Many times, companies that grow organically continue to use their information management processes that were in place before their adolescent growth spurt.  Using different buckets for shared content and locking down content is sometimes an obvious answer to information security issues.

Sometimes, those lock downs decrease productivity more than secure information.  Collaboration is an important part of content companies and in today’s world most companies are content companies.  That doesn’t mean that security isn’t important to companies with valuable patents or confidential client information; those firewalls remain critical parts of your information processes.

However, there are times when a company grows by baby steps, and then suddenly they have an adolescent growth spurt that pushes the fit of the old processes. Often the growing company is so focused on the product that is causing that stretch that the infrastructure is overlooked.  A lot of things contribute to the successful delivery of the product.  While you may be able to stumble along for a few years without paying attention to your technology  upgrade plans, your content production and information sharing processes and your employee promotion and transfer opportunities, eventually all of that will catch up with you at a time when it is most critical to your continued success.

information management processEven if your company operates in the typical teenage manner, drifting through the days from activity to activity, forward movement is ongoing.  The teenager finally realizes its time to think about “the future” and plans are made and executed for college applications, moving into an apartment with their friends etc.  The company too can drift forward until its time to think about “the future” and suddenly have their attention grabbed by the inefficient processes.  Once that happens, thinking critically about how to share information and with whom is a necessary first step. Decentralized files in a collaborative environment is a handicap that is easily overcome.  In a later post, I’ll discuss some of the solutions that are available to you for this first step from company adolescence to adulthood in information management.

Constance Ard November 10, 2009