Friday, April 16, 2010

History repeating itself or was it not fixed the first time?

No doubt history repeats itself. And to a great extent, if you don’t fix problems completely, they will likely come back to haunt you at a later point in time. Sometimes it's not clear if history is repeating or you are being force fed the problem you failed to solve completely before. In any event, many months ago I was speaking about information management compliance and used an example to make the point that today decisions need to be made thoughtfully and thoroughly about what records to keep to properly document business activities. You can keep A RECORD of an event but it might not be THE right or complete record. In the electronic world this is way more complicated than meets the eye. In essence it’s an evidence building exercise. Anyway, the story I was talking about related to a database kept by federal regulators on mine safety. The problem was that the regulator IT department set up the database to track safety problems and compliance issues by mine name only. However, had they also tracked who owned the mines, they would seen patterns of safety violations with certain companies. Addressing the company level problem would have been way more useful as certain companies were the major offenders. As I read an article entitled “Appeals by Mines Delayed Sanctions” in the Wall Street Journal today, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the recent spate of mine disasters was because certain companies that own mines are generally less vigilant on safety and compliance issues. Seems to me loss of human life argues in favor of good and complete mine safety database tracking. But the database tracking failure was many months ago and nothing was fixed to preempt the recent mine disasters. Today Governor Massey of West Virginia is calling for a cessation of coal production tomorrow to allow time for companies and mines to assess mine safety. Now maybe loss of profits will move somebody.

Are You Kidding Me.