31 October 2014

ARMA's Morph to IG Positive

ARMA International is all-in on Information Governance.  I am not privy to ARMA Board meetings, nor have I talked about this with the staff HQ.  But walking into the annual conference in San Diego this week, the switch from RIM to IG was inescapable.

Traditionalists may bemoan the blurring focus, seeing it as a dilution of discipline or a paean to fashionable modernity.

I see it as ARMA’s devotion to its mission: improving the professional lives of its members.  That’s not new.

The Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles were more than the latest codification of the millennia-old discipline of records management.  The Principles were designed to show other professional disciplines, such as Law and Accounting, that RIM is a counterpart deserving a seat at the Board table.  The Principles aligned RIM in a way that made it comparable, understandable, and estimable to other professions.

The move to Information Governance is the next step.  It goes beyond the assertion, “We’re equal.”  Now ARMA is bold to say, “Not only are we equally important, we are essential to organizational success.  Further, that success requires creative interaction between RIM and other disciplines.”

The result is twofold:

  •       RIMmers practicing IG rise in status and influence.  The rise includes respect and salary.
  •    Organizations endorsing IG enjoy an advantage over competitors who employ the old, dysfunctional siloed style of operation.  

I don’t know if the old stereotype of records managers was ever true.  You know, the introvert who went to library school to get a quiet, out-of-the-way job, checking records in and out.  If it ever was true, it went the way of physical card catalogs.

Today’s Information Governors (neĆ© Records Managers) are Three Musketeers, along with Legal and IT.  And D’Artagnan may be Accounting, Security, Compliance, or others.

ARMA has seen this and pushed it.  Not everyone wants to move forward and wear this mantel.  But it is the path to success for both ARMA members and the organizations they serve.

29 October 2014

Toward Goals

ARMA 2014 – the conference and expo – met in San Diego this week. Here's my initial impression and a differentiator from past meetings:

More devotees of Records & Information Management/Governance now recognize that their efforts must enhance and support movement toward their organizations’ goals.  In the private sector, that generally means contributing to black ink on the balance sheet.

In past years, records purists tried to perfect their discipline:

  •        The data map and records inventory must be complete and comprehensive
  •       The retention schedule must have the optimum number of classifications and be refreshed on an aggressive schedule
  •       The taxonomy must be optimized and current
  •        The numbers on the Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles Maturity Model must rise each year

These were always important, but now there is a greater realization that the goal is a successful organization, not a pure practice of the discipline.

This may reflect the rise of Information Governance in the RIM community.  IG is more holistic, reflecting a concern with organization success.  It gets RIM practitioners out of their silo (or Records Center) and closer to the C-suite.  There, they share or buy into the overall goal of the organization – commercially speaking, more profits or a rising stock price.

Stay tuned for more from ARMA 2014.