Thursday, October 15, 2009

My apologies if I offended.

Some of my ARMA brothers and sisters expressed concern that I was being insensitive by stating the following in a recent blog post—“If you are a Forest Gump RIM professional clinging to this notion that the CEO cares about the hard costs of storing some extra boxes, let me be the bearer of bad news, “life is Not like a box of records”. What the CEO is thinking is well beyond that cost issue, so you better have something better in your arsenal to sell your RIM program. Are you kidding me.”

First, let me apologize if I offended you. The intent of much of what Kahn Consulting does is to help RIM professionals, and businesses and government get RIM done right. The "Are You Kidding Me" blog is meant to be an “in your face” jump start to your own criticality about what you do well, what you need help with and what is truly “Old School”. I don’t assume anything about RIM professionals. I only know in today’s business environment where information management matters like never before, all RIM professionals need to elevate their program and their careers to meet today’s complex information management challenges that their companies are facing. I do whatever I can to try and help. Sometimes in my over-zealous moments I am too quick to be flip. So. I am sorry if I offended you. It was my intention to motivate not browbeat.

Randolph Kahn


pakurilecz said...

personally I think you hit the nail on the head. RIM folks need to be looking at the big picture ie what most affects their organization

Larry Medina, Human Being said...

Peter and Randy-

I don't disagree at all that some in RIM need to take a "fresh look" at what they do and why they do it- I can guarantee you that working with people on the Federal side of the equation has made this MORE than apparent- the old bureaucratic ways of doing things need to change. And they is also no question that RM in a physical asset and electronic asset environment requires a different skill set and the old rules don't apply. This is one of the hardest sells in the Fed scenario, because everyone falls back on the "regardless of media, form or format" mantra.

However, when you think of e-mail alone and a message with content that meets the definition of a record, and the distribution list being 40 (or more) people long, the recipients have to have the knowledge that the copy they receive MAY NOT BE a record and can be discarded as soon as practical, as long as the individual who HAS THE RECORD copy keeps it.

Business need becomes a critical criteria in determining retention periods and one major aspect of this is determining risk related with the need. An assessment needs to be made of the risk associated with retaining records and the appropriateness of the assigned retention period, unless it's based on a regulation, law or statute.

Records should be discarded as soon as practical if there is no requirement or business need to retain them. And this is the part of the original blog post that raised a question for me. Does the CEO care that he's spending $50 to store these 10 boxes for another year? Nope... but if they are properly discarded, they also won't be discoverable. The value of records stored longer than required when used against you can increase exponentially.

IF THE RMs at Arthur Andersen were proactively applying the retention schedule for working papers related to Enron, they wouldn't have been there when the legal action was filed that resulted in the counsel issuing a memo that "reminded all practice offices of the existing retention schedule"... and resulted in the spoliation of all of those records that resulted in any "...amount of money that could be saved by applying retention rules to the offsite boxes…blah, blah, blah...." They were 5 year records, and in many cases they had been held for more than 10 years because space was cheap.

I bet the CEO of Arthur Andersen would have cared... not on how much money he could have saved for storage, but on the impact of not saving it.