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Struggling to make the most of the files your team members leave behind?

icon_userWhen a colleague or subordinate leaves your team knowledge about the files they created and used leaves with them. Orphaned files are most often ignored and allowed to accumulate as employees come and go. This strategy leads to cluttering of shared storage, to valuable data being lost and to duplication of effort.

Having users review and organize their files before transitioning out of your team or department ensures that value is protected; that the wider team can easily incorporate work done in future efforts. Additionally, being able to review the files created and used by former colleagues or subordinates, after they depart, can give valuable insight and enable further latent value to be identified.

Northern’s Solution

User off-boarding is an important milestone in the lifecycle of information created by that user. Some files should be deleted, some relocated and ownership should be transferred for files that are to be kept.

Northern’s Self-Service Data Management solution area allows both the user themselves, prior to exit, and/or the user’s manager or relevant Data Steward to review and act on the files belonging to the exiting user. Working with summaries and filtered file lists, in a self-service portal, these data management activities are efficiently and accurately carried out.


User-generated data represents the intellectual property, strategies, research and ideas that drive the development of the organization. Implementing a workflow that ensures the value of a user’s files is not lost when the user transitions out of a team or department has significant benefits:

Remaining group members are not forced to re-create documents, spreadsheets or presentations that are hidden or lost in a cluttered file share or suspended home share.
Team agility is improved when important files are correctly located and appropriately named; they can be quickly identified and used in relevant on-going activities.
Knowledge of file importance can degrade very quickly after the file owner leaves the group. Working with this data set immediately prior to, or just after, the user transitions out enables granular decisions to made very easily. The longer the task is left, the greater the risk that sensitive and restricted data is allowed to accumulate, unnoticed.
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