The financial impact of your data governance technology choices: Navigating costs and returns

While understanding the financial impact of your data governance system can seem daunting, good data governance provides both short and long-term benefits for your organization.

Belinda Walsh

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Belinda Walsh

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November 29, 2023
The financial impact of your data governance technology choices: Navigating costs and returns

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Understanding the financial impact of your data governance system is challenging, especially when your organization is considering migrating data to a new solution. Yet good data governance can provide substantial benefits for an organization, ensuring your data is where it needs to be for compliance, security, and business operations.

Cost of doing nothing

Effective data governance hinges on maintaining oversight of your organization’s information estate. Neglecting or delaying the implementation of robust data governance processes and technology is a costly gamble. If you’re not aware of the data you possess, how can it be effectively governed?

Just take a look at these statistics:

  • Poor data quality can cost companies an average of $12.9 million per year (Gartner).
  • The global average cost of a data breach in 2023 is $4.45 million (IBM).
  • Organizations often respond to subject rights requests (SRR) manually, and each request has an average cost of $1,400 (Gartner).

Unmanaged data is costly even without considering the reputational damage of a data breach. Organizations need to prepare a sound cybersecurity plan. It should include a data governance strategy and a data disposition strategy to minimize the amount of customer, business, or employee data.

Moving data governance to the top of your priority list will save employees time, efficiently use resources, and prevent potential fines.  

Cost of non-scalable information management

Employees spend significant time handling documents with a traditional enterprise content management system. Employees who create or modify a document must manually enter metadata and choose the appropriate categorization.  

Several challenges can occur in this situation. For instance, employees might not make the time to complete this task as they are busy focusing on their primary job responsibilities.  

Even if they bother to capture and categorize documents, there is little consistency. Employees can make errors and misclassify data with long-term consequences for decision-making, compliance, and processes.  

Manual processes can also take up an employee’s time. A given employee may spend 10 minutes daily on tasks like document management and administration within a records system. In a typical work year of 49 weeks, this accumulates to a staggering 24,500,000 wasted minutes, equivalent to 408,333 hours. An assumed wage rate of around $36 per hour translates to a potential annual cost of $14,699,988.  

Over-reliance on end users is an unreliable and inefficient method. Instead, organizations can turn to RecordPoint for a modern, manage-in-place approach to information management. These manual and burdensome tasks are then no longer the concern of your entire team. A manage-in-place solution leaves the data in its source system, enabling teams working in specific systems to access it where they left it, promoting uninterrupted workflow and collaboration.

Using an AI engine as part of your data governance solution to help categorize large volumes of data can also result in a favorable ROI. An AI feature like RecordPoint’s Classification Intelligence provides the scale you need to meet compliance and privacy obligations while maintaining productivity.

Total cost of ownership of information management solutions

Organizations often fail to recognize how significant the time and financial commitment is with on-premises information governance solutions. Uncovering and quantifying all cost areas, including hidden expenses, can prove challenging.

When deciding whether moving to a SaaS solution is the best choice for your organization, you should go beyond IT infrastructure considerations. You need to evaluate the costs of ongoing storage, software upgrades, hardware updates, and maintenance.  

A picture of two icebergs. They show the difference in hidden costs between a SaaS subscription versus hidden costs of software licences.

The right information management solution can deliver a positive return on investment

When adopting a centralized data governance solution or migrating to a more modern solution, it’s vital to remember that even marginal efficiency improvements can translate into substantial cost savings.  

Let’s review three ways the right information management solution can unlock positive ROI.  

Employee productivity

It’s unlikely every employee in your organization captures all critical information into a records platform as they should. Record-keeping often falls to the bottom of an employee’s priority list. An automated records management system can reduce errors and allow employees to focus on their core responsibilities.

Not only can an information management system improve employee focus, but it can also restore a significant amount of time. It doesn’t seem like a few seconds to handle every document could have a noticeable impact, but consider this scenario:



  • 1000-person organization.
  • On average, each employee deals with five documents and 20 emails daily.  

Manual processing:  

  • Five seconds to check in and catalog an item, and 5 minutes daily for searching.
  • Organization-wide, this equates to 118 hours per day, 590 hours per week.
  • The cumulative time spent over the standard work year – (49 weeks) is 28,910 hrs.

Cost savings:  

  • Assuming $36/hour wage.
  • $1 million in costs that can be eliminated through a “manage in-place” strategy, easing laborious tasks for your team.

Organizations could mitigate this substantial cost by implementing a more efficient in-place management system. Documents are automatically classified without your employees needing to get involved.  

Technology savings and application retirement

A critical pillar of good data governance is deleting the information you no longer need to store, like redundant, obsolete, and trivial (ROT) data. Your organization can realize technological savings by identifying and disposing of unnecessary data. This action could lead to significant savings, encompassing reduced storage costs, decreased computing resource utilization, and lower licensing fees associated with legacy application maintenance.

Many organizations may hesitate to delete data because they are unsure of what is important enough to keep. There is often a temptation to move all the data to a new system to prevent deleting important files. But this lift-and-shift approach often drags the same problems to the new system.  

RecordPoint offers a tool called File Analysis that can be deployed in your environments, enabling you to assess your network file share repositories before migrating or retiring legacy applications.  

To effectively retire an application, you can transition high-value data into a platform like RecordPoint for the remainder of its lifecycle. You can confidently dispose of any low-value ROT data.

You can realize significant savings by retiring systems and using RecordPoint for the remainder of the data lifecycle.

Risk mitigation

Regarding data breaches, cybersecurity teams can only do so much. As part of your risk mitigation strategy, be aware of what information you have so you can take the necessary precautions to protect it. After all, you can’t protect what you don’t know you have in your system.  

Organizations also need to have a plan to delete sensitive information once its retention period ends. Removing unneeded records helps lower overall data risk since a threat actor can’t expose sensitive information that doesn’t exist. Ultimately, data disposition helps improve the protection of personal information.

Data privacy regulations continue to evolve. If your organization is non-compliant with legislation concerning governing data, you could end up paying hefty fines and dealing with other legal consequences. Take a look at the penalties you may face around the world:

  • GDPR: Depending on the severity, a fine of 10–20 million Euros or 2–4% of its global turnover for the preceding fiscal year.
  • The Australian Privacy Legislation Amendment (Enforcement and Other Measures) Bill: The maximum penalty for serious or repeated privacy breaches is whichever is greater: $50 million, 30% of a company’s turnover in the relevant period, or three times the value of any benefit obtained through the misuse of information.
  • California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA): This regulation mandates fines of up to $2,500 per violation or $7,500 per intentional violation. Remember that each consumer is considered one violation, so the penalty can quickly add up to a large amount.

Proving your organization’s compliance is non-negotiable in this modern era. Effective data governance serves as a protective measure, shielding your organization from substantial penalties and, in turn, enhancing your ROI.

Your organization needs a system to organize, classify, and dispose of data. It will enable your organization to reduce data risk even as you are scaling.  

How can RecordPoint help?

There’s a notable potential for a positive ROI by using a modern information system like RecordPoint.  

Staff no longer worry about complex record classification, retention policies, or manual filing. The burden of records management is alleviated, allowing users to focus on their primary responsibilities and increasing overall productivity.

Your organization also lowers its data risk by ensuring compliance with privacy regulations, helping you avoid costly fines and penalties, and enhancing your ROI.  

RecordPoint helps highly regulated organizations ensure their data is where it should be – safeguarded for privacy, security, and governance. The platform provides vital intelligence and facilitates defensible processes throughout the data lifecycle.  

We know that selecting the right solution is challenging; it’s critical that whatever solution you choose must have the capacity to revolutionize your organization’s information management and subsequently deliver a favorable ROI.

Watch our Unlocking ROI with the RecordPoint platform webinar.  

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