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Sign up now! Upcoming SharePoint and Office 365 training course

How to manage your information effectively in SharePoint and Office 365.

Description

This course will explain the capabilities of SharePoint, Teams, OneDrive and the wide range of Office 365 applications, enabling delegates to setup an Office 365 environment which meets their needs and which can be managed effectively.  The course also covers the steps to be taken to create an information architecture in SharePoint and Office 365, and the effective governance of Office 365.

The trainer will take delegates through:

Course materials will be presented – and copies made available to all delegates at the end of the course. The format is informal and interactive with plenty of opportunities to ask questions and share experiences with other delegates.

Please note that technical ‘hands on’ exercises are not included in this course.

Audience:

The course is aimed at anyone looking to implement Office 365, exploit their existing Office 365 deployment, or improve a currently ineffective Office 365 system.

Date and time:

Location: Canada Water Library, 21 Surrey Quays Road, London SE16 7AR.

The course runs for a full day from 9:30 – 16:30, and will be delivered by Marc Stephenson, a SharePoint and Office 365 expert of 15+ years.

To sign up or for more information, please contact info@metataxis.com or visit our website.

IRMS members – check out our training discount.

Metataxis on G-Cloud 11

Metataxis are pleased to announce that public sector organisations can again access our services through the latest G-Cloud 11 framework.

Cloud services, such as O365/SharePoint Online, require careful planning, design and governance to be successful; however all too often this is just seen from a technical perspective rather than one based on the information and the user.

Metataxis can help organisations meet these information management and information architecture challenges that make the difference in being able to support long term adoption and deliver real value.

Metataxis offer a number of services on the G-Cloud:

Information Architecture
Information Management
Information Discovery
GDPR Compliance
Content Migration
Training

If you would like any further information then please contact us.

Metataxis award for CityLIS student to attend the CILIP Annual conference

The winner of the Metataxis award for a CityLIS student to attend the CILIP Annual Conference has been announced. 

Image from the storyboard by Cathi Woods, 2019
Will there be robot Librarians? Will society turn into information seeking zombies?
Image from the storyboard by Cathi Woods, 2019

A press release from CityLIS states: “The winning submission was a comic strip on ‘The future of the document’ prepared by CityLIS student, Cathi Woods.  The award judges said:

“This was a very appealing cartoon-style presentation.  It embodies part of the principle of varied document types and provided an engaging experience.  The storyboard approach was well constructed and provided a coherent synthesis of many relevant concepts.”

“Excellent: original, and very well carried out”

“The jokes are great.  A lovely use of humour to explain a serious and critical topic”

“This could be developed into a useful educational tool”

The Department of Library and Information Science at City, University of London are very pleased that there is such strong support for the next generation of information professionals to become actively involved with CILIP.  It represents a great opportunity for early career professionals to network more widely and to bring their own fresh perspective into the profession.

The winner will have the opportunity to present a poster at the Annual Conference.”

CityLIS is the innovative Masters programme run by Department of Library and Information Science at City, University of London. www.city.ac.uk/lis

For more information see www.city.ac.uk/department-library-information-science , or read about the Metataxis award here.

Kondo your ROT

Too much stuff!

We live in an age of excess where our desires for stuff and simplicity are at constant war with each other. We both consume, and produce in excess. We can’t seem to stop ourselves, whether it’s binge-watching streamed television, fast fashion, or hashtags.

Love it or hate it, much column space has been given to discussion of Kondo’s Netflix show “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”.  From angry flame out wars over the immorality of destroying books, to the Millennial blaming accusations of curatorial-consumerism, Marie Kondo is the home organisation consultant everyone is talking about.

Like the best-selling book of the same title “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” is basically about teaching people how to get rid of all their stuff. To do this, all contents are gathered together and reviewed by type: clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous and sentimental. All objects of the same type are gathered in a giant pile.

Look at all my socks
Oh so many many socks
I can’t even believe it
Can you imagine having so many socks?
I can’t even begin to count them all
Let alone even think about wearing them

– King Missile  1994

Once confronted with the enormity of stuff by type, most participants decide that the madness must end and a purge is necessary. Then each object is interrogated – supposedly by hugging – to ascertain whether they “spark joy”. If they do not, they are respectfully thanked for serving their purpose and cast aside.

Whether it’s information or socks, it’s the same idea with systems and file shares. Admittedly you might not feel joy from communing intimately with the items within your system. But the general idea that you need to discard things that have long since served their purpose to begin organising things still applies.

Redundant. Obsolete. Trivial.

Dogs and cats living together – mass hysteria.
– Ghostbusters, 1984

If you are working with a messy, bloated system where categories are blurred, a ROT analysis can help to sort through what needs to be kept and how things should be organised. So what is ROT?

Redundant

Redundant information often involves duplication. Duplication of documents and folders is common when folder structures have not been centrally managed. There may also be multiple versions of documents with minor variations that are no longer needed.

Obsolete

Some information you hold will inevitable be out of date, whether this is because it relates to a business activity you  no longer undertake, because it has been superseded or is incomplete. Obsolete data may include technical guides for products and services no longer offered, past procedure manuals or old contacts lists that have not been kept up to date.

Trivial

Trivial material will be of very low level value to the organisation. While this data might be valuable to one individual for a very short period of time, they do not provide much in terms of business insight or compliance evidence. Examples of records of trivial value are meeting room bookings or personal daily to do lists.

From watching “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” you get the sense the Kondo method is labour intensive. This is true also of a ROT analysis. There are tools that can help you along the way, but ultimately you will not be able to escape having to make decisions about what to keep and where. And if you want to  prevent ROT from building up again, it is best to have a plan for how to manage information going forward.

More Information Governance; less Kondo

Everything. In its right place.
-Radiohead, 2000

An Information Governance approach to your information is the best way to  keep it well organised. This means more than just a good file plan, classification and retention schedule. Technological tools can aid you in keeping things tidy, but ultimately you are relying on people to do the right thing. Change management, training and support coupled with regular monitoring and reporting will help keep things on track.

If you want to  know more about how to conduct a ROT analysis, what tools can be used to conduct a ROT analysis, or how to set up an Information Governance programme, get in touch with us.

Metataxis has years of experience as information organisation consultants, pragmatic about coming up with scalable solutions that suit your requirements, and we won’t make you ‘hug’ your information – unless that’s what you want.

shutterstock_99177344

It’s good to talk

We are often engaged by our clients to help them develop a strategy for managing their information.

It should go without saying that understanding the information requirements means understanding the business.

Being a consultant does not mean having a cursory conversation and then magically producing a boilerplate strategy out of your back pocket.

Being a good consultant means…well, it means consulting, and then applying your knowledge in the unique context of the organisation you’re working with.

Understanding this context means spending time talking to people, not only those at the top with the ‘vision’ but also spending time with those on the ‘frontline’ who deal with the day to day and who make the organisation tick. These are often the ones who suffer the most from poor information management, wasting time looking for the information they need, redoing work or relying on out of date or inaccurate information.

Gaining this overview right across the business – understanding how it works and the constituent entities that make up the domain (to go all information architecture speak) gives valuable insight and often gives us a better view of the enterprise than those within it.

Only by doing this can you then understand the business, how information management can help and what the strategy should be.

An invaluable by-product of the time spent talking to people is that you have started one of the crucial aspects of the strategy implementation before it is even written – change management. Talking to people means that you have already started engagement and staff will be more willing to accept change and act on it if they feel their concerns and issues have been listened to and are being addressed.

It really is good to talk.

Lessons from West Wing for GDPR compliance

What now seems an age ago, there was a TV series called West Wing telling the story of President Bartlett and his White House staff who were capable of wisdom, bravery, some pretty good one-liners and glam frocks, who were on a quest for human aspiration, despite frequently revealing themselves as flawed human beings.

In the episode ‘A Proportional Response’ President Bartlett is battling the desire to order retribution on a vast and violent scale following a Syrian attack on a US helicopter which killed several Americans, including a young, new, father Bartlett had befriended. But, instead, the President is talked down by his Chief of Staff, Leo McGarry, to taking a response that is proportional to the situation, rather than smiting the earth in fury.

A response in Leo’s words, ‘It’s proportional, it’s reasonable, it’s responsible, it’s merciful.’

And so what is the relevance of a ‘proportional response’ to GDPR compliance? To align with GDPR an organisation needs to strike the right balance between over-reacting and, yet, still addressing what needs to change.

After all the pre-25 May GDPR hype and headlines, and the deluge of consent emails flooding our inboxes, followed by…well…not a lot, really. It almost feels like we are still waiting for ‘it’ to happen. Or that ‘it’ will never happen. That it was all just hype; yet another Y2K fizzer.

The very tempting ‘proportional response’ to this is to do exactly nothing. To pat ourselves on the back that we weren’t taken in by all the dark threats and headlines, and to go on our merry way, scattering personal data about like confetti at a wedding.

But don’t be fooled.

The ICO has been busy. The penalties to date are mostly still under the previous legislation. The investigative process takes time – and it’s only been five months.

Whatever ICO decisions are downstream, what matters for organisations about data protection is what has always mattered. It’s an opportunity to do business better by aligning with the new regulations. That’s what a ‘proportional response’ is; one that makes sound business sense in the long term. It’s not just about fearing the goblins that live in dark data, or of the avenging angels.

Taking a ‘proportional response’ to your data protection is about gaining positive outcomes along the way to compliance. Organisations will eventually save money they didn’t even realise they were wasting. They will gain insight from joining up data that they never knew they had. And should the worst case happen, they will be in the most resilient position possible to be able to handle such an event.

A proportional response requires you to understand what your risk profile is in terms of the personal data you control and process. You need to know what personal data you have, where it is and what could possibly go wrong? What data and systems should you be focusing your effort on?

Once you have that knowledge, you can make it difficult for your employees to do the wrong thing and easy for them to do the right thing, because the systems in place support that outcome. You can take every reasonable measure to protect what needs to be protected, from deliberate attack and from somebody just doing something dumb.

‘It’s proportional, it’s reasonable, it’s responsible, it’s merciful.’ To your organisation, to your bottom line, and to the data subjects who are your customers and your employees.

Deal or No Deal: GDPR after Brexit

UK Inadequacy?

Late last week the government issued a formal statement about the position of the UK in relation to GDPR in a no deal scenario. As expected conditions for the flow of data between the UK and the EEA are a primary concern in this situation. Transfers of data outside the EEA must be safeguarded. Of all the safeguards available, the ideal for the UK is to gain adequacy status.

Regardless of Brexit, it can take some time for the EC to review whether adequacy status may be granted. Earlier this year the Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham spoke in Select Committee about the need to seek a ruling about adequacy sooner rather than later to ensure a smooth transition. and also expressed doubts about whether the UK may attain adequacy.

There are some impediments to UK adequacy, namely the so-called Snooper Charter which has been challenged by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The ECJ has ruled that the “general and indiscriminate” retention of electronic communications allowed under the Charter to be illegal.

Also, once the UK leaves the EU, it will no longer be covered by the EU-US Privacy Shield provision for transfer to the United States. There is concern that any data sharing agreement between the US and UK will not be robust enough to satisfy European requirements.

To be fair, this was always going to happen. With Brexit, the UK was always going to have to come up with a strategy for data sharing across the EEA. But a no deal outcome may accelerate the process, meaning this must be dealt with sooner rather than later.

Without the certainty of an adequacy ruling any time soon, government advice is to begin preparing  for the use of Model Clauses and Binding Corporate Rules (BCR) to manage data transfers to the UK. Each of these may involve quite a lead in time for organisations to set up, so the time to act is now.

Uncertainty and Risk

What does that mean for organisations in the UK that rely on GDPR to support free flow of information within the EEA? It’s a risk, and one you should be ready for. While there is uncertainty about the future of data transfer arrangements between the EEA and the UK, it is worth beginning to prepare for the worst.

How do you prepare? The first step is a risk assessment. Organisations that have already worked to comply with GDPR will have a head start, as they will understand their data flows and have a strategy to employ safeguards to transfer. In effect, those who have records of processing and GDPR action plans will have already completed much of the analysis they need to pinpoint areas that need to be addressed.

If you haven’t done this already, and you do share personal data with the EU, understanding where your personal data is, where it comes from and where it is sent is now urgent.

With the future so uncertain, and such a high noise to signal ratio on the topic of Brexit in the media it is so tempting to switch off and pretend it is not happening. But for UK businesses sleepwalking into a no-deal/no data situation is not an option. If not already started, risk assessment, mitigation and safeguard arrangements need to start now.

Metataxis donates funding for CityLIS

Metaxis presentation 1Metataxis has donated funding for CityLIS students to attend conferences.

The press release states.

“The Department of Library & Information Science (CityLIS) at City, University of London continues its strong links with the commercial world. Metataxis, a leading taxonomy and information management consultancy, has made a generous donation to CityLIS. The funding will support our MA/MSc students in attending conferences, workshops and seminars of direct relevance to their careers. Many of the CityLIS students are embarking on a career in library and information work or are early career professionals who will benefit enormously from this opportunity. This builds on a strong relationship that Metataxis already has with CityLIS. Directors Judi Vernau and Noeleen Schenk have both been guest lecturers sharing their expertise in taxonomies and knowledge management with CityLIS students. This real-word experience is one of the most valued aspects of the CityLIS course.”

The full details can be found on the City, University of London website here.

See www.city.ac.uk/department-library-information-science for more information.