A great infographic all about barcodes! I don’t know about other people out there, but without that miracle printout it would take a lot longer to track and move records. Now let’s just make the next incarnation, RFID, more affordable and then passive tracking can becoming an easier reality for us all.
Did you miss me? Okay, probably not. But it’s finally time for me to get back on this blog bandwagon and start learning by writing more and more of this whole records managment business.
I have to start off by saying I’ve been fortunate in my career thus far to have a wide range of experiences. I’ve worked for the small law firm, the litigation support firm, the vendor and now the large international firm. Each situation presents different difficulties in dealing with records. In a small firm you have money issues. In a large firm you have timeliness issues. With a vendor you have customer service issues. All situations revolve around one ideal: finding the best possible way to safely, securely and accurately maintain and track records.
I’m now living in Boston working for a large international firm. My official job title is Records Supervisor and I’m in charge of a records staff of three associates. We’re charged with the task of maintaining the records center for an 80 attorney office smack in the middle of Back Bay. It’s a wonderful opportunity and already I’ve learned so much more than I ever thought possible.
But all that isn’t what I’m going to talk about in future posts. While my job here is great, it’s not appropriate to just regurgitate my daily work schedule into blog posts and call it good. No, I’m going to try and find topics pertinent to every level of records and information management and post about them each week. That’s my goal for now - a post a week. I have lots of travel coming up, so there will be plenty of time for writing. I’m excited to get back on the horse and get some ideas flowing.
Check back next week and hopefully you’ll find an article both enriching and exciting. And even if you don’t find it either of those things, I imagine I will.
I wanted to put up a quick post apologizing for my prolonged silence and lack of creative production.
Essentially, I’ve found a new position!
As some may know, I’m currently the Director of Records and Information Management for Sullivan, Morgan & Chronic in Kansas City, MO. My time here has been wonderful and educational. I’ve formed some great personal and professional relationships in my time here and I will always look back on these few years as the formative period of my records management career.
However, it’s time to move on up in the world. Starting October 1st I will take the position of Account Supervisor with Williams Lea in Boston, MA. I will be overseeing the records department for a large law firm in the Boston area and I couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity.
Rest assured knowing that this will definitely not stop postings onto this website. To the contrary I’m sure there will be even more information as I switch from a 10 employee plaintiff’s firm to an international defense firm with over 1200 attorneys. It’s a very exciting time for me professionally and personally.
So, with all that being said, this website will more than likely continue to be dark until the 2nd week of October, after I’m beginning to get settled in Boston.
I’ve never really talked about Information Governance vs. Records and Information Management, and they are definitely two different things.
Infromation Governance is essentially the up and coming term to define the entire field. RIM is a key part to Information Governance, but there are other pieces to the IG puzzle. Information Security, Compliance, Intellectural Property, Knowledge Mangement and Risk Management are just some of the other aspects to a comprehensive Information Governance program. The pieces work together to create a wonderful end product that is even stronger than its individual parts.
With this being a relatively new idea it can sometimes be confusing as to what is actually going on. Some companies use Records and Information Mangement to actually mean Information Governance because the Director of RIM does all the roles I’ve listed above. I’m included in that group and if I’m honest a more accurate description for my role would be Director of Information Governance.
What’s important to remember is that every single department in a law firm will be responsible for some aspect of a firm’s Information Governance policies. It’s absolutely unavoidable. HR, administration, practice groups, IT, records. All of these departments play key roles in making sure a firm is compliant and protected.
Now that we’re all thoroughly confused as to what we call what we do, let’s talk about why it’s so difficult to move forward with our projects and ideas. It’s obvious that the confusion lies in exactly this issue.
This field is incredibly comprehensive and touches every single aspect of business in a law firm. However, if you asked the managing partner of some firms they wouldn’t have any clue what you were talking about when you say “Information Governance” or even “Records and Information Mangement.” To some, “Records” is that deep dark place down in a basement where the weird people work who are amazingly obsessive-compulsive about keeping paper in order. It’s an “if you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you” situation.
It’s obvious that’s a very close-minded view and one that can lead to many problems down the road. Fortunately most larger firms have picked up that this technology and electronic document thing isn’t really going to go away and therefore are embracing the comprehensive notions that Information Governance embodies. It’s extremely important to stay current regarding this ever-changing world.
In fact, just the other day Iron Mountain released a report that is the culmination of a three day symposium held regarding the future of Information Governance in law firms. It’s free to download the 50+ page report and I definitely recommend it to anyone deailing with records and law firms. It’s a fantastic compilation put together by some of the best people in the field today.
There are four major components to the report:
- Defining an Information Governance Framework
- Managing Information Governance
- A Proposed Law Firm Information Security Assessment Framework
- How to Move Forward with an Information Governance Program in a Law Firm
It’s a wonderful place to begin and will hopefully set the groundwork for future Information Governance policies and practices. It will hopefully clear up a few issues people might have to understanding the different vocabulary and the direction the field is heading.
I’ve said before that it’s an incredible time to be involved in Records and Information Management and Information Governance. This report is a perfect example of my excitement as so many things are changing and they are changing for the better. Enhanced communication, collaboration across departments and comprehensive policies and procedures make business smarter and more efficient. I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner and I can’t wait to be involved in all these changes.
A thought provoking article over at ComputerWorld talking about a subject that is becoming more and more popular in the records world: the retention and production of social media records in litigation.
There are two great points from the article that I want to highlight.
Firstly, the author is absolutely correct in saying that many of the difficulties we’re currently facing with social media is similar to the challenges presented by email nearly twenty years ago. We can learn from those early processes and use many of the same techniques developed over the past two decades to make retention and production of social media records go a little more smoothly.
The difficult aspect when it comes to social media though is that actual capture of that information. It’s not nearly as simple as email which is more likely than not an actual file on your computer and/or server. Instead we’re talking about information contained almost entirely in a cloud system and usually a cloud system you don’t have access to. Understanding all the different tools available to perform this captuer (crawlers, screenschots, archive downloads, etc.) is important. It’s also good to know that these capture technologies are getting better by the month and also more widely accessible, which means costs will go down.
The second point to take away is one that I’ve hammered fairly consistently since I started this blog, which is to have comprehensive social media policies in place at your workplace. Making sure everyone understands exactly how they can use or not use social media, along with having a clear retention schedule for that information is crucial to success in this arena. These policies will make any potential production go all the more smoothly and efficiently.
Social media is just another stepping stone in our digital world and we need to incorporate this medium into everyday policies and procedures. I’m sure in another ten years we’ll be complaining about the next big thing and how we capture and retain that information. When that time comes you don’t want to still be figuring out social media.
As of late Friday afternoon I am now officially a CRM candidate!
CRM (Certified Records Manager) candidacy essentially means that I met certain experience and education criteria in the field of records management that allows me to sit for six exams. When I pass those six exams I will receive the CRM designation and all of a sudden millions of dollars will pour into my bank account.
Okay. That last part is probably not true. However, it is true that receiving the CRM designation is an amazing achievement and one that not many people have done. It opens up new doors and opportunities and allows me to continue forward in this career of records management.
To top it all off, I’m only 29 years old. At minimum I have about 26 years left in this inudstry which means I have a lot left to learn and a lot of places to go.
I’m excited about the future of our industry. We’re sitting at the edge of a push forward to a new level of efficiency, electronic solutions and automation. Predictive coding, near-paperless systems and automated workflows will become more and more standard across the board. No longer will many of these solutions be enterprise level, but rather will be available to all businesses.
It’s a great time to do what we do.
September meeting of the Kansas Capital Chapter of ARMA
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Bill Millican, Millican LLC
To BYOD or Not to BYOD – What are you going to do?
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is one of the very newest trends in every business environment. It is the fast growing practice of bringing personally-owned mobile devices into the work place, and using those very same devices to access privileged company resources such as file servers, file shares, databases and the most prolific of all, e-mail. How are you handling this newest phenomenon? Are you part of your organizational team that is working towards the solution? Do you, and the others on your team, understand the difficulties and the associated risks, and what must be done to mitigate these risks? You will not want to miss this presentation that will explore what is happening with Bring Your Own Device.
· Identify and better understand the scope of the BYOD phenomenon.
· Learn how to properly and effectively communicate the issues of records and information management to your information technology members.
· Understand the strategic elements of properly addressing the issues of risk associated with BYOD.
· What you can do today to begin assisting your organizational team in building awareness and strategic solution from the records management professional.
Top of the Tower
Bank of America
534 S. Kansas Avenue, 16th Floor, Topeka, Kansas
LUNCH WILL BE SERVED
The cost of the meeting (including lunch) is $20.00 ARMA Member
$25.00 non-ARMA Member
Registration: 11:15 a.m.
Lunch and Program: 11:30 – 1:00 p.m.
Parking is available in the Bank Tower Parking Garage. Entrance to garage is on Kansas Avenue.
Bring your parking ticket with you to the meeting for validation to receive free parking.
Contact Diana Gillespie at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot. Reservations must be received no later than Monday, September 10 at 9:00 a.m. Payments of cash or check can be received the day of the event or before the event by mailing a check to: Kansas Capital Chapter of ARMA, P.O. Box 1181, Topeka, KS 66601 . We are unable to accept credit cards at this time.
Law.com has a great article by Mark A. Fischer and Paul Sennott on the very real issue of copyright infringment in law firms. Don’t let the “law firm” designation fool you - almost every pitfall they provide could apply to any business out there. A quick rundown of their list:
- Making photocopies of articles as reference materials
- Copying literature for litigation
- Using a software program under an expired license to print materials
- Infringement of priveately created codes and guidelines
- Infringement of court documents
- Providing copyrighted non-patent literature to the US Patent and Trademark Office
What’s interesting to me (as someone who is 29 years old) is that most of the pitfalls listed almost go against common sense. In this age of sharing information and collaboration it seems appalling to me that I wouldn’t be able to send a PDF of an interesting article to a colleauge to read. However, that can be construed as copyright infringment.
How about if I want to store a copy of an article from a journal our firm subscribes to under the research tab for a current case? Well, that copy can be interpreted as copyright infringement according to Fischer and Sennott.
I completely understand and agree that material should be protected. However, it seems more and more (especially in this age of cloud computing and collaboration) unlikely that these laws will be able to keep up with newer methods of sharing and therefore copyright infringement. Hopefully laws will adapt with the changing landscape. However, that’s a task that is seemingly insurmountable and could not happen anytime soon.