Hitting the Post

By Mimi Dionne posted 09-23-2011 17:37


Our poor corporate colleagues.

Let’s be honest: in this bipolar economy, we’re either furiously implementing an electronic records management system under stressfully high expectations that the company will solicit immediate return on investment or we’re not implementing any system at all. It’s too bad for those of us without resources, because there is so much need.  Our colleagues still can’t find their records.  You know they’re calling the Help Desk for assistance to locate information on the SharePoint intranet, right? That’s AFTER they’ve spent at least half an hour looking for that file from 2006 that someone is pretty sure they saw posted on the old Accounts Payable team site (there’s a statistic that will help you justify a reorganization of corporate information architecture!). I can hear it now: “it was there three months ago, but since IT changed it, I have no idea where it is now…”

Wot happund? When IT migrated almost everything from MOSS 2007 to SharePoint 2010, it was too difficult for the team to identify what content should be moved. For whatever reason they didn’t include you, the Records Manager; you heard about the exercise and called them. The team told you your presence wasn’t needed.  Soon the ugly truth reared its ugly head: IT lacked business unit representation and now the information architecture is more complicated. Dare I call it a mess? Yes. Yes, I do. Warning: your corporate colleagues are beyond irritated and they’re not going to take it anymore… 

We have no one to blame but ourselves.  We fail to explain the benefits of logical information architecture in a way that makes sense to C-level management (if only we could get the chance, right?).  We’re champions at networking amongst ourselves, but to what purpose?  To engross ourselves in internal, industry-specific debates?  Records people are born leaders! We see the forests and the trees! Records management should be a hero within the company and there should certainly be more of us!

Because you know what’s wrong with retention management?  Nothing. 

Declaring a record in a records management application requires 3 S’s: simplicity, stability and scalability. The whole point of the life cycle of the record is to illustrate that information’s everyday value peaks. 

The juxtaposition of managing your and your colleagues’ time effectively through an electronic records management system implementation while maintaining good relationships with them— oh god, it’s such a fragile tight rope, but it’s also a simple matter of communicating in a way that transcends typical records jargon.  The project management of it, the information security of it, the retention management of it, the quality assurance of it, the disaster recovery of it, the compliance of it…an implementation is a terrible but exciting opportunity.  Deadly serious and a huge corporate gamble in this economy (no matter the number of colleagues participating), the “records management of it all” hits the corporate bottom line at its most vulnerable point: the intangible company morale. Explain it in a way that makes sense.

For example:

A record is like a song.

When a DJ introduces a song on the radio, the DJ speaks before, but not after, the lyrics start. They speak without stepping on the vocals. In other words, the DJ stops talking at just the right momentThe art of speaking up to the lyrics, but not past them, is called hitting the post.

Records declaration is the same principle.  Your colleague is the DJ.  Just like the moment the vocals begin in a song, their document becomes a record.   When an employee declares a document to be a record according to its correct retention period, your colleague hits the post.

The above illustration demonstrates how simple the message can be. A simple illustration leads to a meaningful conversation—bottom-up, one step at a time. The Cs will come to you. It’s a business imperative.

#leadership #retention #recordsmanagers #ElectronicRecordsManagement #findability #businesscase #SharePoint