What takes 1500 Lifetimes?

What takes 1500 Lifetimes

What takes 1500 Lifetimes?

In a working world where we can create and save terabytes of data every day, we need a way to decide what data we should keep.

The dangers of keeping too much stuff is documented elsewhere, but the key to success is great information management.

But this is a bit dull for most of us.  It’s a bit like telling teenagers to tidy their rooms.  A good idea but usually ineffective.

In short the benefits of keeping the right stuff are;

  • Reduced risk of reputation damage to the organisation
  • Improved knowledge sharing and cross team working
  • Reduced costs of IT storage and security

I often see situations where people are not aware of their responsibilities and where record keeping disciplines have broken down or just don’t exist.

Question – How do you engage staff with this dry as bones subject?

Answer – Making it easy to understand and engage with.

Here is how I do it.

What takes 1500 Lifetimes?

Our Organisation stores 80,000 Gigabytes of email and personal data.

An average 250 page novel is 3 Megabytes of data.

This is equal to 26,500,000 novels.

It takes 10 hours to read a novel.

It would take 265,000,000 working hours to read all our data.

This is more than 1500 working lifetimes.

And we have just over 1000 employees

Issue your version of the above to the Board on a slow day. Ask two questions:

  • Is it all needed?
  • What is the risk of storing and securing this if no one is likely to use it?

That should get their attention.  The rest is Information Management.

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About Adam Blackie

A career Freelance Accountant who specialises in leading helping others to hold onto their money.
This entry was posted in communication, cost cutting, Implementing Change, information assets, Information Management, Interim Management, Leadership, leading change management and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What takes 1500 Lifetimes?

  1. Sarah Palmer says:

    The thing that I really like about this is that it is simple, but breaks down the issue to something that grabs attention, and gets the message across. Everybody can relate to it as it is time based and reading may be a hobby for some.

    However, I imagine that this is the the first step of many, as whilst it is attention grabbing and gets the point across that too much is being kept and more efficient record/information management is necessary, it will still be necessary to raise awareness of which of these records can be destroyed, and what must be kept in order to meet compliance and business need.

    If employees could just delete files in a trigger happy sort of way to lower the amount kept then I imagine this would encourage them to do so, but the problem with records/information management seems to be the time that employees have to spend carefully supplying metadata and retention periods etc when creating records, which they see as outside of their job description.

    Back to my original, more positive point though – this seems like a great way of getting senior management buy-in to implement a records management programme in the first place. This is very important in itself, and the rest has to come later.

  2. Adam Blackie says:

    Sarah, Thanks for the comment and I agree.

    Winning senior management attention is the key. Good information management comes next.

    I worked with some clients on a project about 2 years ago. It was called “What to keep”. The idea was a reaction to the keep everything attitude in some parts of the organisation(s) involved and a response to employees deleting randomly to make space on their server / email systems. This was because they were drowning in a sea of information that they had no hope of managing. It was an interesting project.

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