Records Management, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Information Governance

By Monica Crocker posted 07-13-2012 17:36


 My first blog…I’m nervous and excited.  I have many ideas for topics swirling around in my head, but I thought the most appropriate topic for my first blog would be a sort of introduction. 

So, how do I describe my role as a Records Manager?

Many of those conversations go something like this:

I manage all the information held by the organization.  Well, I set certain rules about how it’s managed.

…No, seriously. 

…Yep, all of it.

…Yep, also electronic.  And not just documents; data, too.   Everything.

…Yes, I get to put stuff in the shredder.  No, I can’t fall in it like you saw in that movie.

…Um, I have no staff. 

…I actually don’t have any enforcement authority.  I know that seems weird.

 Here’s how that conversation seems to go with my colleagues in IT functions:

...I’m not to make your life more difficult.

…actually, I more often give instructions to keep LESS information than to hold onto stuff for longer.

…no, the user can’t “just” go through those extra steps on every document.  That meets my needs, but it doesn’t meet everyone else’s.

…the better question is: Why don’t YOU care? (I only give that response inside my head)

Here’s how my career was born….it sort of follows the evolution of Information Governance. 

I started as a business process consultant on document imaging projects.  So, I care very much about “the work.”  About why the work happens, how it gets done, how it can be done more effectively and the quality of their work life for those that do the work.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was blessed with a consulting manager that was obsessive about quality and truth.  We didn’t use “boilerplates.”  He made sure every single bit of information to support our conclusions was documented and double checked facts.  I re-wrote, edited and reviewed sections until I could recite them by heart.  It was the best and most painful mentoring I could have gotten.  But I learned that I absolutely needed to know what I was talking about or I needed to do the legwork so that I knew what I was talking about.  Or go home.

And I joined AIIM and learned about the technology.  I even remember Wang…and when optical disk was a storage revolution.  And I remember pay phones, too, so draw your own conclusions about my age.

And then, when it became clear I was going to have to overcome the “is an electronic version really an official record” hurdle in every organization, I became a Certified Record Manager so they’d believe my answer.  (Do you remember those discussions?  It wasn’t actually that long ago, but it seems like ancient history.) And then I became a Project Management Professional so that I would be considered a "real" consultant.  Next I'll get the CIP because I want to make sure I never stop learning.

Then I stepped away from “the dark side” and became a corporate employee.  And, apparently, immediately became stupider because some “expertise” metric dictates that your credibility is proportional to the number of miles you traveled to deliver the content.  Ever noticed that phenomenon? 

Then, to my surprise, I realized I had become a Corporate Records Manager. 

And at some point, I quit caring as much about being nice and became more concerned about being effective in my role.  (But I still have to be reminded on occasion.)

And that’s when I started to have fun. 

Thanks for giving me a vehicle to share this.  This was fun.  Next one will be useful, I promise.

#Records-Management #Career #InformationGovernance #information governance #ElectronicRecordsManagement


09-15-2012 07:27

Hi Monica,
Welcome to the community! Your comment below struck-a-chord with me, in particular. Do you recall the term COLD when 5.6GB for a 12" platter was cool for COLD?
"I even remember Wang…and when optical disk was a storage revolution."

08-28-2012 09:52

Earlier, I gave your Blog a high rating. Good job! Now I just realized the reference to Dr. Strangelove: totally appropriate.

08-28-2012 09:52

Earlier, I gave your Blog a high rating. Good job! Now I just realized the reference to Dr. Strangelove: totally appropriate.

08-28-2012 09:21

Thanks for sharing your perspective, I find myself in a similar set of circumstances although not a CRM but have all the responsibility for our corporate records program but absolutely no authority.