CMS Wire in the article entitled, Discussion Point: Records Management Influenced by Cloud, Collaboration Technologies poses the following question to leader in information governance:
Has the advance of cloud computing and increased number of collaboration technologies used by organizations changed the way records management must work?

Here are excerpts of the responses
Mimi Dionne – Owner of Mimi Dionne Consulting

Yes and no. The framework of records management best practices is unchanged. However, the way in which the Records Management function communicates with the organization as a whole and also provides records declaration support is becoming more business process document-focused…

Think of business process documents flow as half of the records declared into a records repository. These records are declared by Records Management, as opposed to the end user community. Ideally, business process documents flow will be the larger of the two categories. Thanks to cloud computing awareness, this is a wonderful moment for Records Management to establish good rapport with internal customers and facilitate records declaration on their behalf.

Joe Shepley – Vice President and Practice Leader at Doculabs

Cloud computing represents a sea change, a seismic shift in how organizations store and manage information, the total implications of which are not yet known. In the short term, we suspect the cloud will make it cheaper to do so and more scalable (and in many cases, more secure and stable). In the long run, however, we just have no idea what things like switching from one provider to another or pulling content back on premises, or of doing e-discovery or records management, will look like, i.e., How would we do these things? What they would they cost? So in terms of the impact of cloud computing on the way records management must work, the biggest one for me is the introduction of nearly complete uncertainty of how to proceed.

Collaboration technologies, on the other hand, represent not so much a sea change as an extension of capabilities we’ve had for some time now. They allow us to do things we’ve always done, but more effectively…and unfortunately one of the implications of this is that they allow information to grow even faster than it has been and in new forms.

What this has done to records management is to increase the strain on an already strained function at most organizations.

Mike Alsup – Sr. Vice President at Gimmal Group

Enterprise records management has become much more challenging with advance of Cloud computing and increased use of collaboration technologies, because records management policy needs to be consistently applied in more repositories. Everyone recognizes the need for governance to extend to all of the required repositories, but many organizations are still looking for a single governance “ring to rule them all”. That is, a single platform to own the enforcement of information policy across multiple platforms. Wrapping all of these environments into an enterprise records management solution is a horse race between several alternative approaches marketed by Cloud-based file sharing vendors, the legacy ECM vendors, newer federation vendors and Microsoft…

One of the conclusions from several recent AIIM studies has been that buyers expect hybrid content governance to persist in their organizations for the foreseeable future. That is, they expect some of their processes and documents will be stored in the Cloud, but their archiving and records management will mainly take place on-premise in their data centers.

This is important because organizations will need processes and tools to manage the lifecycle of content across multiple platforms in the Cloud and on-premise. This requires simplifying assumptions because the task is too big and too hard to address otherwise. How to achieve hybrid content governance is a high priority architectural question in many of our clients, especially in the largest organizations. How to integrate Cloud and on-premises ECM environments into a single, simpler enterprise solution is a question these clients are asking us.

Cheryl McKinnon – Principal Analyst at Forrester Research

There are three possible approaches an organization can take to quickly adapt its records management strategy to the world of social, mobile and cloud content generation. The first option is to stretch the capabilities of current RM applications by capturing cloud-generated records into an existing on-premises records repository. The second option is to consider a separation of “rules from tools” — and assess records management or policy engine applications that can set retention schedules or other rules on content where it resides (an “in-place” approach). The third option is to consider an end-to-end cloud strategy for content and its lifecycle.

Laurence Hart – CIO of AIIM

What has changed is that the “viral” adoption of the newer cloud-based collaboration tools has made us realize that we need to simplify Records Management for the everyday person. We now realize that we have just taken the paper records process, digitized it, and pushed the classification work out to the organization.

We have to design our records systems to reach out and classify the records for the consumers. We need to take the reactive e-Discovery technologies and use it for proactive retention and records management.

Mike FerraraSenior Associate at Duff & Phelps

The cloud has certainly posed some new challenges for records management. The most obvious change is the storage location itself. Whether we’re talking about public or private cloud, the data is no longer sitting in a box on a shelf. New strategies are required to deal with digital storage and compliance requirements. One of the biggest challenges records managers face is dealing with the usage of public cloud services for content storage and sharing. The murky waters of data ownership, when storing content outside of the firewall, can have serious repercussions for an organization…

Concerning collaboration software, simply put, it is everywhere. And when adopted by an organization, it quickly becomes clear how an explosion of digital content can be cause for concern. Social interactions, chat logs and multimedia files are becoming as important as traditional documents and e-mail. In this sense, records management technologies must have an answer for not only incorporating these file types into a records plan, but managing them in an effective way. This means the proper interface for these kinds of file types as well as the cataloging of new kinds of related metadata.

Ellie Kim – Records Management Specialist at Collabware

The records management (RM) profession is changing. Records Managers now require more knowledge in different areas with the use of cloud computing and collaborative tools. There are varying degrees of cloud computing in terms of storage and infrastructure that records managers must understand in order to identify risks and implement corresponding RM plans.

A similar understanding of collaboration management tools is needed, particularly when their record-byproducts are not supported by existing records management systems. Without some knowledge of the technologies, records managers would not be able to fully control records and information in the organization both for regulatory and practical purposes. Knowledge of traditional records management alone is no longer adequate to perform RM jobs.

As business technologies that organizations adopt evolve, so does RM technology. The electronic records management system (ERMS) was developed in the 1980s out of the need to secure, organize and dispose of electronic records in a systematic and traceable manner that guaranteed the authenticity and integrity of records. Organizations cannot simply divorce the management of current records from the IT evolution. The RM technology has been dependent on network infrastructure, operating systems and leading business applications from where records are created and received.

I hope these excerpts whetted your appetite to read the whole article. As you can tell it is long, but there is so much good information I did not include.

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