Even the smallest of businesses is drowning in a sea of electronic files stored on their network or in the Cloud. Unfortunately workers often don’t know what information they have, how to find individual items and even which data is the most critical. If they rarely delete or archive files, electronic clutter will continue to grow.
A recent survey showed that 43% of users see duplication in 50% of their files and 46% believe at least half of their information is unnecessary. Without culling, operations will slow down and a failure to purge data could even lead to financial loss if it becomes subject to discovery in future litigation.
The ideal solution is three steps that must be well planned to ensure success:
- Delete unnecessary content
- Reorganize the structure to make information intuitive to find
- Reclassify all files to a common file plan/folder structure
Knowledgeable employees need to be part of a spring file reorganization project but don’t overlook the importance of using professional help to develop the new file structure plan and classification system. Many businesses abandon their file clean-up efforts due to a deep seated fear of losing an important file. We have the expertise to guide your decluttering and re-organization efforts.
Survey: 46% of computer users believe at least half of their information is unnecessary.
Here are our top 10 considerations when cleaning out your electronic file system:
- Is this file unique? If not, which is the official file? Identify the original or master and delete the duplicates. Use one of the many free duplicate finders to speed up the process.
- Is there a legal or regulatory requirement to keep the file? If so, what is the timeframe? If the regulation period has expired, remove the file.
- Will the file potentially be involved in a lawsuit, investigation or other formal proceeding? If your retention schedule indicates you no longer need to keep the data, delete it.
- Does keeping this file serve an ongoing business purpose? Identify the purpose and decide how long to keep it. If it serves no purpose, remove it.
- Are there lots of extra system and application files? Remove extra versions of downloaded software or databases.
- When is the last time the email system was cleaned? Have each user take the time to remove older emails that are no longer relevant. Don’t forget unnecessary e-mail archives as well. When done, schedule your IT service group to run database maintenance to free up the space.
- Do you have copies of old desktop files related to changing to a new PC? When employees leave do you delete their files? Institute a regular cleanup process that occurs within one month of a PC change or employee departure.
- Are there old drafts of published web content that have no use? Sweep through the content library and purge old drafts within a week of major website changes.
- Can personal data be deleted? iTunes, videos or photos can take up tons of space.
- Have you sorted the files in various ways? Sort the files by date to determine which are the oldest and most likely to no longer be relevant. Also sort by size to decide where to get the biggest gains in terms of freeing up space.
Before undertaking this project get advice from your IT service group. The secret to success is a well-thought out plan and a staff that will do their part to make it a success. If the going gets tough remember this: the result will a more consistent and efficient shared file folder system. What a great way to start the summer!