Technology has completely reinvented the way we work, but it also means we now have more information to manage than ever. This information, often stored in documents or correspondence, is the lifeblood of project work, but only if it's well-organised, accessible, up to date and secure.
There's no doubt about it: filing, storing, managing and protecting millions of documents and data files - created and shared by thousands of people - is no easy task. Unmanaged files, such as emails and Teams chats, can quickly become a chaotic, obtrusive and risky burden on your organisation.
The key to turning scattered information into one unified source of truth while protecting your most sensitive information is implementing robust information management processes, such as automated filing and a Document Management platform.
Introducing the Single Source of Truth
The Single Source of Truth is a concept based around ensuring everyone in an organisation has access to all information they need before making any business decisions. The term 'Golden Thread of Information' was coined in the wake of the Grenfell Tragedy by Dame Judith Hackitt.
Dame Judith called for a 'golden thread' in the AEC industry, or a digital record of securely created, updated and accessible information covering the entirety of a building's lifecycle, including design, construction and management from day one.
The Golden Thread provides better ways of working and encourages more transparent communication, helping organisations drive change more quickly and ensuring that all project and client members have access to one single version of truth. This is ideal for tracking amendments to the architectural process, product updates and scope changes in the AEC industries, and ensuring all revisions are documented, stored and instantly accessible by everyone on the project team.
More importantly, the Golden Thread and Single Source of Truth approach removes the responsibility of storing and managing data away from a single person or department. The system takes responsibility for keeping documentation updated, maintaining the Single Source of Truth and flagging any potential gaps in correspondence. For a construction project, site managers always have live information of any incidents, and data prompts them to make site adjustments as and when needed.
The need for a Single Source of Truth across all project and client-based industries
Although it's a concept coined in the Construction industry, a Single Source of Truth or Golden Thread affects more than just the AEC. In fact, it's relevant to all project and client-based industries, such as legal services, financial services, property, accounting, and more!
Firms are obligated to maintain accurate and complete records for a set number of years in several sectors, and it's not uncommon for global businesses to get caught out. Recently, Microsoft was ordered to pay $25 million in a court settlement when they couldn't produce specific email evidence on the case.
Managing information and having a Single Source of Truth is critical for project and client teams. When done right, it allows teams to use their time, resources and knowledge to make the right decisions at the right time to fulfil their roles effectively. But something we've found is that there is usually one critical piece of the information management puzzle missing... email.
Unfortunately, unless companies have proper processes in place, everyone in an organisation manages their emails differently. Whilst some project and client teams are diligent in filing their business-critical correspondence, others don't file at all. This means, without a holistic information management process in place, you can't achieve a Single Source of Truth.
Regulatory requirements are fast becoming more stringent, and there is a growing need for companies to mitigate risks by quickly finding sensitive information. Poor information management should no longer be an excuse.
Ask yourself, do you have the right tools in place to carry out a proper audit trail to pass the latest regulatory requirements in your industry? When good information management practices are adopted, you can keep your business compliant, reduce risks of mediation, and future-proof your project delivery, even if your entire project team have moved on to new roles.
In fact, a new report published by the Centre for Digital Built Britain found that for every £1 invested in information management, firms can potentially secure up to £6 of labour time savings. For construction firms, this could mean cost savings between 1.6-18% on a project.
When information management is prioritised in companies, everyone wins!
This blog is a snippet from our latest interactive whitepaper: "Unifying Your Information: The Need for a Single Source of Truth". You can continue reading it here.
If you'd like to hear how Mail Manager can help your business achieve a Single Source of Truth, book a meeting with our team today, or download a free trial below.