Member Spotlight: Arlette Walls

By BOSHIA SMITH posted 10-02-2019 12:42


Walls_ArletteWho met Arlette at AIIM19?  She's full of knowledge and her eagerness to apply what she's learned from the sessions is contagious.  Arlette is the Global Records & Information Manager at Iron Mountain.  If you haven't connected with Arlette before, please do so here!

Arlette Walls
Position: Global Records & Information Manager
Iron Mountain

Where do you live in?  I work remotely from San Diego, CA

How long have you worked in information management?  I joined Iron Mountain in December 2018, with 15 years of experience, primarily in the biotech industry, leading global and cross-functional initiatives in records management, compliance, risk, and data privacy.   I also served as PRIMO chair (Pharmaceutical Records and Information Management Organization), a consortium of top pharmaceutical companies aiming at developing and advancing RIM solutions in that industry

What does your work entail? Do you have company support? How are you helping drive the goals of your office through your work?

One of my goals is to focus on transformative growth using Iron Mountain’s own information management solutions.  RIM is in an evolving environment and we want to stay current and relevant in our internal processes.  That means finding opportunities to partner with IT and our product line departments.  It’s a win-win situation: we are in the best place to take advantage of new capabilities and in a position to provide direct, applicable feedback that benefits the organization and our customers.

One example of capitalizing on ongoing projects and new solutions to support the business and manage risk:  our Legal department is currently piloting InSight, our machine learning platform, on our contracts database, giving us the ability to look for specific information within contracts, using natural language search, in a continuously improving process.  It changes the way our legal team works.

I also focus on process improvement and internal customer satisfaction:

-Assessing and streamlining our internal records and information management processes (including the globalization of our records retention schedule) and ensuring they are aligned with the best practices we provide to our external customers. 

-Enhancing our internal customer's experience by engaging with them directly, listening to their feedback, and addressing their concerns.  I also use this engagement opportunity to educate them about information governance, in a real case-study way.

What has been the biggest success in your career in information management? 

I could talk about compliance, risk or other project-related activities that resulted in a positive impact on my organization.   But I think that what I bring to the table, and gives me the most satisfaction, is an ability to recognize the gap and create that opportunity to make a genuine impact not just on the organization, but on the people in that organization:   build communities, advocate positive changes, enhance the internal customer experience.

What’s your current biggest work challenge?

I would say, right now, globalizing our internal records retention schedule.   We have the tools, the research and the knowledge (we use our own tools).  But globalizing means much more, including understanding the culture and history behind operations and building your network of resources, to ensure the implementation of your records retention schedule is a success.  It includes:

  • Interviewing the right people at the right level across functions to provide feedback on business needs and operational nuances versus regulations, especially at the local level
  • Experimenting with the most effective ways to train your records coordinators or liaisons in a virtual environment, across time zones, in various countries, languages, and communications channels

Some of these pain points are associated with implementing a records retention schedule regardless of whether it is global or not, but those pain points are amplified when you multiply by the number of countries where you have operations. 

A new challenge this year is moving from a Microsoft platform to Google’s G Suite and ensuring the appropriate governance framework is applied to the tools our associates will be using every day.

What are the top 3 things you have gotten out of being a member AIIM? 

Education - Virtual Events:  I like the fast pace of the presentations, the case studies, and the interactivity.  It’s basically a mini annual conference.  It’s great to be able to get the replays after the webinar ends if you pre-register.   As we all have a busy schedule, setting time aside to learn when you are able to take the time to do so becomes a necessary luxury.  Some of the virtual webinars I attended this year about Practical AI, IIM Project Success Stories, etc. were really helpful in starting conversations around culture, training, and engagement.  The webinars also include replays of sessions from AIIM 2019, with interactive Q&A sessions, which allows me to attend some of the sessions I did not have a chance to participate in or hear them with a new perspective.

Sense of Community: AIIM Open Forum Discussions and Blogs are basically real-life case studies.  I am always interested in other companies’ pain points, as the ensuing conversations can generate solutions I can adapt to our own problems.

Networking:  Great forum to meet peers, virtually or in person, and discuss trends. 

How was your experience at AIIM19? 

I loved the energy in the rooms.  The sessions about real case studies and project success stories were most interesting, especially when you factor in that success also means learning from your failed projects and applying the lessons learned.

It did help too that I could use those learning credits towards my IGP certification!