HAPPY NEW YEAR! - What is your resolution?

And so we start another year of blogging, emailing, instant messaging, powerpointing, and whatever other means we have to contribute to the information explosion. During the holiday break we had time to reflect on our life and most of us have come up with ambitious resolutions for 2009, mine are fairly mundane and mainly waistline and fitness related...

There is a group of records managers in the UK who not only took the time to come up with resolutions, but went to the extent of laying them down in a Records Manager 2.0 Manifesto. You can find the full text on Steve Bailey's records management futurewatch blog. I like the manifesto because it encourages progressive thinking about employing new technologies to manage information, but with a clear focus on the user and enough pragmatism to recognize organizations need to be able to cope with change and implementation.

It looks like change in the role of records managers is accelerating. In the world of paper records management the records management department took almost full ownership of the task of filing, classifying, storing, maintaining, and disposing records. Then, around the change of the millennium, came a big change - information started to take on volumes and distribution that made it impossible to print it all for the purpose of record keeping. The reaction was to create electronic records management systems that allowed the classification of electronically stored information into predefined structures to apply the necessary rules and context to electronic records. The records management department's role changed from being the provider of physical records management services to becoming the administrators and support department of a system that had to be used by other employees in the organization. Not only did records managers have to come to grips with that change themselves, they also had to learn about how to encourage change to work practices in other departments.

What becomes clear from reading the Records Management 2.0 Manifesto is that the role of records management now needs to extend its focus from compliance and regulation to include the exploitation of information. We have always seen that the user uptake of TRIM was much higher in organizations that used it to improve information sharing and collaboration, and to streamline document workflow processes, i.e. embed it into their business processes rather than just implement it as an "after the fact"  compliance regime. Users react more positive to the carrot than the stick and we are always looking for opportunities to embed records management technology even more into their line of business applications and automate the compliance aspect. New technologies in data-link visualization, mash-ups, user defined folksonomies, data-push etc. can all be used to go to the next level and turn a collection of records into an active business asset by providing the right information to the right user at the right time. While it is up to us technology providers to bundle these tools into useful applications, I see that records managers will be the ones who need to work with their organization to analyze what information is the right information to provide in which place.

I think that the key to success is that technologists and records managers work closely together and my resolution is to encourage and facilitate this dialog wherever I find an opportunity. I look forward to talking to you!

(anon) | ‎02-25-2009 03:06 AM

Happy New Year, Urs

I was pleasantly surprised to find the wealth of knowledge and information that you and your team are sharing here. I've been following Steve Bailey's futurewatch blog for a while, and I think he's correct. TRIM often lands in a grey political  area within the organization - somewhere between the records management guys,  who tend to have more focus on retention and compliance, and the IT guys, who are used to providing utiliity and improving productivity.

If the IT guys could look a little bit more at the RM side of things, and the RM guys could see the value to be derived  from having such a valuable system  on hand, then you have a recipe for really getting some cool stuff done.

Keep up the good work,

Gordon :smileyhappy:

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