How Marie Kondo is like a ROT analysis

Redundant. Obsolete. Trivial.

Love it or hate it, much column space has recently 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. While “sparking joy” might be a little too esoteric an approach to your information, the idea of rationalising your systems and file shares this way is very similar.

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Some information you hold will inevitable be out of date, whether this is because it relates to a business activity you  no longer undertake, because it has been superseded or is incomplete.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.

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 management programme to prevent ROT accumulating in the first place, 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 ask if your information ‘sparks joy’ – unless that’s what you want.

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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.

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.

Metataxis now on G-Cloud 10 framework

Metataxis are pleased to announce that public sector organisations can again access our services through the latest G-Cloud 10 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
Content Migration
Training

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