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The Ten Biggest Issues in Records Management Today


September 22, 2009. What are the biggest issues in RM today? ... Issue 5 The impact of Sept. 11th and RM's role in information protection ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Ten Biggest Issues in Records Management Today

The Ten Biggest Issues in Records Management
  • Presented by
  • David O. Stephens, CRM, FAI
  • To The Western New York Chapter
  • ARMA International
  • September 22, 2009

What are the biggest issues in RM today???
  • What issues have the greatest impact on Records
    Management today?
  • That is, they are redefining, even
    revolutionizing both the theory and practice of
    records management, and will continue to do so
    for years to come.
  • While every such list is inherently arbitrary /
    judgmental, here is mine . . .

Well discuss my top ten RM issues . . .
  • The growing role of RM as a significant issue in
    organizational management
  • RMs role in the transition to the management of
    electronic records in the (nearly) paperless
  • RMs role in the new environment for regulatory
    compliance and litigation risk reduction
  • RMs role in enhancing enterprise accessibility
    of information content
  • The impact of September 11th and RMs role in
    enhancing information protection
  • Getting to (nearly) perfect in records retention
  • The role of electronic records retention in
    improved data life cycle management
  • Bringing records management / retention to the
    desktop, messaging and backup environments
  • The significance of the new software solutions
    for electronic records management
  • The role of RM in digital preservation

Records management Not new, but never more
  • Let your Eminence give
  • orders throughout each and every province that a
    building be erected in which to store the records
    . . . so that they may remain uncorrupted and may
    be found quickly by those requiring them . . .
  • The Emperor Justinian
  • Roman Empire, 6th century A.D.

Issue 1 - The growing role of RM as a significant
issue in organizational management
  • With the recent spate of business scandals, now
    for the first time ever records have become
    pivotal in determining the fate of organizations!
  • In the case of Arthur Andersen LLP vs. the United
    States, for the first time ever, a hitherto great
    corporation was virtually destroyed by acts
    related directly to records disposal, in which
    retention practices were a major issue.

Electronic records The management challenges are
much greater than for paper!
  • Higher strategic value
  • Higher customer / client expectations
  • Greater technical expertise required
  • Much higher rates of growth
  • Greater accessibility challenges
  • Greater consequences of loss
  • Much shorter life expectancy and greater
    preservation challenges
  • All of these make RM more important than ever

Issue 2 RMs transition to the management of
electronic records in the (nearly) paperless
  • Many records managers still cling tenaciously
    and irrationally to the notion that paper will
    be with us forever that the long-awaited but
    hitherto unrealized paperless office is and
    will remain a myth.
  • I will give you my opinions and invite yours!!!

The (nearly) all-digital office Not if but
  • Just because it hasnt happened during the last
    30 years doesnt mean it wont happen during the
    next 30!
  • During the last 30 years, electronic records have
    become much more prevalent and prolific, relative
    to their paper counterparts.
  • And their importance has skyrocketed while that
    of paper records has gradually declined.

But . . . as Bob Dylan said, the times they are a
  • The decisive factor in the transition to the
    less-paper office is . . .
  • . . . Different behavior patterns on the part of
    the next generation of office workers.
  • Our children and grandchildren do not and will
    not use filing cabinets when they take our places
    in the offices of today and tomorrow!!!

Issue 3 RMs role in corporate governance,
regulatory compliance, and litigation risk
  • Since the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of
    2002 (and the new regulatory and other legal
    initiatives that resulted) regulatory compliance,
    e-discovery and litigation risk reduction have
    been the key drivers for new records management
    initiatives in the U.S.
  • SOX changes executive perceptions about records
    management, as nothing had ever done before!

RMs role in demonstrating compliance
  • RMs goal should be to ensure that the
    organizations recordkeeping systems are being
    managed such that the integrity of their
    information content can meet the tests of
    authenticity, integrity and reliability.
  • In short full compliance, in letter, spirit and
    good faith!

RMs role in mitigating litigation risks
  • The presence or absence of records can be either
    favorable or unfavorable . . .
  • . . . exculpatory or incriminating.

RMs role in mitigating litigation risks
  • The best strategy
  • Retain only whats needed to operate the company,
    comply with the law, and meet reasonable needs to
    retain history!

Issue 4 RMs role in enhancing enterprise
accessibility of information content
  • Information accessibility Its the foundation
    for world-class records management!
  • Wherever records management is practiced at an
    advanced level, the existence and location of all
    information content must be known, and precise
    and timely retrieval must be the rule rather than
    the exception, so that the organizations
    recordkeeping systems effectively support its
    larger business objectives.
  • Information accessibility is a strategic business
    issue and needs to be managed as such.

The dreams and aspirations of Miss Lemon (shared
by every records manager!)
  • Her real passion in life was the perfection of a
    filing system beside which all other filing
    systems should sink into oblivion. She dreamed
    of such a system at night.
  • Source Agatha Christie, How Does Your Garden
    Grow, 1931.

The value of information is directly
proportionate to its accessibility
  • An organization may possess a single kernel of
    information upon which its entire future rests,
    but if those who seek it cannot find it, the
    golden nugget is worthless.

In response to any (properly formulated) search
query, one of five things can happen
  • The system delivers all the documents /
    information requested and no others.
  • The system delivers all the documents desired, as
    well as others deemed not relevant.
  • The system delivers some of the requested
    documents, but not all.
  • The system delivers some documents, none,
    however, are deemed relevant.
  • The system delivers no documents at all and some
    are known to exist that are relevant to the
  • It is the task of RM to ensure that No. 1 occurs
    consistently across the enterprise!

Issue 5 The impact of Sept. 11th and RMs role
in information protection
  • There is a persuasive, even compelling, argument
    that protecting organizational information from
    loss due to disaster whether due to natural,
    technical or human causes is the most important
    aspect of records management.

Greater risks / consequences of loss
  • Most organizations could lose all their paper
    records and survive.
  • No so for computer records!
  • A large-scale data loss would likely be
    cataclysmic and irrecoverable!

For all vital, mission-critical records, off-site
back is the way to go!
  • Organizations should adopt the long-term goal of
    converting to digital format every paper-based
    recordkeeping system of mission-critical
    importance as soon as resources and priorities
  • Records managers should survey all such
    applications, and develop a plan for conversion
    from paper to digital format that can be
    implemented over a period of several years.
  • This will permit the records to be backed up
  • For all mission-critical recordkeeping systems,
    we recommend that organizations give themselves 5
    years to get out of paper.

Issue 6 Getting to (nearly) perfect in records
  • Sadly, most records retention programs are not
    organized around success.
  • Most have no long-term management plan or
    strategy for achieving success.
  • So, just like every self-fulfilling prophesy,
    success in retention remains elusive!

Best practice in enterprise RM requires the
systematic application of rules, tools and
implementation strategies in five recordkeeping
  • 1. Active paper records at departmental
  • 2. Inactive paper records in storage facilities
  • 3. Personal working papers kept in desks,
    credenzas and bookcases
  • 4. Data in computer applications managed by IT
  • 5. Electronic records in desktops, controlled by
    their creators

Getting to perfect in retention
  • Organizations should establish a 5-year goal of
    applying retention rules in all 5 recordkeeping
  • Poorly managed warehouse storage and IT-managed
    system applications will require at least 3

A top RM goal No more unmanaged / under-managed
storage repositories!
  • Regardless of whether they used for the storage
    of paper or electronic records, every storage
    repository must be managed such that the content
    is fully accessible, readily retrievable, and
    safe and secure.
  • Moreover, the life cycle of the content in all
    repositories must be properly managed under
    approved retention rules and policies.

Issue 7 The role of electronic records
retention in improved data life cycle management
  • What happens to computer data as it ages?
  • Does the value of data increase or decrease as
    time passes?
  • Do storage management requirements change as data
    ages through its life cycle?
  • In the world of paper, these are questions that
    records managers have addressed for decades!
  • But not in the world of IT, where retention has
    not been widely practiced.

If getting rid of dead data is such a good idea,
why hasnt it been widely practiced???
  • A largely invisible problem no physical /
    visible manifestations.
  • In some situations, its cheaper to retain than
  • For decades, IT had carte blanche to buy all
    the storage they wanted no questions asked!
  • No strong advocate among key stakeholder groups.

None of the key stakeholders in business
computing strongly advocated ERR, so it didnt
  • IT departments Data retention not a priority
    no methodology or expertise.
  • Vendors Driven by customer priorities. Data
    retention not historically an issue. But this is
  • Data owners Usually content to take whatever
    data they can get.

The explosive and unprecedented growth in
data storage
  • The total cost of managed storage now rivals or
    exceeds the investment in systems and servers,
    and often accounts for 50 or more of total IT
  • Data storage costs will rise to three-quarters of
    all IT spending over the next few years.
  • Source Storage Inc.

Issue 8 Bringing RM / retention to the
messaging environment
  • In most organizations, the desktop is an records
    management basket case generally
    under-managed or mismanaged.
  • But this is where most of the work of
    organizations is done!
  • Approx. 56 of all digital content resides here.
  • To bring better records management to the desktop
    is one of the biggest records management
    challenges today.

The messaging environment should be restricted to
current communications only!
  • Many e-mail users retain hundreds, even
    thousands, of e-mails, in their messaging
    environment. This is not best but worst
  • A top records management priority is to ensure
    that the messaging system is not morphed from an
    e-post office into an unmanaged archive!

Consider the analogy of the postal mail you
receive at home . . .
  • When you go home tonight, youll get your mail
    out of your mailbox.
  • There will be bills, magazines, and junk mail.
  • Youll discard the junk mail, put the magazines
    on the coffee table or night stand, and put the
    bills in the pending file for payment.
  • But you wont put any mail back in the mailbox!
  • Well, thats exactly whats happening in the
    digital environment!!!

The only practical retention methodology for
e-mail . . .
  • Asking users to classify 30 to 60 or more e-mails
    per day in accordance with a taxonomy and save
    them to an ERMS or ECM solution is not practical
    aint gonna happen!!!
  • Therefore, a simpler strategy, one which
    minimizes user involvement and decision-making,
    is required.
  • The only practical, realistic solution
  • A uniform maximum retention period, accompanied
    by aggressive daily management by users!

The uniform maximum retention strategy Heres
how it works . . .
  • . . . A uniform maximum retention period, of
    pre-determined length, is established by policy.
  • It is effectuated by automatically transferring,
    without user involvement or decision-making, all
    e-mail remaining in employees mailboxes when the
    messages have aged 90 days to a dedicated e-mail
    archival repository, where they will remain for
    the duration of the approved uniform maximum
    retention period.
  • When the messages have aged to the duration of
    the uniform maximum retention period, they will
    be purged, again without user intervention or
  • To operationalize this strategy, youll need an
    e-mail archiving tool (software solution).

The uniform maximum retention period Options for
its duration
  • Not less than 3 years, nor longer than 7 years!
  • The average retention of all records kept by
    American business falls within this range!
  • Because of system obsolescence, 10 years is the
    longest practical retention period, but its
    usually much longer than needed.
  • Three years should be sufficient to meet the test
    of reasonableness and good faith.
  • If you want to be more conservative, go to 5, 6
    or 7 years.

The uniform maximum retention period must be
accompanied by two major caveats
  • (1) E-mail of transitory value must be deleted on
    a daily basis.
  • This requires 10 to 15 minutes per day.
  • (2) E-mail of long-term value (for which the
    retention exceeds the uniform maximum period)
    must be saved in a separate repository that can
    satisfy its retention period
  • Printed and filed in paper format.
  • Saved to another software application (ERMS, ECM,
    or other solution).
  • Do these things, and your e-mail retention
    problems will be over!

Issue 9 The significance of the new software
solutions for ERM
  • Today, for the first time ever, the goal of total
    life cycle management, through a retention
    methodology supported by computer software, is
    within reach!
  • This is the holy grail of RM!
  • At present, a total of 52 software solutions have
    been certified under DoD 5015.2!
  • More good news Retention functionality is
    increasingly being built into native software

For the first time, large computer companies get
into the RM business
  • For decades, records management was perceived as
    tangential to the larger enterprise information
    management agenda because large computer
    companies werent in the records management
  • But, in the last five years, things have changed
  • In 2002 IBM acquired Tarian Software and
    announced plans to integrate records management
    capabilities across its entire software
  • In 2006, IBM enhanced its position in the market
    by its acquisition of FileNet.
  • In 2003 EMC acquired Documentum and launched an
    Information Lifecycle Management business.
  • In 2006, Oracle acquired Stellent.
  • These and other developments have the potential
    to elevate records management to another level of
    legitimacy as an information management
    initiative of enterprise strategic significance.

Software solutions for content retention
  • Retention functionality in native applications
  • ERMS software
  • Integrated EDMS / ERMS software
  • Fixed-content archiving solutions
  • Database archiving solutions
  • E-mail archiving solutions

Issue 10 The role of RM in digital preservation
  • Our IT department tells me they can support data
    retention requirements up to 5 years with
    certainty. From 5 to 10 years, with a little bit
    of luck. After 10 years, there are no
  • Source Edie Allen, Records Manager (retired)
    Battelle Memorial Labs

Why digital preservation?
  • If an organization creates a record in electronic
    format in, say, the year 2006, and this record
    will need to be digitally processed and read many
    years later, how, exactly, can this requirement
    be supported in a technology environment in which
    the only constant is rapid change?

Digital preservation Eight best / recommended
  • 1. Records selection
  • 2. Storage media selection
  • 3. Data migration
  • 4. Standardize file formats
  • 5. Media recopying
  • 6. Metadata management
  • 7. Systems documentation
  • 8. Media storage and maintenance
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