Records Management

The New Silk Road

Imagine what it would be like to go from LA to SF in 35 minutes, London to Paris in 15, or Dubai to Abu Dhabi in 20?

Well the Hyperloop One team is taking us all one step closer to achieving the luxury of traveling faster than a jet plane, that is, over 760 mph on the ground. Hyperloop One took a trip to the Nevada desert last week for the Hyperloop Propulsion Open Air Test, where they built a track to test high-speed electric motors.

The Hyperloop technology was invented out of frustration with California’s plan to build a bullet train between San Francisco and Los Angeles, which would have been the slowest and most expensive bullet train per mile. Travel between two major California cities requires a quick and efficient mode of transportation, making Hyperloop One’s test run last week a major milestone in technology.


FileTrail has changed the face of records management in the same way Hyperloop One has revolutionized transportation FileTrail was started in 2000 out of the frustration of implementing Windows software that had to be installed on every desktop and big-stack software companies that made it difficult for their customers to select the best of breed. 

Because of this, we vowed to put the customer before profits.  That meant that every process had to be easy to use so that we didn’t need a thick manual. Improvement would be continual, using customer feedback. Every client would have an easy migration path so they can stay current with the latest enhancements, and integration would be built with any vendors who delivered the best value to the customer in their area. 


The result is a powerful and modern browser-based solution that works both on-premise and in the Cloud, which has tools to integrate with best of breed systems in DM, Intake, Conflicts, Holds, and more.  Our focus on the customer has led the FileTrail product to a place where Records Management staff provide better services to the firm, management has access to on-demand graphical reporting to support decisions, and IT no longer bears the burden of desktop installation and support.

Because of this start, FileTrail is the new Records Management standard for the top 250 AM Law firms. While Hyperloop One is achieving great improvements in transportation, we are achieving great things for large law firms.

Read about how you can test drive the FileTrail solution at no cost in the FileTrail Sandbox blog below.

Physical Records Digitizing Not Necessary for Good PRM

For many industries, the seemingly growing volumes of paper are overwhelming despite attempts to minimize paper use within an office. The paperless office is still a dream. It may be tempting to convert your organization’s physical documents into electronic documents, seeing as how electronic documents are much easier to search for and locate. However, digitizing an organization’s entire records database is not required nor practical.

Despite its obvious benefits, digitizing physical records are extremely time consuming, expensive, and legally may not be an option as e-signatures aren’t legally binding in many states and nations. For security reasons, duplicating information for the purpose of digitizing also acts as a risk in regards to corporate or legal compliance and regulation policies.

However, understanding that physical records are not electronic documents but can work the same way, is important to realizing how your PRM should work for you the way your electronic content management works. Let’s adopt a few key steps from electronic document management to take advantage of your physical records strategy. 


Taxonomy and metadata is extremely important to electronic document management and the same should be said for PRM. Build a taxonomy system that works with the type of information that your company handles in a way that is easy to understand and work with. Once you’ve set up a corporate taxonomy structure for your physical records, make sure to appropriately tag its data properties. Metadata tags are then applied acting as the key to search and locate functions that work with records management systems.


Search, Tracking & Locate: 

For physical records, instead of digitizing physical documents, work with your provider to attach bar code or RFID search and tracking capabilities to record types and files. You’ll be able to search for, track, and locate records once the items are properly labeled and tagged, within the software.

Instant Access:

Electronic document solutions offer web-based browser UI’s that allow users to log into, access, search for, and locate their files conveniently. With proper organization and the application of labeling and tracking, access to your physical records should be allowed the same convenience. Solutions offering a unified interface that displays both the physical records and electronic documents of an organization, will see an increase in work efficiency and a decrease in time spent hunting for necessary files.

An effective PRM doesn’t need records to be digital. Digitizing is usually out of the budget or simply out of reach in a realistic attempt whether it’s time consuming, legally impossible, or a security factor. However, there are still ways to enhance PRM. Take advantage of your physical records and optimize your records management with these 3 adopted features from electronic documents management, today.


Information Governance vs. Records Management

Records Management has been around since the 80’s and 90’s, the dawn of the tech boom.

Physical records were king and office after office flooded through with records that needed to be organized and controlled. Records Managers were then heralded in to create structure out of records chaos.

Now, 20-30 years into the future and records are taking on a new form. There have been heated debates and predictions in the hopes of going paperless, yet physical records are still here. However, physical records are no longer the top dog and physical record accumulation has decreased.

What we define as a record has disproportionately shifted to include digital records that encompass and are not limited to emails, electronic documents, and digital photos. Records Managers are now in charge of more than ever before as electronic records compile exponentially faster than the physical records of the past.

Records Management Lifecycle Flow Chart

Records Management Lifecycle Flow Chart

Records Management involves the implementation of a process or system for directing and controlling an organization’s information (records). However, records management is not information governance.

Information Governance (IG) is a new tech term that has popularized within the last 10 years. It existed in forms prior to its title but it wasn’t studied and explored in the way that it is now, since information has transformed. You can think of it similar to how Google came to us first, but its parent Alphabet now guides it. Thus, Records Management came to us first, but now Information Governance guides it and many other IG stakeholders, at that.

So what is Information Governance and how is it different from Records Management?

IG is the strategy or framework for controlling information (records) in a way which encourages compliance, mitigates legal risks, and aligns to corporate governance policies. All IG stakeholders are then guided by this framework.

Consider these key stakeholders: Records Management, Information Technology, Information Security, Risk Management, Compliance, Legal, Data Science, Archival Administration, and Business Units.

For the next time it gets confusing when thinking about Records Management and Information Governance, just remember that governance is as the word implies, a governing body in which all information resides within. Governance deals with less of the day to day actions and more with the broader understanding of how to organize and manage information in protected and secure methods. Best practices within Information (records) Management would be to align your stakeholders to an IG framework or strategy that works to solve greater concerns within the organization.  A strong and comprehensive IG strategy for your organization will allow for a more organized and stress free Records Manager. Records Manager rejoice! What you’ve been looking for all along, to help take some of the load off, is here in the form of Information Governance.

#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!

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