I’ve been chewing on a series of posts for about a week now and I just can’t quite nail the full thought process behind them.
I have a belief that records achieves real value through a specific sequence:
- Record (past tense).
- Record in real time and drive action.
- Take the real time recordings and make them predictive.
Records should be catalytic.
What I mean by that is that having a record should prompt action of some kind.
The basis of this is that if it’s important, it’s a record.
Data, information – who cares.
Records are important.
So recording information entering an organisation, should prompt action – or else why would we bother recording it?
The shorter the window between receiving and recording – the faster the action that’s possible.
So we need to record first, and record in systems that allow the orchestration of a lot of actions.
This is the essence of the move from Recording (past tense) to recording in real time – it’s the move from people doing things and then recording them, to people recording things so that action is then driven at scale by a system.
Simple example – a biosecurity officer who gets a notification of a bio-hazard will coordinate a group of people to perform actions – then record what happens.
A system that records the notification in real time can drive the actions automatically, and at scale. When we do this, we remove the delay of waiting for a human to do things in serial, and we put them in a system that can do them in parallel.
I think once we reach that, the only logical step is to predict the future.
Because at this point, we know what people do with the information that comes into our organisation.
We know what the volume is.
We know who it goes to.
We should be able to harvest that information, and use it to predict capacity for the future, to analyse trends and stop problems before they happen.
Where I’m stuck, is in working out whether this is something that records SHOULD do. I feel like we’re treading dangerously close to IS/Analytics and Operations territory here.
Should Records be advancing this area?
I’m not sure.
What I’m also not sure though, is who else is going to do it. So it’s an opportunity.
On structured data, there’s already lots of work in progress.
In some ways, that represents a loss for records – because it’s work that could have become part of records and contributed to the value perception of records in the organisation.
On unstructured or semi-structured information, records are still the holders of the information, and very few organisations seem to be doing the work to harvest value back from it. So we could – and add another source of value to our kit bag.
But should we?