ARMA 2013: Tech poses new challenges for records management strategy

ARMA 2013: Tech poses new challenges for records management strategy

Date: Dec 13, 2013

As business data is generated from an increasing variety of sources, records managers have been forced to adapt. Technology such as cloud computing and mobile devices creates numerous records management challenges as businesses track data during litigation and remain regulatory compliant, said Diane Carlisle, executive director of content at ARMA International.

According to Carlisle, these new challenges facing records managers require a collaborative, businesswide effort. In this SearchCompliance video Q&A from the ARMA 2013 International Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, she further discusses how modern technology is making records management more complicated – and more important -- than ever.

What trends are you seeing in the area of governance, risk and compliance, and how it relates to a records management strategy?

Diane Carlisle: I think that all these fields are coming together. The big trends are that everybody's worried about litigation, and everybody's worried about compliance and more regulation. You can't do any of it without records management. Within the scope of records management, we have to be stepping up to the plate in a whole different way because the business technology has changed so much. As far as keeping up with the times, there are new skills that we need to bring to the table.

I think one of the key watchwords is collaboration. None of these parts of the organization can do it all by themselves, and if they did, you'd get a really skewed sort of view of what needed to happen. We think that it's really a collaborative, partnership kind of approach that's necessary to deal with these trends that are coming at us faster than any of those could really expect a couple of years ago.

How have technologies like mobility and cloud computing made records management more critical for an organization?

Carlisle: More critical and challenging. When you think about where data ends up living or visiting, because you've got mobile devices and all sorts of places where information, records and data can all live. It's increasingly critical, from a legal point of view, from a litigation standpoint, to be able to get your arms around that if there is litigation that affects that information.

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You can't do that on a dime. You can't turn it around in five minutes unless you've done the preparatory work. You need business processes in place and working efficiently so that you know where information is and can react quickly when it's needed.

It's not just litigation, either. It could be regulation. It could be shareholders that have a legitimate interest in the information. Without those steps at the beginning to make sure that you have those things all in place, then I think the game is lost. If someone came to me and said, 'Well, we've got this litigation and we have to respond to the discovery request in two days,' I might laugh in their face. There's just not enough time in most of our business environments to adequately identify, adequately protect and produce. Time frames are short.

I think those are some of the elements that make records management strategy more important today than ever. We're looking at a broader scope as well, because it's not just the official records. We're really bringing those disciplines into the information world, into the data world, because at the end of the day, any of it can hurt you a lot in the wrong situation.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Ben Cole, site editor. For more regulatory compliance news and updates throughout the week, follow us on Twitter @ITCompliance.

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