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FOSE: Create a successful records management strategy for your organization

How well is your records information management (RIM) program performing?

Diane Carlisle of ARMA and William Neale of Information Management Consultants explored answers to this question during a panel discussion at this year’s FOSE Conference & Expo.

Information governance is one of the topics that is often top of mind for today’s CIOs and CEOs, said Carlisle. It’s also about more than just being able to respond to litigation and audits; it can really help an organization discover and harness the power of all of the information it has at its disposal.

Because of this, establishing and maintaining a robust RIM program is a must for both government and private sector organizations.

It is important for organizations to think about the content and the context of the data, Neale said, and not just where the information is contained. Often, the first step of putting information in the right place has to do with categories, not whether it is contained on a hard drive or USB port.

And there are a lot of resources out there.

Neale pointed out that the National Archives and Records Administration has a plethora of tools available for records management novices and pros. These best practices are not only relevant to federal agencies, he added, but are also used by state and local governments and private sector companies, too.

One of the most important aspects of successful records management has to do with audits. While the word might send shivers down the spine of many employees, Carlisle said it is important to remember that, “what gets measured gets done”.

Audits can enable an organization to transform mission and strategy by helping to set specific and quantifiable goals, determine their current state, monitor their progress, and objectively demonstrate their improvement. They can also, she added, help an organization prepare for litigation.

Finally, she explained, audits shouldn’t always be seen as a bad thing. They can often help highlight organizational successes and can even lead to new ideas and best practices for future projects.

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