information policy

The 9th Serda report (in French) is available here.

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