Sunday, February 9, 2014

Where is records management heading?

Where is records management heading? This is the question that was asked in 2007 by Frank McKenna of Knowledgeone Corporation. His article discusses many of the technologies that were (and still are available) in 2007. His predictions about what would shape records management are interesting, but what I found most interesting was his answer to the question will technology alone ensure improved records and document management solutions? Of course not, Mr. McKenna gave several items that were needed to improved records and document management solutions.
  • Senior level and ongoing commitment
  • Budget
  • Adequate training for all levels of staff
  • Goals, milestones, objectives and internal reviews
  • Metrics and external audits
  • Change the concept of an EDRMS application from a cost to a profit
  • Better solution paradigm, server-centric (labor-lite) and not reliant upon end-users (labor intensive)!
So where are we headed. Today, in records and information management world, we not only have records to deal with, but we also need to understand e-discovery, a host of new technologies -- social apps, Google Glasses -- cloud technology, managing in place instead of in one repository, privacy issues and informaton Governance to name a few items.

Someone has some explaining to do!  (My apologies to the Lucille Ball Show.) RIM Professionals need to get out from the weeds of "doing" records management and explaining it to everyone that will listen. We also need to work with our IT counterparts and our legal connections. RIM needs to incorporate information governance and privacy considerations.

There also needs to be culture shifts in the corporate world and how information is treated and used.

  • Shift #1: Information needs to be treated as an asset and a commodity. It does have value and the value comes from how it is used. If information is not used then it is valueless.  
  • Shift #2:  All information must be managed and not just at the end of its useful life. Information must be managed from the time its created until the end of its usefulness. Preserving information needs to be able to happen and the life cycle management suspended when information is needed for litigation or regulatory matter.
  • Shift #3: RIM professionals can't do it alone, they need to combine forces with all stakeholders. This includes training all employees, working with IT to understand what needs to be done, can be done etc.; working with legal to hone the process of "holding" information as needed; working with compliance, information governance or security, and privacy stakeholders. Everyone in a company has some stake in the information game.
  • Shift #4: RIM professionals need to understand all sorts of technologies (and this is what makes RIM interesting to me.) They need to be almost psychic when it comes to looking down the road to see what challenges new technologies will be bringing. RIM professionals need to be proactive in identifying the needs of RIM so that when the new technology comes along, the RIM program is prepared.
  • Shift #5: RIM Professional need to creative in approaching new technologies. For example what are we going to do with records stored on a DNA strand -- how will that be migrated to the next storage technology? 
Each of these shifts will happen whether the RIM professional is ready or not. They need to happen if we are going to be able to continue our work. Some of these shifts are already happening. RIM can be a daunting task, but it is doable as long as you work with many in your organizations to get things done.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

This thing called records & information management

Some people may wonder about why we do this thing called "records & information management". What is they wonder? Why is it so important? What's in it for me (or your company)? Doesn't it just add to the overhead cost? So why records management?
What is it: What is records & information management--it is the practice of identifying, classifying, prioritizing, storing, securing, archiving, preserving, retrieving, tracking and destroying of records. This is done by creating a records schedule which identifies the records and the retention.
Why is it important: Records management helps to ensure integrity, authenticity and reliability of the records of a company or individual.  This slideshare by Omwoma Jacksongives top 10 reasons that records management helps the organization.
  1. To control growth and creation of records
  2. To reduce operating costs
  3. To improve efficiency and productivity
  4. To assimilate new records management technology
  5. To minimize risk to the firm
  6. To safeguard vital information
  7. To support better management decision making
  8. To preserve the corporate memory
  9. To foster professionalism in running the company
What's in it for me (or my company)? --Records management protects our reputation. Records management helps to reduce or avoid fines for non-compliance (see the FINRA's fine on Barclay press release). Records management also offers the opportunity to keep our records lean, so we don't spend a lot of time and effort searching for what is needed.
So what does success look like?
Records management is successful when we can find what the information that is needed. Can you imagine, having the right information, at the right time to make an important decision. Its successful, when there is an audit and everything for the audit checks out to be in good order. It is successful, when we prove in litigation cases that we have a program and that we do follow it. It is successful when operating costs go down and efficiency and productivity go up due to ease of access to information.
So why records management?  Hopefully by expanding on the questions above, I've answered this question. However, as pointed out in the Barclay press release:
"Ensuring the integrity, accuracy and accessibility of electronic books and records is essential to a firm's ability to meet its compliance obligations."