We keep hearing the term ‘Information Tsunami’ in describing the pace of technology development and the consequential change happening within the workplace and society. Only 3 months into the year, it is proving to be the fact. The technology leap is here. What does this mean for records management practitioners?
In the first instance it can be scary as we see many of the functions that records staff currently perform shifting into the world of automation.
But stop the clock. Think. The records practitioner has a wealth of knowledge, skill and experience. Those are assets transferrable into this space. We have a legacy of many tasks that just could not be done because of lack of resources. Now, these can have our attention. The time is here to add value, real value to the information assets and therefore strengthen our capacity to better service our communities.
For example, in the recently published Victorian Government Records Management Review conducted by Landell for VAGO and the Victorian Ombudsman’s Office (http://www.landell.com.au/images/documents/Victorian_Government_Records_Management_v-1.18_20150803.pdf) , it was reported that 80% of the investigations cited an underlying records management failure that either resulted in the issues under investigation or impeded the advance of the investigations.
This is a big moment for records management practitioners. The failings are visible. The organisations publically shamed. Community and stakeholders dissatisfied with unresolved issues. It is reported that the current practices within the investigated organisations failed in transparency and good governance. Failure to make records of business transactions and activity. Failure to keep records appropriately as evidence. Failure in record keeping that as so pervasive records could not be found to even support the investigation to satisfactory conclusion. These organisations failed to meet their statutory obligations under the Acts from which they obtain their authority.
We have an opportunity to influence how these areas of failure are supported into compliance. We can influence to ensure evidentiary value is met. A big education program is ahead for us to deliver. That means educating so that records that are created, or that should be created meet requirements and are properly maintained within our organisations. It means working with our senior leadership and all levels of employees to educate, inform, train, support, guide, encourage and reward. This responsibility is even more important in the digital world where information is no longer in our line of sight.
We have many changes ahead. This may mean we need to adjust our own mindsets and help our teams likewise adjust to the new world emerging. The following articles are worth your assessment and for use in your records staff training. It is a good time to get them prepared for what is now and lies ahead. The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) articles, while not directly records management focused, demonstrate record keeping and governance/management failures. We are the guardians and custodians of our organisation’s information assets. What lessons are there for us to learn from this event? Thanks to Toula Varvarigos from eAssure, for sharing these articles with us. Please continue to do so.