Session one of the ARMA Metro MD seminar is by Mike Miller and entitled, “A Perspective from Educator and Practitioner.”  Mike is a CRM and Director, RIM Consulting Practice, Array Information Technology.

Mike has taught at Universal of Maryland and also online for Drexel University.  The theme of his presentation is Janus because symbolizes looking forward and backwards and that is what RIM programs need to do as they look back to RIM principles and forward to changing RIM technologies.

Here are some of my main takeaways from his session.  Some of these come directly from his slides which will be posted on the ARMA Metro MD website.   

When records manager ruled

  • We did it all in paper
  • We moved it and owned it
  • And best of all, we offered the newest technology

Over time records managers transitioned to knowledge workers.  Main catalyst was change to digital records.  New technology came in without thought to implications of records management.  RIM staff have have gone from owners to partners, we used to support the administration as a whole and now it is the executives/CIO that we support.  There is now no longer a need for the best RIM problem, but now we just have to be “good enough program” that keeps executives out of jail. 

You can’t start with email management.  E-mail management is little picture, which fits into bigger picture of electronic records management and that feeds into enterprise architecture and that flows into information governance which all fits into the big bucket of RIM. 

To paraphrase Karl Marx: “Records manager still own the intellectual capital necessary to manage information, but they no longer own the means of production.”

When deciding if blogs and wikis are records we need to ask the following questions: What is the value of blogs?  Are blogs and wikis necessaries for accountability?

Principles for changing RIM landscape:

  • Manage all information
  • Know what information you have
  • All information has a life cycle – creation to disposition
  • Format changes value – rethink disposition
  • All information assets are discoverable, shareable, protected, interoperable, exploitable
  • Apply appropriate safeguards, allow appropriate access
  • Records are just another type of information

It is important to keep in mind that “Medium does not change informational value, but it does change evidential value.”

Records Management Principles

  • Use a life-cycle based, risk management approach
  • Ensure that records have sufficient authenticity, reliability, integrity and usability over time.
  • Everything else we know is a tool.

How should RIM practitioners get a new identity

  • Dump the archives, records center, paper records. – Paper records reinforce old image and take up too much time.
  • Get rid of record/non record – it is all a record based on audience
  • Integrate records into information management
  • Rethink everything to add value not cost
  • Simplify, simplify, simplify
  • Get out of the office and join the team
  • Requirements, communication, education, auditing
  • Looking forward to electronic – not backward to paper.
  • Good enough RIM.

In the changing RIM landscape we don’t have to have the answers, but we should have the process to find the answers.

What should we teach:

  • Separate the principles from the tools.
  • Understand what records are and do to enable flexible solutions that use technology to creatively solve problems.
  • Case study approach. Creative apply principles to problems.
  • Teach integration as well as uniqueness.

Records management principles is not rocket science, implementing records management is.

The records manager’s place in the organization depends on the culture of the organization and what your skills are.  If you do not have IT skills then it will be hard to have a place at the IT table because IT will not listen to your voice.