The Relationship of RIM and ECM in Governance Planning

By Jeffrey Lewis posted 09-18-2013 16:52


I recently posted a link on my blog to an article from Tech Target entitled, “Laying the Foundation for ECM with Records Information Management.”  Shortly after the post went to Twitter Pie (the reputable and wise sage otherwise known as Laurence Hart) responded back telling me that I was wrong and to keep it simple.  I half agree with Pie and I am terrible at making 140 character arguments, so I am going to add a bit more perspective here and would love to hear the thoughts of other more experienced information professionals.

Here are some of my simple philosophies to always make sure I am on the sunny side of the street:

  • Always double down on 11.
  • Friends don't let friends drink cheap beer.  Life is too short not to enjoy a good microbrew.
  • Lay off on a 3-0 pitch.
  • All records are content, but not all records are content.

You can do content management without records management, many people do.  There is a high likelihood that when managing content you will end up managing "records." So it is best if you strategize ECM with RIM.  Does this mean that you records management need to be 100% complete before you implement an ECM? The article from TechTarget would say yes, but I'd argue no.  Records management is complex and many records management initatives take forever to get off the ground (if they even do get off the ground) due to their complexity.  If I am understanding Pie correctly, this is where the disagreement lies and the arguement for simplicity.

This not like chicken vs. egg in terms of which should come first.  If I was a CIO and was tasked to create an ECM, I would not make a requirement to have a RIM program in place first. The key requirement in my opinion is that the two be done concurrently with the project end dates not being dependent on another.  There would be key a dependency that RIM strategy be defined before ECM is implemented.  For example, when a document enters into your ECM does it have retention and disposition or does it live on forever? Documents in ECM are still eligible for eDiscovery so they must be managed the same as records. There are also other key consideration such as redaction, auditing, etc.  

In conclusion, the RIM strategy must be an integral part of the ECM implementation.  An ECM implementation that has no consideration of RIM strategy will lead to major headaches and hard liquor to alleviate those headaches.  Whereas, when the two are planned together, the hard liquour can be bypassed for celebratory microbrews. 

#e-discovery #planning #ContentManagement #ElectronicRecordsManagement #Records-Management #implementation


09-26-2013 12:17

Build the engagement model to accommodate ECM and RIM both, build out the taxonomy for both (targeted and navigational search; retention and disposition) as you on-board new applications, set up a framework for both in advance to guide the blow-out on the metadata on both sides. Otherwise, "yes," you spend five years waiting for the barristers to do the RIM plan and end up making the users know where to slot stuff as capture occurs and..they..don't... care. They just want to be able to add, find and retrieve their stuff fast and easy. Seen that more times than I care to comment on its waywardness.

09-18-2013 17:07

The key things are this...users don't want to have to be Records Managers and if you can't successfully capture Content, the best laid retention schedules are useless.
Adoption of a Content System is the first priority. With an eye towards the future, capture enough information about the Content so classification can be done later. Once adoption is high enough, then worry about how to classify Content without adding any more burden on anyone who isn't a Records Manager.