Member Spotlight: Elizabeth Ballachanda Madappa

By BOSHIA SMITH posted 01-01-2020 12:04


Elizabeth Ballanchanda Madappa
Elizabeth Ballachanda Madappa       
Part-time data compliance consultant and student
Consulting on an ad-hoc basis and studying

Where do you live in?  Burlington, Canada

How long have you worked in information management?  18 years

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

From 2001 – 2006 I established multiple document control offices within a mining company in South Africa and oversaw the day to day operations of the document control offices during my tenure there.

In 2006 I accepted a position at BHP Billiton as an Information Officer (which demerged into South32 in 2016) and progressed up to lead the Information and Records Management Function for the Africa Region. This role entailed overseeing their IM systems, information processes and information governance for their head office as well as various mines and operations located in South Africa and other African countries. I was involved with all aspects of IM which included the development of an information management strategy, obtaining leadership buy-in on the strategy as well as the eventual implementation of the strategy through multiple projects.

For each of these projects, I was responsible for the development of the business case and presentation to Senior Management and Sponsors. Given the nature of the mining business, these projects had a significant impact on establishing the framework and controls for handling and managing enterprise content which impacted the operations of each mine across Africa and as such had support from the Organization.

The projects ranged from the development of policies and standards, design and implementation of new information systems, decommissioning of legacy information systems, large data migrations between various systems, design of security management plans, business classification schemes, data models, change management approaches to ensure long-term end-user buy-in, establishing ongoing governance structures and much more. The projects were large in scale and affected 15 000 end-users.

I worked for BHP Billiton / South32 for 12 years where after I relocated from South Africa to Canada. Since the move to Canada, I have been working as an independent contractor consulting on data compliance for a start-up company whilst allowing me to focus on obtaining my degree in information science and obtain certifications with CIP and PMP, post which I will start to explore opportunities in the information management field.

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

I have had the privilege of seeing the Information Strategy that I developed come to life in an organization with 15 000 end-users. It is not often that one can say that they developed a strategy and successfully implemented that strategy and was involved with all the aspects of execution, from designing the system to managing the projects and to finally hand the solution over to the relevant business owners. My biggest success was to have the vision to bring together a steering committee consisting of business owners which ultimately took responsibility for the ongoing compliance of the information management solution. In my view, you cannot implement a sustainable solution if the key information contributors do not take ownership and/or acknowledges that they have a responsibility towards the continued success of the information management solution. By involving the key information contributors from the design phase and by maintaining their support throughout implementation, I obtained and retained buy-in which led to the solution being owned by the stakeholders which contribute to it and therefore ensuring continued compliance to the system and processes.

What’s your current biggest work challenge?  The fast pace at which technology changes and how integrated everything is.

What does Intelligent Information Management mean to you?

In an age where information and data are generated faster than ever before, it is more important than ever to think critically about what our personal long term strategy should be to protect our online footprint and for organizations to think critically about how to manage information and data in order protect themselves, their customers and to comply with legislative and regulatory requirements. If an organization does not have a clear plan of how they want to protect their information and data and by doing so, comply with GDPR and PIPEDA to name a few, they will be in serious trouble in the future.

Companies need to take information and data management more serious than ever before in order to retain their license to operate. In order to manage information and data well, organizations need to manage their information and data in an intelligent way by maximizing the opportunity to first ensure that information is managed based on a solid governance foundation and thereafter to automate monotonous processes and move to a world where they can manage their information and data through machine learning, artificial intelligence and all of the fancy tools available these days. Having said that, without a solid governance foundation, the fancy tools will not add value…it might even make things worse.

What are the top 3 things you are looking to get from your AIIM membership?  Continued education, learning from and collaborating with like-minded professionals and networking

As it’s now 2019 heading for 2020, what’s one thing you’re looking forward to in the new year?

Concluding my bachelor’s degree in Information Science at the end of 2019 where after I can pursue a new career in Canada in the Information Management field.

What does becoming a CIP mean to you?   How do you think this certification helps you in your profession?

Everything in the CIP is relevant to what an information professional deals with on a day to day basis. For me, it was valuable to get justification that the initiatives I was responsible for throughout my career align with industry best practices as reflected in the CIP course content. Furthermore, the CIP provides future employers with solid proof that I am aware of industry best practices as well as know-how to implement these practices.