One of the things that’s happened to records management in the last ten years, is that we’ve stopped talking about records.
What started as a sensible effort to define something core to what we do, turned into a religious argument and lost its connection to practice – and most people tired of the argument.
So now we don’t talk about records.
So no one knows what we do – or they know what they think we do (like the senior executive sponsor in one organisation who thought it was about managing all their paper).
And so they don’t connect the problems they have back to poor records management.
And they should – because records management is just how you get systematic control of recorded information.
And what is the only sensible way of measuring the effectiveness of records management? The outcomes that the organisation produces that can be linked back to it. They’re everywhere – but they don’t know it.
The customer service people who keep stuffing up – because they don’t have access to recorded information about the things customers are doing with their organisation.
The marketing people who keep running campaigns that annoy high value customers because they treat them like they don’t already have a relationship with the organisation.
The service people who treat high value customers like the organisation doesn’t have an obligation to service them because they didn’t have access to a contract.
The legal counsel who stuffs up because they didn’t have access to all of the correspondence about a contract before they had to write it.
The operations managers who keep making mistakes because they are forecasting on past production and demand data that’s not quite right.
All of these people have problems that records is exactly the right skillset to solve.
Organisations have masses of problems caused by poorly recorded information. Every time a process relies on information that the organisation already has, or should already have – records has a horse in that race, and if it’s going badly, they want our help.
The key is to talk to them about how we solve problems caused by poorly recorded information.