Recent years have seen an explosion in document production with organisations and teams all over the world, working remotely, accessing multiple files, adjusting versions, tracking changes, hosting offline, storing in filesystems, adding to SharePoint, replicating in MS Teams. It’s no wonder our customers tell us they’re unsure of which documentation is kept where and who is in accountable for its control.
This lack of visibility and traceability raises so many issues on so many levels. If your teams are running multiple projects and collaborating on hundreds of versions of the same document, how can you be sure that you are a) accessing the latest version and b) that the customer is receiving the right version and c) that your archive is a true representation of the document’s history for auditing purposes?
The journey begins with defining and re-defining how you structure your information assets. Which can start with a question as simple ‘what qualifies as content?’. This question clearly takes us from a conversation about documents to a focus on information architecture.
Changing the conversation from documents to information
This simplest change organisations can make is to lead discussions from a perspective of information architecture. Why? Because getting out of the weeds will enable organisations to focus on wholesale efficiency gains rather than tactical quick wins.
The case for change – the real cost of freedom
What’s the real cost of freedom to government organisations? In this instance we are referring to the Freedom of Information requests falling through the door. What is the actual cost of resourcing such a request?
According to the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner, 34,797 requests were made in 2020-2021 with a 30 day response period. Imagine the cost of putting a team to work to find and disclose every element of associated information for a single case – from chat files to formal documentation, call logs and so on. The cost and time implications are scarily high.
A report issued by the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner released these results to quantify the cost, showing the effort cost to agencies administering the applications were increasing, with fees generated at $1,739,175.24 and effort cost at $22,008,625.00.
Just imagine how a thorough information architecture structure could impact on savings – and it’s just waiting to be realised in government agencies everywhere.
Better control + total visibility + accessibility = efficiency gains
It’s time to get in control of your information architecture before it takes control of you. You may well have a document management system in place, tackling a proportion of everyday activities being logged where resources remember, however what organisations should be focusing on is getting the information architecture, user rights and access controls right from the start to avoid fails and exposure further down the track, and unleash new levels of productivity.
Creating an information ecosystem
Ultimately, creating an information ecosystem is where information architecture begins to enable effective information retrieval, navigation, accessibility and controls.
When we structure our thinking around customer needs, we cover these three fundamentals, which are usually the reasons we get involved:
Enabling findability through search algorithms, hierarchies and categories
At Nexon, we talk about findability. It’s the number one issue we see from customers struggling to make sense of their information universe. We start at the beginning, looking at the relationships between the different pieces of information and the needs of organisations and stakeholders before classifying and grouping them into common themes and structures.
Improving UX through intuitive navigational systems and aids together with an effective enterprise search
We’re focused on delivering easy to use, easy to find, easy to audit documentation trails which allow users to move through the information space through navigational controls. Menus and breadcrumbs make it easier to move forwards and backwards while using AI to auto categorise content makes finding documentation a breeze.
Once you get this right, ensuring a well configured Enterprise Search will ensure your users can always find what they are looking for.
Protecting sensitive information through robust access, audit and monitoring controls
Maintaining the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information assets is critical for organisations holding sensitive data and we’ve seen a huge increase in the adoption of security solutions within information architecture strategies and incident response plans. From auditing and monitoring mechanisms to encrypted communication, controls and versioning capabilities, we work to ensure your documentation is secured in a way that works for your organisation, its assets and users.
Wondering where to start? Talk to us to navigate and create your own information superhighway.