Important Questions about Information Management in your Business

Over the last few months, I have been busily furthering my organising and productivity knowledge with a well respected industry veteran in the US, Barbara Hemphill. I will soon be able to add the title Certified Productive Environment Specialist (CPES) to my accomplishments and it's already given me some really effective extra tools to help my small business clients to manage their information and be more productive.

To give you a feel for Barbara Hemphill's philosophies, here is an article written by Barbara herself.  

CPES Productive Environment specialist

The 7 Information Management Questions™ 

Every Organisation Must Address

By Barbara Hemphill

Many companies continue to experience a cutback in workforce, but not in workload. For the employees remaining, accessing valuable company information becomes increasingly complex, whether it's a password, an email from a vendor documenting price agreements, or crucial information about a client contract. The computer has allowed us to generate information as never before, thus increasing our ability to create a mess. Poor information management creates inefficiency. Inefficiency costs money, causes unnecessary stress, precipitates poor customer service and  costs untold thousands of dollars.

Michael Dell (founder and CEO of Dell Computers) says that by 2020 the world will generate 35 times as much data annually as in 2010. Unfortunately, most companies never learned to manage paper, and most are not doing any better with electronic documents. What is particularly frightening is that if you have 1000 pieces of paper, you can hire someone to sort through them looking for specific words, and eventually they can find them.  If you have 1000 electronic documents stored in a variety of places from employees desktops (where they are not backed up!) to external drives, they may never be found -- and often when they are, the company no longer has the capability of reading the data!

It’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN the information management meltdown will take place, unless we start now to address the issue.  The following are seven CRITICAL questions to address about the information in your business.

  1.  What information do we NEED to keep?
  2.  In what form? (Paper or Electronic?) 
  3. For how long? 
  4. Who is responsible for filing it? 
  5. Who needs access to it? 
  6. How can we find it? 
  7. How should we back it up in case of disaster?

The rest of this article, where Barbara expands on each of these questions, can be read here. In the meantime, if these questions are making you uneasy about your own information management, be sure to get in Contact with me to discuss how I can help.


Barbara Hemphill is Founder and CEO of Productive Environment Institute, in Raleigh, N.C., and author of "Kiplinger's Taming the Paper Tiger" series. For information about her speaking and consulting services, visit