Clearly, by now you understand that I do not think for a minute that RM is actually dead. I do however, believe that Records Management and its practitioners are in a unique position to lead the way and capitalize on today’s shift from Records and Information Management to Information Governance.
Given the growth in both volumes and complexity of any organizations information holdings, traditional management of these resources is clearly inadequate. Couple this with an increased need to utilize this information in a strategic fashion, and the need to act becomes clear.
As business units increasingly create and demand information, the entire organization must take steps (sometimes drastic) to better manage and govern its information assets. As I have talked about in part two of this blog, the “keep everything” and “shred everything” methodologies are deeply flawed. Let’s pretend someone in your corporation needs to make a decision about a new product or service. The “keepers” could be making this decision based on severely outdated information, “Our documents from 1994 indicate there is no future for this new internet thing”. The “shredders” might make a decision based on a serious lack of information, “We did some research on that. We don’t have the results anymore, but we should go ahead and launch that new broccoli flavoured toothpaste anyway”. Obviously silly examples, but the results might not be a lot different if corporate information isn’t handled properly.
Aside from the things you already know as a RIM person, areas of your organization that need to provide their knowledge include IT, legal, risk management and others depending on your structure.
So what is the solution? Clearly, this is a complex, multifaceted challenge. By its very nature, it requires the participation of the entire organization, and support at the highest level. It also requires leadership.
While executive support is essential, someone needs to lead the charge to provide your organization with the right information at the right time.
Remember, leadership can come from anywhere.
Who better to provide that leadership than the people that already understand the need for managing information in a formal, structured way? Now is the time for RIM experts such as you to take a leadership role.
Start by discussing this with your peers in other departments. Take an IT person for coffee, go for lunch with legal or share this with security. This is your opportunity to move the organization in a direction it needs to go in. Seize it. What are you waiting for?