Summary: File shares that become dumping grounds for data are bogging down your business. However, traditional cost-based arguments for better information governance often give way to other priorities. Here are 5 fresh, compelling reasons  for killing your company’s file share, now.

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Let’s be clear: all organizations have a need to share data, information and files. So why are we telling you to “kill your file share”?

In almost any organization, the typical corporate file share service—whether it’s Sharepoint, One Drive, Google Drive or Outlook (who out there hasn’t used their email client as a system of record?)—becomes a dumping ground for all sorts of data and files. As the company grows, these well-intentioned  file shares morph into what we refer to as “digital landfills.”

These file shares fill up with stale data and multiple copies of files, often mixed in with sensitive personal and corporate data. They are governed by permissions and access rules that are either too restrictive or too lax. They frustrate users, and keep your IT, security and information governance professionals up at night wondering when a crisis will occur that finally requires an emergency response.

Unfortunately, gaining executive buy-in to address the file share problem can be a challenge. While the cost savings are often obvious, information governance too often falls down the hot list in favor of other business priorities aimed at driving business growth. So, for all of the IG professionals out there, here are 5 fresh, compelling reasons you can use to make the business case to kill your company’s file share now:

1. You’ll Generate Low-Hanging Revenue: You would think we would start this list off with arguments around the costs and risks of owning a growing digital landfill. But there is significant upside in killing your file share and putting a good information governance initiative in its place: it makes data more usable and accessible. For a typical Fortune 1000 company, just a 10% increase in data accessibility will result in more than $65 million in additional net income.

2. Your Business Will Run Faster: In place of good information governance, companies often adopt a “keep everything forever” mindset. Instead of deleting or archiving old files, every email (along with all of its replies and forwards), report and revision of a document is kept and stored indefinitely. IDC reports that the world will create 180 zettabytes of data (or 180 trillion gigabytes) by 2025. What’s the big deal, you may ask, since storage is relatively cheap? The problem: companies that don’t get control of their data end up becoming mired in it, making it difficult, if not impossible, for users to get the data they need to drive business decisions. If you want your business to run faster, you need to kill your file share.

3. You’ll Be More Innovative: For those who think information governance is only for large corporations in old, heavily regulated industries, think again: Pandora Media’s investment and success in IG makes this clear. The popular cloud-based music streaming service discovered that at least 60% of its unstructured data had no value whatsoever, and there was no business or legal reason to continue to spend precious resources on protecting and storing it. The company immediately reclaimed 18 terabytes of expensive data storage and management capacity, recovering of tens of thousands of dollars in wasted storage capacity annually. Losing that dead data weight freed the company to focus on more strategic initiatives. “A lot of people say how important it is to know your data,” says Doug Meier, Director of Governance, Risk & Compliance at Pandora. “It’s even more important to know your data that really, truly matters.

4. Your Sales Organization Will Sell Better: Picture this: your head sales guy is getting ready to pitch a prized top account, and your top competitor is in play. How many copies of your company’s sales presentation currently reside on your file share? Which one is the right one? Out of the 11 revisions, which version of that product datasheet should he use? When was the pricing sheet last updated? When your company answers an RFP, how long does it take to find the data you need to answer the questions and submit a proposal? If your competitors are doing a better job than you are at responding to and engaging prospects, you need to kill your file share.

5. There’s Gold in That Data: Companies are discovering that the value they can mine from their data stores can far exceed the value of the actual product or service they offer. By the end of 2017, revenue growth from information-based products will double the rest of the product/service portfolio for one third of Fortune 500 companies, says IDC. For example, a Harvard Business Review article explains how UnitedHealth built a business with $5 billion in annual revenue by reusing the aggregate information contained in the vast number of claim forms it processes. In the process of killing your file share, you may just discover an entire new line of revenue to drive business growth.

There you have it: 5 compelling reasons to kill your company’s file share that don’t rely on the same old arguments for cutting costs and reducing risk. Feel free to use these in your next IG pitch to your executive team, and let us know how it goes!