Survey reveals organisations are exposed to legal action and bad publicity by employees who don’t manage electronic files well

A new survey has suggested that one in six (16%) employees lies to cover up mistakes that have resulted from the wrong version of information being presented to colleagues, management, suppliers and/or customers, because of poor computer file management.

The report, reveals that 67% of employees at middle manager or below think people in their organisation might have unknowingly presented the wrong version of information in this way, with 10% saying that the information was then re-used elsewhere.

According to the survey conducted for TOWER Software by Dynamic Markets, 35% of men are embarrassed by these mistakes compared to just 13% of women.

Paul Brenchley, vice president for TOWER Software in EMEA explained: ‘The most common outcome from these errors among respondents was personal embarrassment (23%). But, this pales against the business reality of losing customers, legal battles, staff dismissals, poor publicity and worst of all – failing to meet regulatory compliance such as Sarbanes-Oxley, Basel II, MIFID, e-government and beyond.’

He continued: ‘Perhaps more worrying, is that these statistics are just the errors that we know about, or that people are prepared to admit to. The problem is probably far greater, particularly as the errors are perpetuated by the re-use of wrong or out of date computer files, documents and email. 63% of employees questioned say negative consequences have resulted from the presentation of incorrect information. 8% say legal action was taken out against their organisation, 7% say they suffered bad publicity and 6% say they actually lost customers.’

‘85% of all senior managers are dealing with at least one business issue related to risk mitigation, regulation, compliance or growth. 40% are dealing with all of them. Yet, over a third (34%) of employees at middle manager or below have worked on a wrong or out of date version of a computer file or document because colleagues have worked on it and not saved it correctly.’