Monday, July 20, 2009

True Disaster Recovery

I just got back from speaking to the Baton Rouge ARMA Chapter. What a great group of folks. Anyway, one of the things I was struck by is that the people I talked to all mark the passage of time based upon the storm that they, their families and their records lived through. It is more than just Katrina, which by the way is still evident almost every place you look, even many miles inland. When you need to understand disaster recovery think about what your business would look like if you weathered a true disaster every few years.

Are you kidding me?

Essential Elements of Information Management Communication and Training (Key #4: Program Communication and Training)

Highlights of chapter 15 of Information Nation second edition

Case after case had demonstrated that, whether they like it or not, companies and government agencies can be held accountable for their failure to adequately train and monitor their employees’ actions. IMC depends upon a comprehensive and consistent ongoing program of communication and training.

Clarity is a key component of any communication program. Company conduct which is contrary to policy can undermine the purposes of the policy. For example, a court has found that companies can violate the privacy rights of their employees, despite policy explicitly stating that employees have no privacy rights in data on company computers, where the company allowed employees to password protect network and email folders on company servers.

Top executives must also demonstrate their support for the Information Management program by communicating its importance directly to employees. This can be done through email messages, voicemail blasts, face-to-face presentations, teleconferences, and many other ways as appropriate, depending on the size and culture of the organization. Regardless of the method used, it is important that the communications are consistent with the messages provided elsewhere by the program’s policies and procedures.

Read about other important characteristics of a communication and training program in the second edition of Information Nation, available from John W. Wiley & Sons. For more information, see

Comments? Contact the author at

Monday, July 6, 2009

Read the following excerpt from the Wall Street Journal and tell me, what is the failure to be addressed:

“In an Aug. 15, 2005, voicemail messages addressed to company salespeople, an . . . employee . . . followed up on a “weight and diabetes sell sheet” they had recently been sent.” “. . . the document written by Dr. Geller doesn’t accurately reflect the company’s position in 2000. In fact, it was not Dr. Geller’s ultimate view either. It was an initial draft for discussion purposes.” “In response to a plaintiffs’ attorney’s question, Dr. Geller responded that the statement was “an artifact of an earlier discussion document.” WSJ 2/27/2009.

So what is the failure? For every drug that is used by the public, there will be at least one person who blames that drug for some harm—real or imagined and who will sue. In the instant case, two things that did not need to exist, ultimately sell the company down the river. Why didn’t company make clear drafts should be disposed when the final is created and VM, as a temporal message environment would not be retained.