Governance in the Midst of Chaos: Maintaining "Control" in the Face of Social, Mobile, and the Cloud

By Bryant Duhon posted 12-11-2013 16:53



This is the first in a series of "sneak peeks" about what you'll learn during your time at AIIM 2014. We hope to see you there!

Nick Inglis is an expert on enterprise software and is the author of the AIIM SharePoint Governance Toolkit. Nick provides consulting services, training and vendor marketing support and has worked with many of the world's leading organizations. When not adding to his certificate collection (he is AIIM SharePoint Master, AIIM Enterprise 2.0 Master, AIIM Enterprise Content Management Specialist, Inbound Marketing Certified Professional), he enjoys acting crazy with his son, Conor Atom Inglis.

Nick will present on this topic on April 3. How can you maintain control in the face of all of this change? You can, but, if you're not worried, you're not paying attention. 

We’re dealing with an influx of information. Some information is on our local systems. Some is out in the “cloud.” Other information is on external services provided by Facebook, Google, and others. We have some information on local desktops and laptops, yet we have EVEN MORE information on phones, tablets, and other devices. How the heck are we supposed to manage all of this information?

To some, the solution is all about records declaration. If we train our staff enough and drill into their brains “risk reduction, risk reduction, risk reduction,” they’ll magically become records managers and declare and place information under retention (yeah, keep dreaming). 

To others, the solution is all about writing policy. In this, we’re again relying on our users to manage their information. Frankly, our users can’t organize their personal computers, how do we expect them to organize enterprise information or rely on them to follow policies in managing information? We can’t.

A History of Records Management & Risk Reduction
Let’s go back to the world of paper. Times were simpler then in reducing risk and managing information. We had paper created by our organization and we reviewed all of that paper. The papers that needed to be kept were filed away. Those pieces of paper were given a descriptive term: a record. Eventually, we were dealing with more paper than we could handle so we started relying on our user population to provide to us the paper that should be declared as “records.” For a time, that worked because we were still dealing with an amount of information that could be reviewed manually.

Then the PC revolution hit and we started the same process over once again. We now had digital content that we treated just like we had previously managed paper. We took “records” and filed them away in our digital representation of our file rooms. Eventually, the volume grew and we started relying on and delegating the art of records declaration to our users.

Now with email, social, and mobile, we’re dealing with volumes such that our users are being overwhelmed by the volumes of information they need to use to do their work (much less take the time to declare any information as a record). It’s time for a strategy change, a fundamental shift in how we manage our information.

What Is Past & What Remains
What still remains are our regulations and our compliance requirements. Not only do these requirements remain, they’ve also grown in their scope and force. The amount of risk due to negligence in managing information has grown as judgment sizes have grown. What remains is our need to dispose of information according to the information’s worth and it’s potential for risk.

What is dead is the concept of a record. We have been deluding ourselves into believing that our user population can accurately identify and file content as records. The fact is, that this experiment in user empowerment has failed. We’re declaring records in a haphazard manner where policy is being applied inconsistently, multiple versions of information are being declared (or not declared) as records, and our inconsistencies are one of the primary ways that we’re losing lawsuits.

So if our need to categorize and dispose of information remains, but our concept of a record has failed, what are we left with? We’re left with managing all of our information but the veiled curtain of records management has been torn. Instead of categorizing and retaining just these mythical creatures called records, all of our information, however, can be categorized and retained.

Join us at the AIIM Conference 2014 to learn more about how to move your organization forward, reduce risk, and develop new strategies in managing information in your organization. I’ll be speaking on this topic and I look forward to seeing you in Orlando!

More AIIM 2014 Sneak Peeks

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Defensible Disposition By Richard Medina

Who Hoards What? Bring More Focus to Content Management by Dan Antion


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