“The system will fix it” is one of the great furphies of our times. Over 35 years of implementing information management systems, we have yet to find systems that magically deliver efficient and compliant information governance. So before you invest in the technology, consider investing in these 5 non technical enablers first:
1. Invest in Cross functional training
All staff who work in IM need to be able to see the whole picture and understand where IT, records management, and business analysis meet. We need a rigorous program of cross training, i.e. records management skills for programmers, database skills for RM consultants etc. We can’t build better systems if our staff can’t apply their specialist knowledge because they lack context.
2. Review your Metadata Standards
We need to clean up our content. This means documenting and standardising our metadata values, especially if they haven’t had a major overhaul for several years. Once this is done, we will be ready to create new systems and improve our existing systems.
3. Revise your processes for digital transition
Digital transition and the elimination of paper filing is well underway. However putting active documents into electronic folders just doesn’t work when the process stakeholders require many different views of the records. We need to analyse our information processes to make sure that we’ve covered all of our bases for all stakeholders with respect to digitization.
4. Automate metadata capture
Goes with above. Working smarter not harder. We need to build metadata models that facilitate the capture of metadata so we don’t have to spend hours filling in fields. But if we do have to fill in fields, we would like to be able to multi tag, bulk edit, or whatever.
So we need eCM systems with flexible architectures and great usability tool that enable us to achieve this. At Synercon we’re going to trial a few new models in 2013 for managing specific business processes.
5. Develop Better Search tools
Not all documents we work with will be tagged and classified, and we don’t have the time to deal with piles of legacy data. Therefore we need better search tools. Not just search engines, but search tools like thesauri and synonym rings that connect terms and their variants together. So we need to also expand our business thesaurus to enable more effective searching.
What I have described is not rocket science. But it is information science.
It’s wont cost you an arm or a leg , either but if done well, we’ll all be better placed to take advantage of some of the new technologies available to us.