In my last post, I made the brave statement that RM is dead. Nevertheless, I stand by it. In today’s information rich world, it is simply not possible for Records Management (and its practitioners) to be saddled with sole responsibility to manage the deluge of information corporations have to deal with.
Truly, Information Management and Governance (the latest buzzword, but very accurate) is everyone’s responsibility and should be everyone’s biggest concern.
Working on the premise that information is an extremely valuable, perhaps even the most valuable, corporate asset, how could it not top the priority list of every group or department in the organization? Why aren’t people from every department running through the aisles with their hair on fire screaming for better information governance?
Experience tells me there are several reasons you haven’t seen flaming heads rushing past your office.
Most commonly, it relates to a lack of understanding of the problem. Based on the structure of most organizations, virtually no one has a clear idea of the magnitude of the problem. Each department has their mandate, challenges and portion of the corporate knowledge, which they typically guard with the ferocity of a rabid pit bull. Fair enough. Everyone wants to be important to his or her organization and frankly, hoarding information is one of the easiest ways to achieve that sense of importance. Sadly, that common belief is rather wrong-headed. Someone needs to rise up and start convincing people that a cohesive, well-organized plan for management and governance of the organization’s information holdings is good for everyone. Sounds like a good spot for the Records Manager to get out of the basement and take the lead. After all, isn’t good Records Management the first building block of a sound Information Governance plan?
The second group I encounter is those folks who just do not see a problem. This crowd does not care (a good way to satisfy that longing for attention within your company, but maybe not quite the way you planned it) or think that theories such as “keep everything forever” are viable Information strategies. I hope that none of you fit into this group. Again, the Records Manager truly understands that information must be dealt with in a rational, organized way to ensure that the organization has all of the information it requires, and no more or no less. The “keeping it forever” strategy is as bad, if not worse, than “shred everything immediately”. Both can land an organization in big trouble, either from a legal or regulatory standpoint, or more likely, bad decisions based on bad information. Bur RM cannot do it alone. The time has come for the entire organization to get serious about how we manage and yes, govern information.