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RECMGMT-L  October 2004, Week 1

RECMGMT-L October 2004, Week 1

Subject:

Re: Databases

From:

WALLIS Dwight D <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Records Management Program <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 6 Oct 2004 09:48:10 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (56 lines)

Chris, the conversation on this you forwarded reflects a common dynamic
in this area. IT's focus is often on ROI, and on how any potential
records keeping requirements on a data warehousing system will impact
its functionality. Therefore, its not uncommon to hear that data
warehouses do not contain records. Similarly, Records approaches the
issue in a general fashion - the data warehouse must contain records -
when in fact a specific approach may be more helpful: the data warehouse
contains this specific record performing this specific function.

Data warehouse and ERP systems may contain records, but also may not
perform as trustworthy records keeping systems. A good way to get a
handle on this is to identify up front what the records keeping
requirements are, and where the records keeping is actually occurring.
In many cases, the specific records keeping requirements may be met in a
paper system which shadows the electronic system. Ad hoc hybrids of
paper, COM, data, images, etc... may appear. In other cases, records
keeping requirements may not be adequately addressed by any system.

In approaching this issue with such a degree of specificity, the costs
of paper records keeping, or inadequate records keeping, become part of
the ROI formula. However, if we start from a generalist approach, IT is
always going to see records keeping as a threat to ROI, as it is not
their responsibility. Its up to Records to work with IT and our
customers to identify record keeping requirements and how those
requirements are being met to a degree of specificity that the overall
cost of records keeping across organizational boundaries can be
recognized, not just those costs that IT considers important to their
specific mission. In this way, we can make informed choices about how
records are being maintained: Should we invest in a records keeping
capability for our ERP system? Is there a reasonable alternative?

I personally believe that the continued use of paper is related to the
inability of most electronic systems currently in use to function as
trustworthy records keeping systems. I think the more appropriate
question to ask is not whether databases in general should be scheduled,
but rather how a specific database  needs (or doesn't need) to function
as a records keeping system meeting specific requirements. In Multnomah
County, we have been focusing on how to imbed such an ongoing dialog
into IT, Records Management, Training, and Procurement procedures.
That's where I think we will find success in this - on focusing on
processes that ensure these kinds of questions are asked regularly, that
the appropriate analysis is done, that choices are documented, and that
progress is tracked. Without that degree of specificity and regularity,
a more general discussion will always run in circles.

Dwight Wallis, CRM
Records & Distribution Services Manager
Multnomah County Fleet, Records, Electronic & Distribution Services
1620 SE 190th Avenue
Portland OR 97233
phone: (503)988-3741
fax: (503)988-3754
[log in to unmask]

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