In a wide-ranging study of enterprise-level information management, email has emerged as the proverbial “elephant in the room.”

A significant number of information management professionals surveyed say their organizations’ email usage is essentially ungoverned and “chaotic,” creating a risk of compliance failures, according to the new report “Information Management: State of the Industry 2016,” produced by AIIM, the Association for Information and Image Management.

Fifty-five percent of respondents agreed that email “is their big, untagged, ungoverned, high-risk content type.”

Email also contributes to poor content management practices that result in duplicated efforts and an inability to find content quickly. Forty-nine percent said too many “round-robin” emails are creating problems with information management within their companies.

Half of the respondents said they would struggle if they had to defend in court deletions of information, especially documents and information hosted on cloud-based file shares or workplace social networks. Respondents said they are also concerned about defending deletions from SharePoint content management systems (41 percent) and email systems (31 percent).

However, email management is just one piece of a complex, multidimensional puzzle designed to support the pillars of organizational governance, risk and compliance. And companies are struggling to make it work, AIIM officials said.

“The findings reveal that the information management industry is in a state of flux and many organizations are adopting a ‘bury your head in the sand’ strategy,” said Bob Larrivee, AIIM’s chief analyst. “Organizations know that they need to manage their content and information much better than they are, and are also aware of their shortcomings should they ever be required to go to court. Yet they are still not doing enough to address this, and one feels that it may take one huge compliance case to shake organizations into action.”

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Only 18 percent of organizations align their information management/enterprise content management system strategies with agreed information governance policies. 15 percent have IG policies but they do not drive decisions. 29 percent have no IG policies.
  • In addition to the 64 percent reporting chaotic file shares and 48 percent chaotic email, 35 percent feel their electronic records management is chaotic, as does 34 percent their SharePoint. Enterprise file share-and-sync and workplace social networks are not generally well-governed.
  • Only 22 percent have mobile access to ECM/records management content. Twenty-once percent have mobile capture and 20 percent content creation and commenting. Just 13 percent have mobile process interaction. Eight percent are using digital signing.
  • 24 percent have no mechanism to limit stored content, including 21 percent of the largest organizations. Forty-seven percent have an IG policy that defines retention periods, but 51 percent rely on manual deletion, compared to 25 percent who have automated deletion. Seven percent are using analytics tools for data clean-up.

Follow this link to download the executive summary of “Information Management: State of the Industry 2016”:

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