ARMA2014

Leigh Isaacs: 5 Key Takeaways from ARMA Live 2014

This is a guest post from Leigh Isaacs, Director of Records & Information Governance at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

Leigh currently serves as the Information Governance Peer Group Vice President at ILTA (the International Legal Technology Association) and as a member of the Information Governance Initiative (IGI) Advisory Board. She is also a Steering Committee member for the Law Firm Information Governance Symposium and is a Trustee for the ARMA International Education Foundation.  She is a published author and speaker on issues relating to information governance. She has over 25 years of combined legal and information management experience.  Leigh’s expertise includes deployment of enterprise programs, development of information management programs, on and off-site storage considerations including outsourcing,  process improvements, evaluation and implementation of technology solutions and the disposition of information for dissolved entities.

Leigh shares her 5 Key Takeaways from the ARMA International Conference in San Diego, CA last month:

1)    At ARMA, there was much discussion and interest in the various certifications our industry offers. More specifically, the distinctions between all of them, the value of each, etc.  Not just records management or information governance certifications like CRM (Certified Records Manager) and IGP (Certified Information Governance Professional), but certifications like PMP (Project Management Professional) and CIPP (Certified Information Privacy Professional) were also hot topics.

This tells me two things:

  • People are recognizing more than ever the importance of being seen as accredited in the industry.
  • There is a greater understanding that we aren't just talking records management anymore and that Information Governance encompasses all things.

2) It was great to see some new vendors in the mix at ARMA, and to see those that have been in the market a while get more traction and higher profile.  Our vendor community is listening to what the practitioners need especially in the areas of information governance.

3) Not only does the vendor community appear to be listening to what the practitioners need, but they seem to be recognizing the value of having their own subject matter experts – whether it is on staff or by creating strategic partnerships with consulting organizations.

I had an opportunity to spend some time at both the FileTrail and Alfresco booths.  It was refreshing to have a smart dialogue -not just about the technology but about the business needs driving innovation and the changes in the technology.

4) The industry roundtables held on Sunday got a tremendous amount of participation.  I co-facilitated the legal roundtable and my note-taking could barely keep up with all of the ideas and conversation floating around the room.

5) While there is still a heavy focus on records management, it is obvious that information governance's time has arrived.  Sessions and conversations were multi-faceted, covering a variety of information governance topics including by not limited to compliance, cloud, security, privacy, collaboration, change management and strategic leadership.

Did you attend ARMA Live 2014 last month? What were your key takeaways? Please share in the comments section provided below.

5 Action Items From ARMA Live 2014

Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego It's been about a week since ARMA International's 59th Annual Conference & Expo in San Diego. Being a northeasterner, I'm already missing that gorgeous So-Cal weather. But as the old saying goes, life goes on!

At ARMA, I spent most of my time at the FileTrail booth #1030 educating attendees about our upcoming document management platform, which allows organizations to manage both physical and electronic content throughout it's life-cycle in one single solution. It's pretty awesome, definitely an exciting time to be at FileTrail!

While interacting with attendees, it's still blatantly obvious that organizations, spanning every industry and continent, are still struggling with managing information. Year after year, it's the same old story. By now, we're back to the daily grind, catching up on emails and tasks that we put on the back burner while attending the conference. But before we get too entrenched into our daily activities, let's make an action item list, so our conference trip wasn't a waste.

1. Convince C-Level Information Governance Matters. This needs to be No. 1 on your list. Why? Simply put, if the individual cutting the checks doesn't see the value, you will be just spinning your wheels.

How to do it? Find a case study of an organization in your industry that has benefited from developing an information governance program. Real life examples from industry peers can go along way and do much of the talking for you.

2. Decommission Old Software. This is by no means an easy task especially if you been involved with a merger/acquisition or two. But there's no reason to pay maintenance and storage fee's on software you no longer use. It doesn't make much sense. It's like paying insurance on a car you no longer own.

How to do it? Take an inventory of all software applications in the organization. Then, talk with your IT department and see which applications you are actually using and for what purpose. You most definitely will be surprised. What may surprise you even more is the cost associated with "dead" applications.

3. Eliminate ROT (Redundant, Obsolete and Trivial) Data. Organizations have hundreds of millions of files which have no value. This makes it next to impossible to find the information you need when you need it, which contributes to increased e-discovery cost and many innumerable risks.

How to do it? The most successful way to deal with ROT data is to identify and categorize the information when it's first created, then apply a policy which will delete this data before it impacts the organization. This is easier said than done. The market for content analytic tools is maturing, so that certainly is an option if you have the coin. However, a simpler approach is to stop buying more servers, email archives and shared drives. Even simpler, start deleting those large .wav and .avi files which no longer have value.

4. Execute Retention Policy. By now most organizations have a retention policy which outlines how long information is retained, but few actually follow the policy. Why is this the case? The process is still very manual and no one wants to pull the trigger. This is very dangerous ground. You may as well have no policy at all.

How to do it? Stop relying on manual processes to dispose of information. Purchase an automated retention management tool to manage the process. If purchasing software is not in your budget at the moment, then create some metrics (i.e cost of retaining vs. disposing of data). In my experience, decision makers love graphs and word pictures.

5. Create an Information Governance Steering Committee. This is a cross functional team from different departments (i.e.Legal, Records, Compliance, IT, Information Security, Business) working together to solve the information explosion.

How to do it? Don't create a new committee. If you try, your information governance program may never get off the ground. Instead, choose an existing one already successful leading projects.

What's on your ARMA Live 2014 Action Item List? Please share your thoughts in the comments field below.

#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.

Are you attending ARMA San Diego? Make plans now visit our booth (#1030) and meet the FileTrail team!

Want a private demo of our ECM platform? Book your appointment with one of our experts today.

Want to be featured in a blog article? Contact me today.

#ARMA2014 Preview: Q&A with Law Firm IG Expert Brad Davis

This week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Brad Davis, director of records and information Governance at Jackson Lewis – an AmLaw 100 national law firm. Brad is pumped for the ARMA International Conference, which takes place October 26-28, 2014 in sunny San Diego, California. With the conference just days away, let’s see what Brad has to say….

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

Brad: As an ARMA member with an international position as a chapter advisor to the mid-atlantic region and a new information governance director at a national law firm, I’ll wear a couple of different hats at ARMA; promotion of our chosen profession, a familiar face for those people coming from my region to learn, learning current trends, noteworthy issues to address, and the latest technology to take back to my firm. But what I take away from most at every ARMA conference that I attend is the networking opportunities that it provides within a corral of seasoned and budding records management and information governance professionals.  There is so much that we can learn from one another and that we can share with those who are following in our footsteps.  It truly is a remarkable time and I always come away with a resurgence of energy that this profession is the one that I am meant to be a part of.

Jim: Brad, I couldn't agree with you more. The networking opportunities at ARMA are superb and extremely necessary to keep the information governance buzz moving ahead.

Jim: Which sessions are you looking forward to?

Brad: I used ARMA’s new personalized iPlanner to choose my sessions and build my own personal agenda this year.  Before I leave, I’ll be able to print out a PDF that has a full schedule of my events and it even lets me add in personal meetings and social time.  Looking back at what I chose to attend, one session that I am especially interested in is entitled “How to Initiate IG Programs with Effective ROI” presented by Recall on Sunday 1:30pm - 2:30pm in the Expo Hall. Just yesterday, I received the okay from top level to proceed with my proposed Information Governance Task Force.  This was a huge victory and now I am geared up to show the firm how information governance can create positive ROI.  I am also interested in the panel discussion entitled “How to Protect Third-Party and Mobile Data While Maximizing ROI" presented by information governance experts Galina Datskovsky, Ph.D., CRM, Ronald Hedges, J.D. and Michael Michels, Esq. on Sunday 2:45pm - 3:45pm in the Upper Level 30ABC.  I don’t feel like we have caught up with the mobile data issue as much as I think we should and I think the near obsessive use of mobile devices creates many more risks than we care to consider.

Jim:  Wow, you truly are organized! Indeed, those are some very interesting sessions and I agree as an industry we have to start addressing the risks associated with BYOD in much more detail.

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

Brad: Like many others I fell into the records management industry, but I am thankful that I did because it has been very very good to me.  I had planned to go to law school after college but before wasting my parents money I wanted to make sure it was what I really wanted to do. So, I applied for a blind ad (back in the newspaper days) for a position at a law firm.  The interview was with the records management department with a lady who would become my mentor, Barbara Embick, CRM.  Barbara saw something in me and taught me everything she knew while giving me opportunities that most 21 year olds don’t get a chance to experience that early in their career.  She gave me the opportunity to become prolific with the user and admin side of an ARMS (automated records management solution) and the opportunity to manage implementation and administer records management training to the entire firm.  With the knowledge she gave me I was able to go out on my own taking a position as director of records and information management at a firm that was in need of a ground up program.  After 15 years in the industry, I am now onto my third firm, consisting of 55 offices and 770+ attorneys, where again I get to build an IG program from the ground up.  With that said, I have never forgotten my roots with Barbara, the person who pushed me to stay in this industry and had the vision to know that this industry was going to boom.

Jim: How we appreciate our mentors! In addition, I share a very similar story working with law firms for the past decade. It's nice to know that someone else was as crazy as me to forgo law school for a career in records management.

Jim: What would you say is the most pressing issue facing law firms today?

Brad: The umbrella issue that I see facing most law firms today is grasping the overall concept of Information Governance, why it's needed and how it can truly benefit the firm to have a solid program in place.  It’s more than just records management.  It’s so much broader than management of the paper and shuffling boxes to storage.  The data and information that is collected in droves on a daily basis is their intellectual property, it's their largest asset.  Without it a firm cannot serve its clients.  Showing the ROI that proper information governance can afford the firm can be a tough, but it's necessary to the firm’s success.  My motto: Proactive not Reactive.

Jim: I agree, information governance is most definitely a proactive approach. You certainly will have your fair share of conversations with key stakeholders in your firm on that subject in the months ahead. Please do keep me posted.

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

Brad: Anyone who knows me knows that I firmly believe a good balance of business and pleasure.  While much of my down time will still be spent networking with my ARMA family, I do plan to get out and see the beautiful city of San Diego and take in some of their amazing weather.

Jim: Yes, you sure do know how to have a good time. We'll have to grab a beer and enjoy the California weather!

Jim: Brad, I’d like to thank you for your time today. I certainly look forward to seeing you at ARMA San Diego (#ARMA2014) in just a few days.

Are you attending ARMA San Diego? Make plans now visit our booth (#1030) and meet the FileTrail team!

Want a private demo of our ECM platform? Book your appointment with one of our experts today.

Want to be featured in a blog article? Contact me today.

#ARMA2014 Preview: Q&A with Law Firm RM Alex Campbell

This week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Alex Campbell, Records Manager at Cohen & Gresser - a New York based law firm. Alex is gearing up for his first ARMA International Conference, which takes place October 26-28, 2014 in sunny San Diego, California. With the conference just days away, let's see what Alex has to say....

Jim: Since this is your first conference, what are you looking to gain by attending ARMA this year?

Alex: I would like to gain insight and share knowledge around law firm records management and information governance best practices.

Jim: Well, you will definitely have many networking opportunities for that.

Jim: There are so many sessions, which ones are you looking forward to the most?

Alex: Sadly, I will only be at the conference on Tuesday, but I am looking forward to the closing panel session on information governance led by expert April Dmytrenko, CRM, FAI.

Jim: That's too bad. However, fortunately for you ARMA has saved the best for last. I am looking forward to that session as well.

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

Alex: The case study will demonstrate the value of information governance as it relates to the single largest law firm bankruptcy in history. Participants will receive unique perspectives of IG principals illustrated by a crisis situation. This session will be similar to the one presented InfoGovCon back in September.

Jim: Wow, that should be interesting. Your session at InfoGovCon was well received, showcasing real life experiences and valuable lessons learned. There's no doubt ARMA attendee's will appreciate it as well.

Jim: What would you say is the most pressing issue facing law firms today?

Alex: In many ways, law firms are no different than other organizations. So, I would say the same issues that business in general face: 1) adapting to technological disruption; 2) attracting and retaining top talent; 3) getting to the just right point on the privacy/security pendulum.

Jim: These are definitely exciting times for us information governance professionals. I agree with the three issues you mentioned, but would like to add one more: dealing with sunset technology. Many firms still pay annual maintenance fees on technology that is no longer supported and outdated. It doesn't make much sense at all. It's like paying insurance on a car you no longer own.

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

Alex: Absolutely. I will be taking my wife and daughter to the San Diego Zoo and then spend the rest of the week in Los Angeles and San Francisco. I can't wait!

Jim: Good for you, enjoy it. Perhaps, you can visit wine country while passing through Northern California.

Jim: Alex, I'd like to thank you for your time today. I certainly look forward to seeing you at ARMA San Diego (#ARMA2014) in just a few days.

Are you attending ARMA San Diego? Make plans now visit our booth (#1030) and meet the FileTrail team!

Want a private demo of our ECM platform? Book your appointment with one of our experts today.

Want to be featured in a blog article? Contact me today.