#ARMA2014 Preview: Q&A with Robin Woolen (The Records Guru®)

This week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Robin Woolen aka "The Records Guru®". Robin is pumped for the ARMA International Conference, which takes place October 26-28, 2014 in sunny San Diego, California. With the conference one day away, let’s see what Robin has to say….

Jim: What are you looking to gain by attending ARMA this year?

Robin: I’m looking forward to several things. Like many people attending the conference, I also serve on the board of my local chapter. As the Director of Communications for the Greater Kansas City Chapter, I'm interested in learning how other chapters are keeping their members informed and interested in supporting the chapter. From a professional standpoint, I'm looking forward to learning the latest news and impact of the ever-changing legal and regulatory environment on Information Governance.

Jim: Yes, the conference sure is a great way to network with other chapter leaders and identify quick wins to implement at our local chapters. Information Governance sure is a hot topic these days. It seems almost every day another organization is involved in some sort of data breach. Certainly, the time has come to take information governance seriously! It’s no longer optional.

Jim: Which sessions are you looking forward to?

Robin: I have a few on my list; the first is RIM and Social Media: What You Need to Know, presented by Genifer Graff & Susan Whitmire of IBM. I have an extensive presence on Social Media and I'm always interested in the latest thinking around how to manage and mitigate risk in this growing environment. The second is Big Data and Information Governance: Friends or Foes?, presented by Barclay Blair. Big Data is an even greater concern than Information Governance in the business today and it’s important to understand how to communicate the value of both.

Jim: Indeed, you certainly have a well-know social media presence being @theRecordsGuru. And who isn’t using social media these days? At the end of the day all this information needs to be governed. Social media is surely no exception to the rule!

Jim: You are leading a session on Tuesday, please tell us about it.

Robin: My Tuesday morning session is entitled "How a Large Company Used the Principles to Establish its Corporate Information Governance Program” - quite a mouthful, so I call it “The Principles Applied” for short. It’s a case study around how the Principles were used to build an enterprise Information Governance program from scratch at a 100+ year old international corporation. At the time ARMA had just released the Principles, but had yet to develop the Information Governance Assessment. The session explains the process used to incorporate the Principles into the corporate culture, the pitfalls encountered and some mitigation strategies. There is a surprise twist at the end, which I won’t divulge, that will leave the audience with a very valuable lesson in vigilance to the Principles and handling Change Management over the long term.

Jim: Well, that sure does sound interesting. I’ve got your session on my calendar.

Jim: Tell us your background and how you became interested in the field of records management?

Robin: I have worked in the field of Information Governance since 1994, even though we didn’t call it that then, with a specialty in strategic consulting focused on enterprise-scale information management systems. My career includes both public and private sectors with a client list from the nation’s top 25 cities and the Fortune 500. I hold a Master of Business Administration in Management of Information Systems from Park University and was part of the inaugural class to become a certified Information Governance Professional from ARMA International. My entire career has been focused on bringing together all of the components that we now call Information Governance to my clients. It’s great to see technology finally catching up to where we always wanted to be!

Jim: Now that’s what I call dedication, over 20 years as an ambassador of this profession. And it sure is a privilege to be part of the inaugural class of certified Information Governance Professionals.

Jim: What would you say is the most pressing IG issue facing organizations today?

Robin: Without a doubt the most pressing issue facing organizations today is cultural. This is twofold; first getting their executive culture to take ownership of the need to get a handle on their Information Governance program. The second is getting their RIM staff to change their culture and embrace the more forward-looking, all encompassing, client-centered focus of an Information Governance professional.

Jim: I agree. Selling information governance to the C-Level sure can be a challenge. But it’s not impossible. In fact, I see it as an opportunity for us as records management professionals to take the lead on information governance initiatives in our organizations. However, it will require us to stray a bit out of our comfort zones.

Jim: Are you planning any R&R while in San Diego?

Robin: Absolutely! I’ve already made tentative plans with several of my Twitter followers to meet IRL at the conference. I’m not sure where in the Gaslamp District that will be, but I am looking forward to it!

Jim: That sounds like a great time. I’m one of your many Twitter followers, so I will be on the lookout for a meet-up.

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