Records management a time-honoured back office function that was necessitated by the need to record and prove transactions. Since the dawn of time, man has used various techniques to capture events and trigger memory. From quipu to classification, over time we have developed techniques to assist us in capturing and recalling information. Today, with the fast pace of business, technology changes, security concerns and the ever-growing mound of regulatory requirements, coupled with the explosion in information creation and accessibility, and the advent of cloud computing, resulting in anytime, anywhere, any device information access, there exists an opportunity for new and more flexible yet cohesive approaches to information management.
So, what does Information Management look like in 2018? Is it pieces and pockets of disparate information management repositories, where data, documents, content, messages, images, sound and video reside across a number of systems managed in isolation of each other or is it more about managing information in totality regardless of what it is and where in the world it resides.
The ever-increasing pace at which technology is enabling business and communication, particularly mobile access, means that in 2018 we can no longer afford to manage information in its various formats in isolation of each other. If information is to serve a key business function, it must be managed under one umbrella and not as a conglomeration of various information entities. Data, documents, content, messaging, (video or text), all convey information and as such need to be managed in a manner that allows all these pieces to be brought together in a single portal to enable a true visualisation of the big picture.
We are all capturing creating and consuming information on various devices, some on Apple, IBM, cloned or android devices. The advent of tablets and smart phones has enabled anytime, anywhere access to information. The question then becomes how we exploit these technologies, whilst not losing sight of regulatory requirements to keep, destroy, secure and protect sensitive information. How do we move forward to enable visibility, (subject to security), of all information holdings regardless of whether that be data, content, images, etc.? How do we ensure integrity, provenance and context are not lost in this era of mobile and virtual offices? These are the issues confronting the Information Manager in 2018 and in the future.
As a practicing Consultant for over 24 years, I have seen the evolution of these technologies, yet I am constantly seeing the practices that are meant to support information management failing to keep pace. Standards and traditional practices continue to focus on management of information subsets as disparate entities. Data accumulates, documents are still being stored electronically as if they were paper files, messages remains under managed, images and videos are captured without context. These all need to change if we are to be able to truly benefit from the advancements in technologies.
We need to start thinking about exploiting technologies to better manage information, rather than applying past practices. Traditional EDRMS systems failed and continue to fail for a number of reasons.
1) They impose structures for the sake of managing only a small subset of information – records. These structures are based on paper filing standards which are dated and time consuming. As a result, network, portable and other drives, (including OneDrive, Dropbox, Google docs etc), are being used unchecked as document repositories,
2) Whilst all EDRMS systems “tag” records with disposal authorities to trigger disposal, I am yet to come across any EDRMS systems that actually delete time expired records. One of the reasons is because the EDRMS triggers are applied at the file level.
3) Systems were designed to be operated by practitioners and are not intuitive or simplistic enough to enable other Users to readily and easily access information.
I have worked with the legal fraternity, government clients at all levels, financial and educational sectors, mining industries and not for profit organisations just to name a few sectors. Each has their own set of regulatory and business requirements that need to be taken into consideration when designing architectures for information management, but all want the same result- ease of operation and access, and business and cost efficiencies.
The modern-day information practitioner is not the information consumer, (they never were). They are the facilitators to information management, who sit in the background and facilitate information management exploiting modern day technologies to do so. The focus of information management in 2018 has a few main elements: -
1) Enabling information capture and access as an organic/natural business process, (that means simplifying processes)
2) Enabling real time access to complete and accurate information (subject to security)
3) Enabling the management of information in the background through the exploitation of new and existing technologies
4) Managing the growth, quality and quantity of information retained by the business
5) Ensuring compliance to regulatory requirements, particularly around personal and sensitive information holdings
These are the fundamental principles I apply when designing information architectures for my Clients. My designs are modern, user centric and meet all compliance requirements.
Bio: Rosemary Kaczynski MRIM, MIIM, is a Certified Member of the Records and Information Management Professionals Association of Australasia, (RIMPA) and a Member of the Institute of Information Management, (IIM). She has been both an educator and sought-after speaker on Information Management practices, principles and trends. She is a respected member of the information management fraternity, having served on a number of professional committees, and had input ion various standards, including the Public Record Office of Victoria standards. Rosemary has worked with a number of various clients both nationally and internationally in a range of sectors.