Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Accurate Record Keeping and Accountability

Accurate record keeping is a life or death reality for some. A young Iranian doctor refused to falsify the death certificates of Iranians suspected of being murdered by the regime. He felt obligated to tell his people that their fellow countrymen were being murdered or at least not go along with the government’s plan to cover up the death of so many who dared speak against the regime. The young doctor allegedly was murdered to silence his dissent. Are you kidding me. Records document all sorts of activities and when those activities make a government look bad, they may use all means necessary to silence the dissent.

On a related note, maybe laws like SOX, with all its blemishes, aren’t so bad if it makes business transparent and holds us accountable. Just a thought…

Monday, December 7, 2009

Is it ok to blow away email?

I was reading the Wall Street Journal this morning, and came across a story in which the journalist explores the continued reality that IT storage limitations continue to dictate what happens to business content. Email system mailbox size limitations still mandate that certain email (often at the discretion of employees) be purged to make room for new stuff. After well over a decade of pontificating about such ill-advised practices the question remains. Why does the need to limit cost associated with the email system mean that employees blow away potentially valuable content so they will be allowed to receive new email messages.

But I don’t get why it’s still common practice. What if it’s an email record which the law requires get retained? What if the email is needed for a lawsuit or audit? Maybe CIOs understand exactly what they are doing and don’t care. Maybe it’s a calculated risk to save storage, save on discovery expense and they deem it a rather innocuous type of “destruction”? Maybe they have come to conclude employees will never actually take the time to code email and therefore are taking cost matters into their own hands? Maybe they are saying to records managers “are you kidding me—employees will never do it or get it right and I am tired of waiting for something to change”.

Are we kidding ourselves?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Information - In the right hands,at the right time.

I always say organizational knowledge dwells in records or people. Consider this—the Muslim soldier who “allegedly” slaughtered his fellow soldiers in cold blood is said to have communicated through the internet with radical Muslims around the globe and those records were captured by intelligence agencies. According to the Wall Street Journal, “some of Maj. Hasan’s former colleagues at Walter Reed have said he was a subpar employee who expressed fervent Islamic beliefs that left them questioning his loyalty to the military.” Information management is about having the right information at the right time in the hands of the folks that need it.

Another information failure? Are You Kidding Me!