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The Challenges (And Rewards) of Records Management in an International Setting

By Roger Poole posted Jan 13, 2011 8:20 AM

  

 **Views expressed in this blog are my personal views and not those of my employer. Any reference to any living person or organisation, past or present, is entirely co-incidental**

Many of us work in a Global or, at least, a multinational organisation. This inevitably make life more interesting but also raises a number of challenges. The following is a selection of some of those challenges and how they can be addressed. Of course, there is no “one size fits all” solution. Each Records Management Team and organisation will have difference ideas and, sometimes, constraints.

People
It is fairly obvious to say that winning our colleagues around is key to successful Records Management implementation and/or maintenance. These are some of the key areas to consider – failure to do so could significantly reduce the chances of success – and you achieving your objectives!

  • Language – your company may require use of a certain language for all business communications/meetings. However, it may improve acceptance if some degree of translations into local languages is available
  • Custom and practice – bear in mind when communicating that local customs and practices may lead to a different interpretation of your actions – particularly if training is involved. Some physical signs/mannerisms which are acceptable in your country may be insulting in another country
  • Understand local market conditions and services available – it is no use adopting a Global Minimum Standard in the most developed and sophisticated country and attempting to impose these standards in less developed countries.

Rules – Local/Global/Regional
Consider how Laws and Regulations in one or some countries may affect your Records Management (retention) requirements in others. Some governments may consider that their Laws/Regulations have a global reach. You should also ensure that appropriate weight is given to local research. The following are some of the key Agencies for Firms based in or having operations in some key jurisdictions:-  

  • Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) - US
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - US
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) - US
  • Financial Services Authority (FSA) - UK
  • Civil Aviation Agency (CAA) - UK
  • Japanese Financial Services Authority (JFSA) - Japan

Knowing your environment
To state the obvious - to make an informed decision you have to know what you have and where you wish to go. You need to understand the environment you are working in, especially regarding the technology infrastructure. By this I mean both your internal infrastructure and the wider geographical infrastructure. For example, can you be certain of communication systems/power availability on a 24/7/365 basis as most of us are used too (and take for granted)? What are the local views in complying with "Head Office" Policies? 

Your environment will, almost certainly, include “legacy” Records and systems - take care to review these and ensure Records are retained on appropriate media (not back up tapes). Also ensure you still have the ability to read this media...(sounds obvious but... ;-))

These are just some of the aspects some more to follow in a later blog. In the meantime, please please provide some feedback and details of your experiences - for the benefit of all.

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