Understanding the Challenge of Record Information Management

In the past, CEOs and CIO have focused on managing only strategic information. The focus today however, should be holistic, and therefore the development of cross organisational and functional strategies for the management of records is a priority.

As individuals and organisations, we have an increasing need for the right information, in the right amount, at the right time and delivered in a way convenient to us, in order to make the right decisions.

The only thing constant about today’s corporate information and communication technologies landscape is change.  Enterprises face more competition and compliance requirements than ever.

Successful businesses rely on the right combination of organisational resources working together in a dedicated effort to position and achieve leadership in a globalised economy – and information is one such resource. The identification and use of structured and unstructured information is crucial in order to gain advantage over the competition.

In the past, CEOs and CIO have focused on managing only strategic information. The focus today however, should be holistic, and therefore the development of cross organisational and functional strategies for the management of records is a priority.

The force for change of corporate information management has many characteristics:

  • Globalization and new business models
  • Competitive advantage and intelligence
  • Litigation and intellectual property
  • Information economics
  • Enterprise portals and groupware

To assist decision making and rollout of successful corporate and business strategies it is important to have a knowledge-based enterprise organisation. This signifies that information must have meaning, be useful and considered as a primary intellectual asset with business and IT value.

Companies which are most efficient in gathering, processing and distributing information – as well as using it to make better decisions – are successful in achieving business agility and high customer satisfaction.

Record Information Management strategy is becoming central to the core business of organisations as they aim to gain competitive advantage and safeguard intellectual property in an unstable and volatile business and financial environment.

The fundamentals of Record Information Management can be applied to information created and stored by people in any hybrid records (printed or digital documents) and in any storage medium.
The challenges of proper record management are identifying and coordinating information resources throughout the enterprise and managing information as a valuable asset.

In the early stages of any Record Information Management project, agreement should be made on the extent of the unstructured data problem and what would be the risks of not taking action. To obtain broad approval for a Record Information Management strategy, it is necessary to understand and quantify the scope of the problem, the potential business and legal exposure, and the targeted ROI (ex. risk mitigation, process efficiency, infrastructure savings, enablement of the knowledge worker, etc.).

To ensure transparency, the key business requirements for a Record Information Management strategy should be:

  • Risk mitigation
  • Compliancy
  • The end-to-end capture of official information
  • Improving the search and retrieval of information
  • Effective policies for security and privacy
  • Facilitation of retention and disposition information

Providing board level governance in developing policies and processes to maximise the benefits of the widespread use of structured/unstructured data and resources is essential.

The project scope must also clarify the roles and responsibilities of data custodians and theusers of information, and define a cost reduction plan for the procurement and handling of. Additionally, the costs/benefits associated with information resources, related technologies and tools for information storage and management should also be identified.

In order to extract and manage information from repositories and documents, it is important to understand how these can be described and organised. This is just as important as identifying gaps and duplicated information.

A Record Information Management project has a multi-disciplinary and organisational impact on the enterprise within a numbers of areas.

The project should be driven in an inclusive and holistic way, and requires:

  • Integrated program and project management
  • Sophisticated knowledge of business practices
  • Organisational culture and dynamics
  • Fundamental information management
  • Retrieval theory and information gathering

In the next article we shall focus on the Record Information Management project lifecycle and the business transition approach.


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About the author

Alex Sebastiani
Alex Sebastiani