Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Records Management 2006 - Part 2

Following on from my previous post on RM issues, the discussion has been started as to what one can best recommend to enteprises. Currently there appear to be two camps, the first that assumes that retaining all data and content indefinately is the way to go, the other that traditional RM methods and practices need to be extended across the enteprise.

Both of these approaches appear to be fundamentally flawed, the first (retain everything) is in short illegal, as proper disposal of certain records is as important as the retention of others. And the other approach, (implement Enterprise wide RM) is simply impractical and will likely never get executive sponsorship to become reality.

The solution is likely somewhere in the middle - initially retention of everything, but then the imposition of a small number of blanket retention categories with lifecycles attached to follow, incrementally growing in sophistication over time.

To fully comply with retention and record disposal regulations a full enterprise wide strategy is required, that spans the business departments, addresses technology limitations and draws upon the skills of true RM and Information Management professionals. Typical activities that will need to be undertaken involve the rationalization of repositories, the design and construction of an Information Architecture and Taxonomy, with both those activities informed by (and led to some degree) by retention and content lifecycle experts. In this area, more than any other practicality needs to be at the forefront. The issue with records management activities, even before the explosion of electronic content is that it has historically been poorly supported and funded. The new breed of information management professionals need to embrace RM activities, and be trained in all the disciplines of architecture, taxonomy, folder structures, ILM, storage etc For when we really look at what is going wrong in many enterprises it is not a lack of technology or technical resources, but a lack of the professional skills to make best use of these resources.

Yet despite the rapid growth in ECM and Information Management deployments and strategy work, there are few people in the market place with the skills to manage these new environments.

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