The new information lifecycle compounds records management challenges

Amid the records management challenges caused by cloud, mobile and social, two basic questions can help bring information back under control.

Trends like cloud, mobile and social encourage a fresh look at records management challenges, especially when it comes to managing the complete lifecycle of information.

Enterprise information has moved into the cloud and onto mobile devices, and it's even being created outside traditional company walls on platforms like social media. With the rapid growth and movement of data, organizations struggle to manage the information lifecycle, from creation through retention to destruction, without either missing important data or erring on the side of over-retention. How can records managers take back some control?

According to expert Steve Goodfellow, president of Access Systems Inc., records managers need to take a step back and ask two seemingly simple questions: What is a record? And where are these records stored?

Steve GoodfellowSteve Goodfellow

With information moving beyond a company's boundaries into the hands of a cloud provider or onto an employee's mobile device, the answers to these questions can no longer be found in a file cabinet or even in a centralized electronic repository. These trends have decentralized records storage, but they've also shed light on the changing definition of a "record," which has become increasingly fragmented since enterprises have made the shift from paper-based records to digitized information.

"Pieces of a record are being created dynamically, by various programs. They can come from an email, or a text or a database update as part of a work process," Goodfellow said.

While introducing technology like enterprise content management (ECM) systems can help return some semblance of centralized management, the more important step is a shift in mind-set that accounts for the dynamic new life of enterprise information.

To learn more about facing these records management challenges, check out this podcast.

This was first published in April 2014

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