How to Invest in Records & Information Management Best Practices

Records Management (RM) best practices are an all-in proposition for any organization. Many CIOs have been called; a select few have been successful – for a number of reasons:

  • the organization is convinced records management equals hard copy only;
  • multiple senior level stakeholders have conflicting visions;
  • the long-range IT Roadmap cannot introduce RM best practices for at least two years; or,
  • the organization just isn’t interested.

In the crush of electronic records management (ERM) pilot projects over the past decade, the CIO invested in some version of best RM practices (the cadillac softwares listed on Gartner’s ECM Magic Quadrant sold quite well, after all). It’s one thing to purchase; it’s quite another to implement.

Most content platforms are problematic in unique ways. For example, SharePoint was supposed to be a dynamic, collaborative environment. It has become the corporate scrapbook and reference library. File shares are exhaustively multi-tiered and overburdened. Email is the everyday, to-do task list – but the application in which most corporate peers truly communicate and transact business.

The missing player in your Tech department? The Records and Information Management (RIM) SME.

How do the CIO and their RIM SME partner to implement best practices in an era in which they don’t own content anymore? First: they don’t partner. The roles should be clearly defined. Allow the RIM SME to perform the heavy lifting. In other words, the RIM SME will own the best practices process while the content stewards and surrogates own the objects. Meanwhile, the CIO can worry about the weekly “lift and shift” and the Tech Roadmap for the next five years. Second: the CIO shouldn’t micro-manage. Yes, they’re the keenest project stakeholder – one of the best candidates for Project Sponsor, certainly. But encourage the RIM SME to work with everyone across the organization with minimal promotion (don’t worry – they are extremely likable). Third: the RIM SME’s title should expand to include some reference to Information Governance – or better yet, Chief Data Officer. The successful candidate for this position will be extremely versatile. Allow their position title to reflect their aptitude as well as the dynamism they bring to the organization. Finally: don’t let the Records and Information Management function be the depot for last-chance employees. RIM deserves all the gravitas that an organization can afford.

Great records and information management best practices are simple to implement organization-wide if the culture minimizes distractions and maximizes skills. One of the RIM industry’s constant preoccupations is how to provide the best customer service we can for our organization. Leverage that desire – and enjoy how quickly the standard of your employees’ work lives improves.