Records Management in the Information Age -- but how do you do that? (Part 1.5)

Thanks to some of the great feedback we received from the last post, I’d like talk a bit more about records management in collaborative spaces, before moving on to “records spaces”.

The statement from the last post that “collaborative spaces do not require full-blown records management” is an oversimplification. It should have read “collaborative spaces generally do not require”… The level of RM control over collaborative spaces will vary from company to company based on the level of regulation that the company is subject to.

Every company, even those in non-regulated industries, needs an overall records management strategy, including a clear file plan and litigation hold/discovery processes. Even for customers in non-regulated industries, what is needed in “collaborative spaces” are (at minimum):

- The ability to declare & classify items as records
- The ability to discover content there, to allow your legal team to triage & produce it
- A way to manage life-spans for collaborative non-record content.

However, the way that you manage collaborative content in unregulated organizations will generally be less rigid than having a full file plan that every user is subject to.

In regulated industries (such as pharmaceutical, government, and financial services), the concerns and “rules” are different – for example, we’ve listened closely to a lot of customers where the rules concerning records keeping and auditability are much higher. When we’ve talked to them, they still want high employee productivity, but they are more willing to train employees and make trade-offs of productivity vs. compliance, because failure to be compliant means going out of business.

We will contend that the model described here will work for most non-regulated companies – because compliance is important for all companies, and keeping the end-user “tax” for records keeping as low as possible will make your program more likely to be successful. But based on the level of regulation for your industry, you’ll need to decide how much RM control you need over collaborative spaces – and therefore how closely you’ll follow this model vs. treating your entire information infrastructure like “records spaces”. (Also, I should mention that we believe we have the functionality necessary to support highly regulated industries with our software as well… but we’ll follow that up in our next posting.)

Sorry again if the earlier post caused any confusion,

Ethan Gur-esh,
Program Manager

P.S.: Thanks again to everyone who’s been reading and giving us feedback. We look forward to continuing this conversation with you all, and hope that it’s as valuable for you as it has been for us… and please keep the feedback coming! J