“You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” This famous adage from management guru Peter Drucker is universally applicable. There’s no way to assess progress if you can’t compare where you are today versus yesterday, and you don’t know how big or small a problem really is until you quantify it. This all holds true for Information Management as well.
When decision-makers don’t have data, they’re operating purely on hunches and gut instincts, but that’s no way to run an organization. Prioritizing initiatives—not to mention allocating budget and resources—should be data-driven undertakings so stakeholders can properly prognosticate the downstream ramifications of each effort under consideration.
Leadership usually knows when an issue requires attention, but they often lack a proper sense of the full scope and scale of the situation. For example, the management team may be aware that all communications regarding financial transactions are subject to regulatory scrutiny and must be properly classified and retained for future audits. But they likely don’t know whether that’s 100 emails per month or a thousand, how many different employees may have those emails in their inbox, or what percentage of them are already handled properly.
Without that baseline understanding, there’s no analytical way to determine how urgent or large the problem is nor the potential impact of a change. Lacking that information, it’s tough to decide how much money and resources to expend on the solution.
Is it two employees or two dozen? Is it two emails per week or two hundred? Those numbers play a big role in how much to invest and how broad the policy change must be.
Beyond merely using these metrics to gauge the severity of the current situation, they’re also integral to tracking and measuring progress once a change gets implemented. Ongoing monitoring of each Information Management initiative helps leadership see the effectiveness of those changes, giving them the data they need to make recommendations for adjustments and refinement. It also builds confidence in the overall efficacy of Information Management initiatives in general, which can increase the likelihood of green-lighting and funding subsequent projects.
Once you start looking, there’s no shortage of potential things to measure. However, less is often more in these cases. To avoid analysis paralysis or overwhelming busy senior leaders with too much information, it’s best to zoom in on a few Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). They should correlate with the strategic goals of the Information Management initiative at hand.
Using our example above, a KPI might be the number of emails archived in SharePoint or Microsoft Teams or how many end users archived at least one email during a given week. Increasing those KPI numbers would be a strong indication that the project is gaining traction and helping the organization reach this Information Management goal.
Just as important, however, is ensuring that the organization isn’t focused on metrics that don’t mean much or aren’t particularly actionable. Before building extra instrumentation or adding another chart to your management briefing, consider whether it’s meaningful to leadership and if that data contributes to the decision-making process. This helps the team avoid “vanity metrics” that distract leaders from more relevant trends and insights.
Information Management initiatives often face an uphill battle when it comes to convincing different business units or teams to change their behaviors and adopt new processes and tools. These groups already have their hands full completing tasks and meeting current demands, so there’s little appeal to switching things up or adding extra steps to their routines.
To boost adoption, Information Management leaders must convince business unit heads and team leaders to embrace these initiatives and prioritize compliance for their staff. They know any alteration to the status quo will bring some amount of disruption that could potentially impact performance and productivity.
By introducing metrics and KPIs to the conversation, Information Management can make a far more compelling case. These metrics can illustrate the severity of the current situation, quantifying the severity of a problem that some may have thought trivial or minor. You can also use benchmark metrics and KPIs from other groups that have already implemented the initiative to illustrate the positive impact of the change and assuage concerns regarding performance degradation.
Coupling these data points with the overall business goal and rationale for the initiative helps win over both the higher-ups and individual contributors, who can all see the material benefits of adopting and regularly using the new tool or process at hand. Over time, those same metrics and KPIs can help maintain momentum by tracking progress and providing a more holistic view of the benefits.
Comparing compliance rates between different teams and business units can also foster a little healthy competition, further boosting adoption. These metrics help IT make the business case for continuing to use any licensed software, tools, or services that enable the Information Management change.
At harmon.ie, we’re committed to giving our customers the information they need to make data-driven decisions and track their results. We’re working with Mixpanel, a product usage analytics leader, to gather compliance and collaboration data that can be shared with customers for their reporting and dashboard needs. Learn more about how harmon.ie helps Information Management initiatives succeed by checking out some of our case studies or see for yourself by starting a free trial today.