Cloud information management fighting data sprawl

What is Data Sprawl and How Do You Combat It?

Businesses rely on digital data. As more and more organisations undergo digital transformations, the number of systems, applications, and software used to process information increase. Data sprawl occurs when you manage information across multiple systems, without centralisation.

So, how can you combat data sprawl?

What causes data sprawl?

Data sprawl has many causes:

  • Decentralised document management: Decentralised data can quickly become siloed and scattered across multiple systems and applications.
  • Shadow IT: Information can become lost and unrecoverable by using software or services that are outside the scope of the central IT department.
  • Document version: When document version histories are not visible to everyone, it is easy to lose track of current versions. 
  • Data duplication: Duplicated data can lead to inconsistencies, making it hard to determine which data version is accurate.
  • Quick technology changes: Sometimes, new technology is the best way to adapt to economic pressures. However, this can cause best practices to be replaced with urgency, leading to data sprawl.

Why is data sprawl a problem?

Data sprawl can cause several problems for organisations, including:

  • Reduced productivity: Data sprawl makes finding documents and collaborating with your team difficult. It also increases the probability of loss and time wasted recreating documents. 
  • Security risks: There is an increased risk of data breaches and security incidents.
  • Increased costs: The cost of managing and maintaining multiple systems is greater than that of one system.
  • Compliance: Ensuring data meets regulatory requirements is already a challenge - throwing in the complications of managing multiple systems over multiple locations, it becomes even more complex.
  • Workflow: Non-standardised data can't power automated workflows. When workflows aren't automated, your processes are less efficient. 

How to combat data sprawl?

You can take several steps to combat data sprawl using digital transformation.

  • Cloud data management: By introducing an Electronic Document Management System (EDMS), data is centralised and standardised. Cloud-based solutions directly address data sprawl issues, ensuring all documents are in one location for everyone that requires access.
  • Data governance policies & accreditations:  ISO27001ISO9001 and BS10008 ensure data is appropriately collected and secured across all systems and applications.
  • Audit trail and document control: An audit trail records document movement, alteration, and access to prevent the unauthorised transfer or sharing of sensitive data. Document version control gives you the confidence to collaborate, identifying the current version of a document.
  • Analytical tools: Reporting functions can be used to oversee company-wide workflows or be personalised for individual insight. These tools allow you to identify and consolidate duplicate data across multiple systems and applications. 
  • Training and best practice: Training employees on data management best practices and the risks of data sprawl reduces the likelihood of using unauthorised systems or applications.


Start your digital transformation

Datatron designs electronic document management solutions that combat data sprawl for various industries. The services we provide streamline and automate business-critical workflows.

We do this by understanding your business's intricacies, formalising your document control requirements in a centralised system, and enhancing it with bespoke audit trials to ensure your data is secure and compliant with GDPR.

Take control of your data, start the conversation today.

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