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ARMA conference and expo to explore information governance role

In this Q&A, find out what attendees can expect from the upcoming ARMA conference, and learn about new trends in information governance strategy.

There's no doubt the records manager's role is evolving into an ever more important function in today's digital age. Proper management of the endless number of company records can make or break an organization -- a set of circumstances that can make a records manager's job overwhelming at times.

Organizers of the 57th Annual ARMA Conference and Expo, scheduled for Sept. 23-25 in Chicago, say they can help. The ARMA conference will feature 70 sessions that provide education from top thought leaders, as well as tips on the latest information-governance strategy best practices and technologies.

I think people in the boardrooms are much more aware of the connection between the success of their business and how information is managed than ever before.

Diane K. Carlisle,
senior director of content development,
ARMA International

In this Q&A, Diane K. Carlisle, senior director of content development at ARMA International, discusses what attendees can expect from the ARMA conference later this month, as well as the latest trends in information governance and records management strategy. What is the theme of ARMA International's 57th Annual Conference and Expo, and what kind of information do you hope attendees take from it?

Diane K. Carlisle: Our real focus is on information governance, which does paint a pretty broad picture of what's included in information governance and how records and information management professionals can develop their career paths along those lines. I think there are a lot of great new opportunities for professionals in information governance. At our conference and expo, we really want to expand the attendees' view of what information governance is and how their skill sets apply in these new areas in order to be effective in that broader role.

There's going to be a lot of great information. We're hitting heavy on the topics of litigation, technology and career development. Anybody interested in those areas should certainly come out.

Why is information governance strategy so important to the modern, connected company?

Carlisle: I think it's really all about the information. We are really in an information economy, and over the past several years we've seen some companies succeed because they manage their information well. I think there's real business opportunity in effective use of information. On the other end of the scale, we've seen some companies really crumble, or at least be put at a disadvantage, because of how they mishandled information. I think people in the boardrooms are much more aware of the connection between the success of their business and how information is managed than ever before.

How has the increased use of technology such as social media and cloud influenced records management and information governance strategy?

Carlisle: It makes it a lot more complicated. Everything is coming in faster, and in new formats. Because of the business advantages, businesses are quick to adopt technology like social media and use the cloud. Sometimes they do that without any kind of consideration of what the compliance impact might be. We'd like to really see those compliance and regulatory policy issues be addressed at the same time as they're adopting these new technologies and new media formats. It's pretty hard to tack it on at the end after the fact -- it's much more efficient to do it as the technology is being brought into the organization.

Has the increased number of records management-related compliance mandates influenced how companies view information governance? Is it deemed more important because regulators are paying increased attention to it?

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Carlisle: I think there was a time when people in boardrooms were thinking, "Oh, the bad stuff only happens to the other guys; it couldn't happen here." They are starting to see it can happen in their organization. The companies are really hoping to find experts who can help to address the records management and information governance challenges. You've got the quantity, you've got the multiple forms of technology, the things the companies want to adopt to make them more efficient with customer relations. The other side of this is how do we do this and maintain our corporate reputation and ensure we are meeting our regulatory requirements? We want to help people be in a position to answer those challenges through the education offered at our ARMA Conference and Expo.

What are some of your predictions for the future of records management? Are there any big information governance-related regulatory or strategy trends that records managers should pay attention to?

Carlisle: The thing that has captured my attention and interest in the past couple of years is how much more quickly companies are adapting to personal technology use. Even if you look back to when email was making its way onto the scene, I think a lot of companies either doubted it could be of value to the business or they were very controlling around who could have an email account. But over time, that attitude changes. You've seen it with instant messaging, you've seen it with social media, where something that was initially perceived as a personal type of thing is suddenly being used more and more in companies. For the information governance professional, to be aware of that faster uptake and to get into the decision-making role as that kind of technology is being rolled out is going to continue to be a challenge.

Information governance professionals are still going to have to straddle a pretty wide range of issues because, at the same time that businesses are quicker to adapt to technology solutions, we are also seeing regulators and the legal field move more slowly in terms of recognizing that fact. We have information governance professionals who are managing old technology -- paper, microfilm -- up to social media and cloud computing. It's a wide field.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Ben Cole, Associate Editor. For IT compliance news and updates throughout the week, follow us on Twitter @ITCompliance.

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