Needs Assessment: Getting Started with IM
What is it?
A needs assessment will identify your current information management (IM) practices and evaluate them against standards, best practices and applicable legislated requirements to identify gaps and risks, and provide a plan for moving forward.
Who is it for?
Generally we perform needs assessments for organizations who:
- Presently have no formal IM program and are exploring what they need to do in order to better control and manage their information; or
- Are investigating a specific area of IM to address an immediate problem such as running out of storage space, meeting privacy requirements, facilitating legal discovery requirements, etc.
What results can I expect?
Typically you will receive:
- A report of our findings;
- A detailed business case to aid in decision-making regarding next steps. Typically the business case includes a risk analysis, resource and staffing analysis, etc.; and
- A customized, prioritized action plan with measurable, relevant metrics to meet organizational objectives, improve IM and address the risks faced.
With this information you will be prepared to:
- Present the business case for improved IM practices to your senior management; and
- Begin planning and implementing an IM program or a specific IM initiative (e.g. improved management of e-mails) in a systematic and successful way.
Service At a Glance
We will analyze your current situation and deliver a business case for presentation to senior management and/or a prioritized action plan detailing how you can proceed with your next steps.
Key Terms: Needs assessment, situational assessment, gap analysis, business case, strategic plan
Case in Point: “That’s a Lot of Records!”
Often the requirement for a needs assessment is driven by a specific initiative being considered or an immediate problem to be solved, rather than a general desire to establish a corporate (or organization-wide) IM program.
This case in point describes an engagement which arose from an organization’s desire to improve its management of a specific group of critical records – thousands of member files in paper, microform and digital formats containing hundreds of unique document types.
We were retained to review the organization’s current practices for managing those records, compare those practices to best practices, and identify risks and areas for improvement.
We were also retained to develop a strategic plan with a focus on records storage and retention. The strategic plan identified the operational, financial and technological requirements for implementing the recommended changes, improvements and enhancements in the lifecycle management of the member records. Activities in the plan were classified as short term (next 6-12 months), medium term (next 12-24 months) and longer term (next 25+ months).
Implementation of the strategic plan will enable the organization to ensure its member records are properly identified, organized, accessible, protected and retained as long as necessary to meet operational and other requirements.