Welcome to my Weblog. This site is dedicated to my thoughts, views and understanding on anything that touches upon records management, archives management as well as information management in Malaysia. I believe in becoming a 'functional and meaningful' information professional, the term I refer to as person who can function in many ways possible for the betterment of this discipline. Interested parties, may reproduce or quote materials published with the condition that they are credited to Comments must be accompanied by names or pseudonyms. Anonymous postings and those containing profanities and obscenities will be rejected.

Monday, October 29, 2012

From record management to ERMS....insight #2

Dear all...

It is just an insight into what is transpired currently....

Another obstacle when organization plans to implement electronic records management (ERM) and ERM system (ERMS) is; 

People perceive and I understand that many organizations tend to do it (implementing ERMS) without considering the changes and organizational restructuring it needs to do first. Should the process flow or the current workflow does not meet up and not in tandem with the changes that is going to take place once ERMS is in place. It will just become another flaws. Organization needs to understand and redesign the organizational workflow before embarking on ERMS. As a matter of fact, ERMS comes into the picture to efficiently expedite work processes, and the old ways must make way to ERMS. Otherwise, the presence of ERMS is just considered as another organizational effort to increase the burden of the staffs, while otherwise, it is not supposed to be. 

Preliminary investigation and organizational preparedness to implement ERMS must be done first. Awareness of the staff must be instilled. Updated skills and know how in record keeping practices must be exposed to staffs and top management. The initiatives to make informed of what is ERMS, how it is going to change the way things are done and the introduction to the new way organization is operating must be done and made clear to all staffs. This requires clear direction of what organization or top management want to go about in implementing ERMS. This is normally done through change management program, which includes trainings and workshops. Top management must spearhead the initiatives as this will change and affect the whole organizational structure and the way it operates.

To think that it is just simply installing ERMS software, is totally a wrong perception and way of doing proper things. The preliminary investigation is critical to understand the current status of record keeping practices, the loop holes and gap in records management currently in operation and understanding what needs to be corrected first before ERMS come into the picture. The file plan structure, the classification, naming conventions used, the functions of each and every department, the relationship between departments are all critical information for the redesign process of a new workflow.

Think about it!

to be continued.... 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

From records management to ERMS...insight #1

Dear all!

Embarking on electronic records management (ERM) is not simply buying on shelf software from the market and install it, then here you are, an electronic records management in your organization! Many organizations have failed to do so because their current practices of record keeping is nowhere to any standard. The vision is high on ERM but their manual record keeping practices are not up to the requirement and standard. The life cycle of record is not properly managed, the focus is heavily on their current records and yet their current records remains a mess. There are a lot of factors associated with these, among them are:

1. Improper record keeping practices due to lack of knowledge and skills in record management and record keeping practices.
2. Incorrect file plan structure and records classification
3. Standard and requirement are not followed
4. Change is hard due to lack of top management support
5. Top management's lack of clear direction, mission and support on records keeping practices, "just make do attitude"
6. Proper training in record keeping practices is very much lacking.
7. Inherited legacy of improper record keeping practices, new staffs just follow the existing practices-attitude issue and easily staffs are easily adapted to current culture which is backward.

Moreover, new staffs who are normally energetic, aggressive and willing to take up new challenges and willing to embark on improving the way organization are managed and implementing proper records keeping practices once they are exposed to it are put to freeze by the current culture of 'ignorance', unwilling to change, and unsupported top management attitude. This further exaggerated the problem in making records management the key to organizational effectiveness and efficiency in operations.

Monday, October 22, 2012

To start off an ERM

Another...just sharing!

The starting off of an ERM initiative requires one to look into a feasibility study. One need to do a study of his/her own agency in order to know and compile relevant information on the status of records management. The assessment being made will shed directions of where ERM should go and where it should start off. Otherwise, it will just another blunder! Some good tips are:

The records or ERM Task team will gather information from key stakeholders in each of separate business units. Leveraging that knowledge, the team analyzes each of the operating units needs and delivers a Findings and Recommendations Report that identifies gaps in best practices, a roadmap for execution and estimated timeline for completion. Recommendations address areas such as: legal and regulatory requirements, governance and program sustainability, technology options, business process improvements, cost reduction and risk mitigation priorities.

Developing RIM (records information management) Programs
The assessment create understanding of current records management practices, then build a program foundation and take agency all the way through adoption. A program foundation is critical to successful compliance and includes policies, retention schedules, guidelines and procedures that outline physical and eRecords best practices. Policies should address the latest technology and communication practices such as social media and information in the cloud.

This foundation is critical to ensure a successful implementation of an agency's records management program:
Communications and formal training (live and computer-based)
Taxonomy and file plans
Records and electronic information cleanup
Software evaluation (ECM, EDRM, RMS)
Offsite storage vendor negotiation
Staffing and support

Merging/Simplifying Records Retention Schedules

Without a clear path, compliance by internal staffers is impossible. A current Records Retention Schedule is a critical component of any records management program. The primary objective of Records Retention Schedule Development Methodology is to support simplified records retention practices, so that employees can easily use, and management can easily administer, the schedule. The ERM Task team experts can quickly assess and align schedules to streamline business processes and improve compliance.

Legal Research into Records Retention and Privacy Law
The agency's Records Retention Schedule can be updated based on best practices in risk mitigation, and legal and regulatory retention requirements.

Cleanup of Inactive Records

Documents and data have a way of accumulating. It is important to clean out the obsolete information, but need to do it in a compliant manner. There is a need to identify and destroy as many eligible records as possible, based on a risk and retention policy. Destruction strategies that comply with relevant Acts are critical to quickly reduce risk associated with growing stockpile of physical “records” and the digital wasteland of electronic content and email.

Operational Integration of RIM Policy and Procedures

Strong programs are effective when they align with real-world business practices—great RIM programs do not operate in a vacuum but rather in each and every work station. Each department has their own business processes; and these must be aligned with RIM policies. By carefully developing protocols that keep the end-user in mind, the ERM software easily become a seamless part of daily operations, assuring compliance and delivering increased efficiencies for the organization.

Review and Audit Programs

Keep your programs strong with review and audit programs. Annual Records Policy Reviews should be made--a survey of existing business units conducted to solicit changes, additions, or deletions from the existing Records Retention Schedule and RIM policy. These change will then become input into the Records Retention Schedule and update the legal citations and retention, based on any new legal or regulatory requirements.

Additionally, an enterprise-wide RIM audit compliance review makes departments aware of the importance of following the RIM Policy and Procedures. Comprehensive or random office inspections, analyze the results, summarize the findings, recommend steps toward compliance, develop future audit focus point areas, must be employed and these can support training and cleanup activities.