Data Housekeeping: How To Manage Your Data

Podcast Transcription:

Hello, everybody. And welcome back to another episode of the Modern Workplace Hacks podcast. This is officially episode four for 2021. And Josh and I are going to have a chat today out content content in your business, which essentially is the data in your business, how to find it, where it is, what to look for and then how you can use it. It might not sound exciting, but there’s some pretty cool little insights, and we think you get a lot of value out of it. So listen up and we’d love to hear your feedback.

Welcome to another Modern Workplace Hacks with Tom and Josh. Tommy, how are you? Good night. Good week. Good week. Yeah. It’s going too quickly. Yeah, it is. It’s May already. It’s always June. June. Yeah. We better release this in May or June. We’ll release it. Episode four, officially. There you go. Ladies and gentlemen, we said we’d have some guests on that actually is booked. Yeah. And still around that accounting stuff, but we wanted to get back on here. We got excited because we do want to keep up the momentum and answer some of those questions that are not coming through, but the ones we’re saying that we think would add value.

We’re having the questions. We’re having some really engaging meetings at the moment. And one of those sort of big topics that’s coming up is this, I suppose, changing face of SharePoint and the fact that people are excited about again, I know we’re excited about and we spoke about it in the past on the podcast. But I think as part of this workflow that we’re about to sort of have guests on and talking about technology and the adoption of technology, we thought it would be a really good idea to go deep and have a bit of a chat about SharePoint and the importance of also document management and my favorite word at the moment, document Infantry Content Inventory. There you go. Which has been a massive part of I think, of some of the changes that we’ve introduced and helping clients really understand their data.

Yeah. When we talk about data as well, we’re not just talking about the fancy reports and the dashboards and things like that. That’s really critical and really important. That’s more of a data and business analyst analysis. People go directly. We’re talking about the boring stuff, your word, your Excel files, but that’s the stuff that still makes your business tick. Absolutely. Your proposals, your spreadsheets, your presentations, all that sort of stuff. Now, what we’ve been finding is that people actually don’t necessarily know where that sits within their environment, coming from a traditional file server, which by nature sprawls. Yeah. Everywhere deep and dark and ugly. And that move to SharePoint becomes a little daunting if you don’t actually know what and where that data is. Yeah.

I think that’s been pretty critical to the approach of light, where introducing that step in our process where it’s. Let’s just take that time now actually document where your data is, what you’re using it for and where it’s most appropriate to go, because it may not be appropriate to go to SharePoint or online. It may still need to make the most sense to stay local. Yeah, absolutely. So I think that’s been pretty key, and it’s opened up, not opened up. I mean, it’s sort of expanded on people’s thoughts around their data, which I think is good. And I think it’s a great analogy that was used in the meeting a couple of weeks ago. You got a closet and that closet full of clothes and toys and everything, and you’re going to move to a new house. Are you going to take everything or is there a few things you might want to leave or is there a few things that are going to stay downstairs in the new house and not be upstairs?

And I thought that’s actually a really good analogy and that’s kind of how it is. It’s kind of refreshing in many ways. Don’t look at the negative of oh, my God. There’s a lot of data. It’s the positive of actually, I’m going to do a bit of housekeeping. I’m going to clean up. I’m going to understand what I’ve got. The amount of duplication we say of people that have obviously got excited and created a whole new dock is really interesting, but also really powerful, because once they know where it is, then you can do something with the decision making is so much easier. On the note of moving. I did move house and did go through the content inventory, and I’ve still got a room full of archive.

But that’s really it. It’s really start to define it. I mean, working with a client, they’ve got an existing management system of documents. It’s got over 800,000 records in it. Well, like, it’s insane. That’s a lot. And even in discussions that we’ve had with them, they don’t necessarily know what all that data is. Well, they know what it is, but they can’t categorize it effectively. They haven’t got enough information associated with the file. So just opening up that conversation around. Well, let’s define in more detail what that data is, Where’s it coming in. How’s it doing? What are you doing with it? Made it. And the guy said he goes, I’ve never been this excited about data officially talking about PDF files, but what it did, it was it opened them up to thinking about it solely differently to go. Okay, what else could we do with this data?

It’s to going make our job or our lives a little bit more easier or effective. So we ran through that. Okay. What is it? Let’s identify it. Let’s content as much as we can out of our inventory, what we can based on what’s in there. Now let’s look at the process that you want to do with it. Yeah. 100% because now that they know what they’ve got or in this case, what necessarily didn’t have they said or could we add this field and this metadata or could we search on this date range if we’re capturing that, we can search on it? Yeah, absolutely. So it was really interesting conversation about now that closet. We’re leaving a whole pile of data in the archive, but they still need to reference it, which is perfectly fine.

We’re drawing a line in the sand and go, right. We’re moving house. We’re in a new place. This is how we’re going to run it. This is why we’re going to run it. And this is now what we can do with that data as we build it up, which changes the game and say it did bring a smile to my face. When this is really good, I can see the value in it. Whereas before I was just move it. I’ll just find it later. No, you’re not going to find it later. And then you’re going to get the shits with the system. I can’t find it. Yeah. And it wasn’t the fact that what we’ve done is, I suppose, slowed them down a little bit and said, hey, let’s not just take all the clothes and everything in the cupboard and just stick it in the new house. Let’s order to understand it.

You might have put on some pounds and really think about what do you want out of it? And I think that’s one example of the power of what SharePoint is really offering. Yeah. What do you want out of it is a key element and it can do a lot of things, and we know that. And that’s always the challenges. Where do you start? I think one of the things we are adamant about is don’t just take what you’ve got and move it and expect it to work 100% because it is a different beast from your file server, and you need to treat it differently and manage it differently. To get the most out of it. You can’t just pick up gigabytes or terabytes of data and expect to get the results, expect to get a better outcome by just simply moving it to SharePoint.

There needs to be a plan. There needs to be structure around what else you want to do with it, because it will do everything else. Intranet applications. It’s that starting point for where do people need to go but the documents that sit behind it that’s critical to your business. You want to know where they are, how to access them, but how to access them efficiently. Yeah. And I suppose another interesting thing I’ve found is simplifying or making it easy to navigate your SharePoint environment. And that’s been a big learning for me because I think maybe the first implementation of a lot of SharePoint environments was how do I make sure I’ve got absolutely everything in there?

And I have these really long lists and these big libraries that I kind of will go through. And I’ll find the stuff. And what we’ve learned is when we do an auditor, an inventory that so much of that data has never been touched because it’s just too bloody hard to find, too hard to find or it just sits there in some sort of repository. It becomes cumbersome to you. So as soon as something becomes cumbersome, people aren’t going to use it. You need to keep it, keep it simple. It makes the process much easier. We can build complex workflows and approvals and all sorts of stuff behind it. But ultimately, you don’t want people having to speed up their job. You want to have that information at hand. You don’t want them to have to necessarily spend a lot of time thinking about where they need to go, what they need to do. And that comes down to even managing your individual documents.

When you’re talking about things like assigning Tags and metadata and things like that, keep it concise and keep it appropriate to the data set. But don’t have 50 different metadata fields that people need to fill out when they upload a document because they won’t. They won’t do it well. And if you’re forcing them to do it, that’s fine, because you’re going to get rubbish data because people are just going to select the first option. So you want to be thinking about that user experience and that engagement in context as well about how you want to manage that data and how you want to be able to report and find it. So that’s on the data side, but even on the process side, it’s simplifying your processes, simplifying your workflows where appropriate to not only speed it up to make it more efficient to get things done and decisions made. Yeah, absolutely.

And I think a lot of people are scared to jump in and understand that. But if you really look at it and this is what blew my mind because I probably over thought of it. It’s just a big spreadsheet, and you kind of go through that spreadsheet and go, what’s the file names, what’s in there? And that’s probably a pretty good way to think about it. It is. I mean, Sharepoints as big as you want it to be, and it doesn’t have to be. I mean, we’re doing some reasonable size SharePoint sites with organization that have multiple teams and structure, and they’re quite established in the way that they do things, which is fine. And it’s going through that process with them to go.

Okay. Well, as the finance team, who do you engage with or who engages with you within the business and what data they need, what data you need to share with them? Because does that make sense for it to go in a lockdown finance folder? Or does it make more sense to go in a more public folder for that? So by nature, people go finance my data, lock it down. Yeah. Who are you engaging with within the business or even externally but predominantly Sharepoints that internal function? So who are you engaging within the business that needs access to that information or that data? Do they need access to the whole thing, or are they just requesting things from you? Because we found that in an order we did the other week or the other month, and it was the finance team. We’re constantly getting bombarded with questions about this that and the other. And it comes in through teams, and it comes in through email and people are phoning and all this sort of stuff.

And so. Okay, what are they asking for? They’re always always asking for these three things. Always ask for this. Okay. How about we create a very simple web form or a bot or a chat or something within your existing framework that they can submit the request. You can find it in the list, you can manage it, you can order it and you can give them the information, and then they know where it’s up to all the time as well. Yeah, that’s just simplified. It was a big realization for them. Process changing psychology and a lot of that. It’s not difficult to do as a bit of time and investment to get that process right and create that front end and the list and the tracking and the automation piece behind it. But ultimately, you do it once and now you’ve got this component that’s going to streamline your entire team’s function.

Everyone’s going to know what needs to be done. What are the requests coming from the business? Whether you got 15 staff or 500 staff, you get what’s coming in to your Department that you need to manage and filter and get out there and make it easy for people to get access to you as a provider of information in the business. And I think that’s a key element. Yeah. That’s a really good point. That’s a really good point, because you are individually in your business. You’ve always got clients you’re serving. They might be internal clients that are external. But if we look in the context of this SharePoint and the data moving between your business and moving through your business, you’re interfacing with departments.

Regardless. It might be one person in each Department, but you’re still interfacing, and there’s still requests going backwards and forwards. How do we facilitate that process more effectively and use the platforms that are there? It might be teams. It might be SharePoint. It might be a list, it might be a form, it might be a bot, it’s all there all they’re ready to go, but it’s just thinking about and identifying it and that data that people need access to. All that information.

Yeah. Understanding how you do it now and be willing to understand that there might be a better way to do it, even though you’ve done that way for ten years and still get the outcome, you want to get a better outcome or a more efficient outcome is what you’re aiming for. I mean, if you’re doing a particular way and you’ve always done it for ten years, that way, well, at least think about it. Have a look at what’s available to me now. You don’t want to do it. If you’re going to get a worse outcome or it’s going to slow it down or whatever that’s sort of that to take into consideration. It’s not technology, for technology’s sake, but the reality is in most instances it’s going to improve, you’re going to improve it. And if anything, you’re going to improve the accountability and the trial associated with it, which is important when you’re managing data. Definitely. Who’s doing what version control. All these sorts of all these things come up.

But the beauty is it’s all in there? Yeah. Adding anything extra into it built in. Yeah. I think it’s important because we talk a lot about that dead space time and people doing jobs that they do over and over again. And I think that’s where that really ties in. Well, is that you sort of say that if you set up a little web form or if you deploy a bot or if you’re thinking a bit differently about the thing that you do 20 times a week and that it could be this and maybe it only saves you five minutes and people don’t realize 20 times 52 times four people in your team and that’s it is it thinking about that. And sometimes it does require that level of okay. No, I don’t want to automate that because it only takes me five minutes. How many five minutes a day you’re doing it, or how many five minutes a week are you doing it? If you’re doing it five minutes a month? Yeah. Right. Probably not.

But if you’re doing it five minutes a day or even five minutes a week, or it’s five minutes a week across ten people in your team. That’s ours. That adds up pretty quick. And then it doesn’t even take into consideration any of the lost time or process around it, flicking between tasks and downtime and changing and finding the information if you haven’t dig it out or digging out things like that. So all that comes into it. Most of this discussion around that platform and SharePoint and automation and process is all about streamlining your time about time. Absolutely. Time and consistency and trackability, I think, is probably the third one that comes into it. And not because necessarily you want to watch people or things, but just to have an understanding of how it’s working. Well, you can’t measure it if you don’t track it. Yeah.

So in some instances, adding a measurement point throughout these things, you can then track it more effectively and look at volumes and increases. And is that changing? Is it decreasing more people using it, less people using it. What are they doing? How are they engaging? I mean, we look at it from a customer service and client service perspective. When we’re tracking numbers, their clients are we getting ratings? Are we getting more bad? Are we getting more good that guides us in decision making around the business? Well, that same concept applies internally. If you’re tracking what’s happening and those types of things, how many activities are we doing or within this web form that we’ve created? How many times are people hitting it and adding it on to list? Well, it might be 100 times a week. Well, you’re five minutes now.

You’ve just realized that that five minute task you’re actually doing 100 times a week, but just didn’t realize. Yeah. So you’ve now saved it again and you’ve now saved yourself. I can’t do the maths, but a couple of hours a week now go and do that high value ask, high value work. So I think that’s the interesting thing around those platforms and getting what we’re going to be discussing in the next few weeks is really that identifying those dead spots. The dead time. Definitely. What can technology do to make it a little bit more efficient and effective so that dead time turns into productive time? Yeah. And especially in a number of industries, but the few who are going to sort of, I suppose, go deep on accountants, especially over the next couple of weeks. Is that important around the fact that your industry is changing and there is a push towards trying to make things more digitized, quicker, more engaging. And that’s been pushed by the regulators around you.

So you look at the ATO and the way they are starting to deal with documentation. There’s very few things now that are not electronic for the one touch payroll you’ve touched on before. That’s a prime example of their intention. If the regulatory authorities are pushing that agenda, you need to be thinking about that. And also your customers are demanding it. I think that demand is driven by time. We’re in a society and a time now where you can get everything at your fingertips. There is that expectation of things just need to happen. Absolutely. And the reality is they can’t in all cases, but you’ve got to be able to facilitate where you can happen. I want support right now. Well, depending on the nature of the issue, I can give it to your account, but I can give you access to raise that issue and get it done.

I can give you the structure around how we deliver service to make sure we can do something when you’re available at a time that’s convenient to you, because it’s all about time and convenience, is it? I want something fast. And if I can’t get it fast, I want it to be in my convenient to me. Yeah. Easy. Convenient. Interesting. Very good. You can talk about that. For all day. Yeah. Time and convenience is how Uber came from. The only reason Uber is it’s convenient? Yeah. I don’t want to have to ring a taxi company and stay on hold and tell them where I am because I might not actually know where I am. And that’s how come it took off, because I can pull up my phone, I can click a button and it works out where I am and the quickest available car will come and get me.

Uber was just about convenience. That was it. That’s my take on. And now it’s true. I think it’s very cool business, convenience and time. I don’t want to have to drive to the takeaway shop and not Cook my dinner. Now I just want to deliver cooked, ready to go, literally walk to the front door. Which that’s the world we live in. Right. And that’s what people are demanding. So as services, businesses or as any business, you’ve got to adapt to that because that’s the trend, right? Yeah.

It’s gone a bit off topic, but it’s interesting having those conversations with friends and stuff. How come we seem so busy now to what we were when we were kids or what our parents perceived is busy? What’s changed? That’s why we’re seeking time and convenience. Absolutely. And it’s just driving. I think things are expected. There’s more expectation. There’s more things available, more things happening. So those things that you choose to do, you just want to do it quickly. Yeah. I’d agree. I think it’s just we’re trying to put more into a day. Yeah. And I think good or bad, there’s an expectation. There’s a lot of distraction as well. Interesting one, because we talked about that last year was

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