- The digital landfill problem. We have 50, or 100, or 1,000 TBs of documents all over the place in our various systems. How do we sort through it all and responsibly retain or dispose appropriately within our budget constraints?
- The “systems of engagement” problem. How do we do information governance on our dynamic, sometimes chaotic “systems of engagement”? They use social media, mobile devices and the cloud. We’re feeling our way with some deliberate initiatives to move our business forward — but they’re also growing organically within and outside our organization. So our problem has three parts: a) How do we meet our governance obligations with our internal use of systems of engagement which we use for collaboration, interactive community building, etc.? b) How do we meet our obligations with our use of external SOE beyond the firewall, with customers, vendors and the public? c) How do we meet our obligations in how we’re integrating our evolving SOE into our more mature systems of record, which help to run our core line of business processes?
- The discovery problem. How do we prepare for and respond to litigation and other discovery, given #1 and #2 above?
- The dilemma that while a separate records repository — a “Records Center” — is untenable for the enterprise, going without one makes it almost insurmountable to get the RM job done
- The unwieldiness of administering “types” (records series, classes, etc.)
- The difficulties in getting either humans or machines to reliably declare and classify, etc.
- Managing the electronic analogues of the documents your paper RM program had been managing. These were the high value, high risk, highly manageable documents you were already managing in paper according to your retention schedule.
- Managing the electronic documents, some of which were records, that were authored or modified by knowledge workers using MS Office and email.
- Managing electronic documents that were of lesser value, risk and manageability than #1 above, or were of possibly high value and risk — but were mixed in with a lot of lower value and risk documents. So part of the challenge was sorting the haystack.
- Managing email, particularly the email messages and attachments that qualified as records, being of high value and risk.
3 Ways to Get Beyond 1998
1. Be clear about what problems any “Best Practices” were designed to solve and were actually successful in solving.
- Pre-1998 (predominately paper RM)
- 1998 (the four problems I outline above; also “EDMS”)
- 2003 (the magnification of the four problems, plus the internet; also “ECM”)
- 2013 (the magnification again of the preceding, plus the explosion of “Systems of Engagement” and the digital landfill)
- 2018 (the magnification of the preceding, plus expected and surprising disruptions).
- Which RM problems, from which periods, was it designed to address?
- How successful was it in addressing those problems?
- Under what conditions was it successful?