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, June 24, 2013

Records Management leads to KM...

Dear all....

Records Management Practices: Overview

Over the years, records management practices have proven effective in most situations (Duffy, 2000). However, many organizations look into records as secondary compared to organizational core operations. It is difficult to change business practices when they have served well for many years. But for records management and knowledge management, business practices have an added dimension to their purpose (Duffy, 2000). The continued requirement to balance good records management practices for capturing organizational memory and the practices of knowledge management appears to be contradictory at first glance, but it is important for information managers and knowledge managers to collaborate in developing business practices that support both.
In an organizational context, there are enormous amount of tacit and explicit knowledge that can be gathered from a variety of sources internal and external to the organization. Figure 1 depicts the framework of sources for tacit and explicit knowledge that can be tapped by organizations. The following are the sources and their descriptions:

  • Best Practices 
It is the practices that are already proven successful results. These practices are captured and recorded for future use in another situation which becomes the focal point of reference and regarded as part of the organizational memory.
  • Corporate Memory 
Organizational corporate records such a official documents, reference manuals, procedures, policies, accumulated knowledge, experience, expertise, strategies, stories, methodologies, and history of the organization.
  • Corporate Data Warehouses and Databases 
Data that are kept in various information systems in the organization are siphoned through data warehouse method to enable the data to be analyzed for specific purposes such as business intelligence or competitive intelligence.
  • Communities of Practice 
It is a group of people that come together naturally to discuss common interest topic either in a formal or informal way.
  • Current Operations 
New knowledge and experiences acquired by knowledge workers as a result of performing the daily tasks in the organization
  • Innovation and Generation of New Knowledge 
New learning and innovation, as opposed to existing knowledge, that is already available in the organization.
  • Outside Information 
Knowledge that can be gathered from outside, such as from suppliers, competitors, customers, marketplace trends economics and government regulations.

 Figure 1: Tacit and explicit knowledge that can be tapped by organizations.

3.0 Corporate memory

Overlooking their importance and unique role in the electronic age, the electronic revolution being experienced by all organizations, offers the opportunity to re-design business processes and methods. It provides a vision of easy access to all information across all the systems in our organization and available from the wider world. But in seeking comprehensive corporate knowledge, we must also guard against the possibility of losing our corporate memory, that is, the trail of evidence of action that is provided by records.

All organizations, whether private or public, and individuals in their working and personal lives, need records to document their activities. Records provide evidence of business activities. Without records, people and organizations cannot prove that actions have been taken, commitments entered into or obligations carried out. But records have a broader purpose than the immediate objective of getting business done: organizations exist within regulatory frameworks which impose various degrees of accountability for their activities. Accountability to shareholders, ministers or the public are all documented through records.

4.0 Organizational Learning as Organizational Memory Development
To better understand how knowledge that develops from significant experience migrates into an organization. A study done (Attipoe, 1999) where he examined learning from 22 projects in professional services, financial services, and manufacturing organizations. The projects ranged from new product development and roll­out initiatives to process improvement efforts to consulting services and development of financial solutions for investment banking clients. The companies were primarily Fortune 250 organizations that had global operations. He asked people what they had learned from their experience on these projects and where the knowledge gained had migrated ", within the organization. To capture both operational and strategic perspectives on learning, he conducted the interviews across several hierarchical levels (e.g., in a consulting firm, we interviewed the partner of the office, the partner managing the identified project, and the manager and consultants working on the project).

He learned that organizations remember lessons from the past in a variety of ways. An organization's memory resides in the minds of its employees and in the relationships that employees tap on an ongoing basis to accomplish work. Memory is also stored in repositories such as computer databases and file cabinets. Memory can also be embedded in work processes and in product or service offerings that have evolved over time and reflect lessons learned from an organization's past experiences. In today's knowledge-based economy, managers can improve performance by deliberately developing organizational memory and using the growing stores of knowledge to guide organizational activities and decision making.