ECM Holiday Wishes and New Year Pledges

By Helen Streck posted 12-22-2011 18:57


This article is co-authored by Norman Weiner, SVP, Technology Services, Kaizen InfoSource. 

The holiday season is an opportunity to reflect on personal and professional accomplishments and challenges of the past year, and an opportunity to turn pledges into action items for the coming year.

RIM and IT professionals are charged with managing and securing the same enterprise information, but for different purposes. RIM addresses records management, retention of information, compliance, legal suspense and eDiscovery of information in electronic, hardcopy and other media formats.  RIM must provide governance, policy, and rules to determine if information is business records or convenience information.  RIM must comply with requirements for external and internal reporting and ensure data is retained and destroyed in a controlled manner, in compliance with company policy.

IT is charged with keeping systems and the information they produce available to business units.  IT must assure the information backed up, secure, and is available in the event of an emergency.  IT makes no distinction between structured and unstructured information, and whether information is business records or convenience information.  IT manages company information without regard to retention policy, compliance, legal suspense and eDiscovery. 

Information created by a company’s business units and “managed” by RIM and IT - a triad with competing purposes and priorities.  ECM ROI is determined by how well this triad communicates, understands, and supports the needs and requirements of peer departments. 

A RIM / IT divide is self-imposed.  IT and RIM are joined that the operational hip.  The effectiveness of ECM will be the result of the commitment of RIM and IT to knowledge transfer and support of their corresponding peers. 

Can ECM work?  Can it bring value for the investments expended?  Yes, if you turn these wishes into actions… 

  • Have RIM and IT represented at the executive level as equal partners in the stewardship of enterprise information. 
  • Create and implement policy to define that company information is “owned” by the business units who create it, governed by RIM requirements, and made available and secured by IT. 
  • Educate IT professionals to understand why all records are data, but all data may not be a record.
  • Educate RIM professionals to understand that for IT an archive is an alternate storage location for information, without regard to data being a record or convenience information.
  • Educate IT professionals to understand that for RIM, an archive is a secure location for memorialized business records.
  • Educate IT to understand that for RIM a retention schedule refers to how long business information must be retained to comply with external and internal reporting requirements.
  • Educate RIM to understand that for IT a retention schedule refers to the rotation and reuse of backup media, which has no relevance to how long information should be retained.
  • Commit to migrate from silo storage to an enterprise archive to create a single instance of information in the enterprise, to reduce storage costs, to facilitate multiple levels of legal suspense, and to enable and improve internal eDiscovery. 

These wishes are simplistic yet often difficult to implement.  Each relates to people or decisions people have to make.  ECM requires informed people, committed to working together, without territorial limits, and in the best interest of the company. 

Is this too much to wish for?  How long do we traditionally keep our New Year pledges?   

#ECM #IT #RIM #ElectronicRecordsManagement