Remember playing I spy when you were younger? Looking through those books that were full of cluttered rooms, scanning the page to try and find all of the hidden items? As a child’s game, the clutter and chaos could be fun to look through.

But we’re not kids, and our work isn’t child’s play. And yet, for many organizations, the I Spy books perfectly depict what their data looks like. In fact, it’s more cluttered and jumbled than one picture because files are spread across multiple sources.

Professionally, the question isn’t “Can you find the hidden object?” but rather, “Where exactly is the file I need today?” or, “How can we get useful information from all this data, so we can make wise decisions about the business?” And from a privacy compliance standpoint, “Which of my files contain sensitive data? How can I protect it if I don’t know where it is?”

Just like finding hidden objects in a picture, bringing order to your organization’s data may seem overwhelming and impossible, but it doesn’t have to be. Indeed, the job may be big and even complex, but there are clear steps and useful tools to not only organize files, but to transform the cluttered mess into useful, quickly accessible information.

To get you started, readers of this blog are invited to download a free dashboard from FileFacets. With this content analytics tool, you can specify which data repositories you want to analyze, and FileFacets will identify and present content from multiple systems into a single, enterprise-wide view. You will be able to see what you have — exactly what files are where — which is the very first step of conquering the data labyrinth.

When you can see all the files, you can begin to bring order to your system. Consider these next steps:

Process: FileFacets automates search-and-sort processes and aggregates content from all sources — network-based and cloud-based file sharing repositories, enterprise content management systems (ECMs), Microsoft Exchange servers, and individual desktops.

You can search for documents based on their source, age, or file type and organize files based on content, subject matter, or common passages of text. Perhaps you’d like to see all the contracts the company has in place — across multiple offices around the globe. Or, maybe you need to find all files that contain any kind of personal identifiable information (PII).

Next, FileFacets helps you set protocols to clean and streamline files. An AIIM Market Intelligence study found that only 42% of the information stored by businesses is considered useful. When you clear out the ROT (redundant, obsolete, trivial) files from your system, you will get quicker searches for files you need and reduce the time your team spends looking for information.

Act: When you know what you have and keep only what you need, you can action the files appropriately: protect sensitive data, assign access to correct departments and individuals, and monitor for compliance. In our current environment of ever-increasing regulations for protecting PII (and associated penalties for not protecting it), businesses must implement the best practices of information governance.

Bringing organization to an enterprise’s data is a tall order, but the right tools and partners can turn the task into a transformation that delivers long-term benefits like increased productivity, cost savings, and regulatory compliance.

Ready to take the first step? Download your free dashboard now and let’s get started.