It has taken me a couple of weeks to gather my thoughts from ARMA 2012 held in Chicago this year. As usual, it was a great conference; it provided lots of opportunity to meet with old friends and lots of opportunity to talk to existing and potential customers. It was also alot information and interaction crammed into a couple of days, hence the lag in pulling together my thoughts.
First of all, this year, more than any other, I think I can say that Records Managers get it.
For the last few years, quite honestly, not long after the FRCP changes in 2006, we have been telling anybody that would listen that Records Management has to expand beyond the traditional scope of “Official Records”. Records Management and Records Management practices now have to address much more than the Official Records if organizations want to address much of the risk and cost inherent to the ever expanding volume of Electronically Stored Information (ESI). This idea has now become firmly entrenched in Information Governance, in no small part due to the work of some of the thought leaders in Information Governance like Barclay Blair and Mark Diamond. Certainly at ARMA, there was lots and lots of information and vendor positioning in Information Governance and it was evident to me that Records Managers were embracing Information Governance.
But (and there is always a but), I think there is still a big gap between embracing Information Governance and doing anything about it. It is that gap that I tried to address in my Solution Showcase presentation.
The basic premise is that, in order to take advantage of the benefits of retention control, it is necessary to be able to classify content. And, in order to classify content, we must be able to capture it some way for classification. This might sound obvious and seem simple, but these two problems, capture and classification, are the problems I see most organizations struggling with on a daily basis. They know the benefits of retention control, in particular the ability defensibly delete content, but they are also very worried about the impact classifying and capturing content will have on end-users and the way people work.
First of all, there is the problem of capture.
We need some way to have the content being created put under management. There are lots of options in this area. The OpenText strategy is to create integration points with the costliest and riskiest sources of content, and provide capabilities to capture and centrally archive that content. In particular, some of the costliest and potentially riskiest content can be found in Exchange, Notes, SharePoint, SAP and Oracle. Off-loading content from these sources can reduce IT costs and storage costs, but more importantly, place content somewhere where it is searchable, can be placed on litigation hold, and classified for retention and disposition.
I also discussed what I believe to be one of the most disruptive technologies faced by ECM and RM professionals – File Synching.
But, File Synching is also a massive opportunity for RM and ECM. If File Synching is attached to your ECM solution like OpenText Tempo, File Synching is also one of the best ways to encourage users to place content into the ECM system, not because we tell them to, but because they want to. File Synching is all about the making life easier for the end-user. The fact that we are capturing content for retention, disposition, security and litigation hold is completely transparent to the end user.
I also took on one of the most contentious areas in Records Management and Information Governance these days – the battle between centralized management and manage-in-place. This is a very big topic, but I think the short-form answer is that most organizations are going to end up taking a hybrid approach. The areas where there is risk and cost in the lead application, like email, will probably continue to centrally archived. However, content that resides in systems where there is built-in business logic, but no retention capabilities, a case can be made for connecting to, and indexing this content to manage it in place. In the end, in-place vs. centralized will be another one of those balancing acts that we associate with Information Governance. This is a topic that will continue to be top of mind for many organizations as they try to bring more and more of their unstructured information under control.
Capture is only the first step in getting content under control. It also has to be classified.
Again, this is an area where RIM professionals are going to need to balance the needs of users and the needs of the organization.
The presentation covers the pros and cons of the different methods for classification. There is no one single right answer, and most organizations will end up using most if not all of these methods based on the content that needs to be classified and the business process associated to that content. I took some additional time to go through our latest release, Auto-Classification,
and the requirement for defensibility in Auto-Classification.
The presentation finishes up with five uncomfortable questions to ask IT and Legal. I think asking,
and answering these questions will provide some of the impetus it will take to move from embracing Information Governance and actually doing it.