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News

Research suggests private sector lags public sector in compliance issues.

Tower Software : 11 February, 2008  (Technical Article)
Despite recent high profile public sector data losses, Tower Software survey indicates that Government sector employees are more likely to be aware of compliance issues than their private sector counterparts.
A survey from enterprise content management company, Tower Software, has highlighted differing information management practices between the public and private sectors - despite both dealing with similar issues of risk mitigation, regulation, compliance and growth. The independent report, 'Document Mayhem in the UK and Republic of Ireland' reveals that more employees in public sector organisations (55%) store computer files and email in a particular place out of habit, compared to those in the private sector (36%). Yet, more private sector employees (6%) admit to working on the wrong or out-of-date version of a file about once a week, compared to public sector (zero).

David Oates, Vice President for Tower Software in EMEA explains, "Some would argue that public sector employees tend to serve longer tenures and consequently become more 'set in their ways' when it comes to storing work-related files, emails and documents. Our experience however, is that having been more heavily regulated for longer, the public sector is generally well versed with managing electronic information properly for compliance. The private sector is more concerned with time efficiency and duplication of effort."

Indeed, almost two thirds (60%) of senior managers in private sector organisations think employees would be more productive if they shared computer files in the proper manner, compared to 44% in the public sector. More of the same private sector managers also recognise the productivity consequences of file management than those in the public sector. These include making fewer mistakes, better inter-departmental relationships, improved service to customers, lower storage capacity requirements, better teamwork, less time wastage as well as lower printing and physical transport costs over paper-based reports.

Commenting on the spate of physical data losses by UK government agencies, Oates continues, "The vision of the cost savings and productivity gains of a paperless office has caused many organisations to concentrate their efforts on electronic records management and neglect the management of physical information carriers, such as paper records or discs. In fact, the Labour Government itself put a mandate on the whole of the central government public service stating that by 2004 all newly created public records will be electronically stored and retrieved. It is telling that the resulting approval scheme for records management systems run by the UK National Archives included the management of paper records and markers for physical data carriers as an optional module. Now, five years after the main hiatus to implement electronic records management systems, we see important data being lost because physical data carriers were not managed as a corporate competency."


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