Some Gentle Reminders

These are just some reminders – there’s really nothing original about them, but they are important.

  1. It’s all information and it all needs to be managed – Regardless of whether we’re speaking about data, content, information, records, web content, …, it is all information and it all needs to be managed.  It matters not how much or how little structure is applied, nor does it matter if we call it a record.
  2. Have a purpose and a plan – Establish at least one objective and have some idea of how you’re going to achieve it before spending time and money on an information management initiative. Don’t just do something to keep up with the Joneses.
  3. Information is an asset; treat it accordingly – Like any other corporate asset, information needs to be managed properly.  There are costs associated to acquisition, maintenance / management, and disposal.  There is also potential residual value, beyond archival value, in information (think about stripping out data to be used in Business Intelligence or Customer Relationship Management).
  4. It’s the message, not the medium, that’s important – If I communicate a decision via a sticky note, an email, a Word document, a text message, or a Tweet, the decision is what’s important, not how I delivered it.  The delivery mechanism (file format) should indicate nothing more than how the message needs to managed from a mechanical (not business) point of view. I.e.: a classification model should account for the subject of the decision, not for the file format.
  5. If you have it they can use it against you – Regardless of when you could have gotten rid of something, if you didn’t actually get rid of it it is subject to discovery.
  6. Without the people nothing will work – You can have the best processes and tools on the planet, but if your stakeholders don’t buy in it will never work.
  7. Governance must not inhibit creativity or productivity – If your people are being less productive, creative, or innovative than you’d hoped, there is something wrong.  Good governance must protect from risk and enable performance simultaneously. Andrew McAfee said it much better than I could.
  8. Don’t try this alone – At some point you’re going to need help.  It may be at the definition stage, it may be during implementation, it may be related to organizational change management, it may be all the way along. Assess your capabilities honestly and get the help you need.
  9. Information is infrastructure – If you don’t believe me try running your business without it. Information and the systems that manage it are as key to running an organization as databases (which contain some of the information), security (which controls access to information), and operating systems.  This is especially true when considering the products / vendors noted in the upper right quadrant of Gartner’s ECM Magic Quadrant (I’m not providing a link since you’ve probably all seen it anyways).
  10. There’s nothing new – Requirements to create, consume, share, store, and use information are not new.  Even collaborating has been around for millennia.  What’s new are the demands and opportunities resulting from increases in volumes of information and expectations to do more with less and do it faster and better. The good news is that we have some really cool new tools to help us.


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