Transparency

The second principle transparency is about documenting the records process, having a program conducted in a clear and appropriate way. The words lawful and appropriate are the key words here.

The Maturity Model regarding transparency runs through various incarnations from “we don’t have anything documented” in 1 right up to “documenting things in this organization is mandatory and we all like it that way” in 5.

The real point to transparency is that without it a corporation would be unable to prove that they were doing the right things at the right times and the employees could never verify that all was well since they wouldn’t know either.

Documenting a records and information management program makes a lot of sense anyway and further to that documenting processes and procedures puts that red ribbon around the top. It would be impossible to run a quality corporation without everyone doing the same things the same ways as much as possible. This means that you will have to train everyone on those procedures and processes as well so that they can actually accomplish them in a like way.

Transparency in Government has been in vogue more lately than ever. We really want to believe, as citizens, that our government officials are open about what they do day by day and how they do it. Private sector organizations have on occasion been more closed to the public and even their own employees. I believe that much of that is changing for the better. There are areas and decisions that would negatively impact a corporate direction and their competitiveness but much could probably be shared without breaching any of that sensitive information.

Imagine what an e-discovery would be like for a corporation if nothing was documented, no one knew where anything was located or if it even existed in the first place. This also holds true for freedom of information requests if you are subject to them and audits as well.

Many corporations that I have known have documented procedures for accounting and if publicly traded, procedures and processes exist to facilitate that rigid functionality but they only do what they have to and not any farther.

Transparency and documented process, procedures and information management program is a very good thing but just be forewarned that as you approach 3 and higher in the maturity model the use of an electronic solution will become more obviously required in order to facilitate this principle in a more corporate wide way.

The bottom line is that as in the rest of the principles a 3 in the maturity model in Transparency is where you really want to be and that means that you actually have things documented, people are trained and they actually care about doing the documented things the right and approved way.