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Mr. Kasparian recently  suggested :

"All electronic records must be categorized maintained and treated just as
hard copy records. Those that are records must be retained, and be able to
be proved to be valid records. The systems that maintain and control
electronic records must meet standards that will contribute to the
validation of the records as accurate."

Is this above statement true?  Is it not a fact that most organizations do
not do this either for all of their hard copy or their electronic
records.  It is true that many organizations do a good bit of this for
their important record keeping systems and the records captured in those
systems. But for the rest do organizational stakeholders with influence and
power care?  Should they care?  Why?

Is senior management concerned about separating record from non record?  My
interactions with management suggest that they are more interested in
identifying important information (not necessarily records) and getting rid
of the huge volumes of information junk that clutters up their lives.  They
find our obsession of record versus non record as curious at best.  Why
should they care about our obscure definition of record with which no one
outside of records management seems to be concerned.

One manager asked me how can we be in trouble with electronic records
management when we are doing pretty much what everyone else is doing (e.g
very little).  What is the likely consequence of inaction on this
front.  If the negative consequences are so dire why aren't records
managers receiving demands for action from their managers?  Perhaps it is
not as bad as we think?

 From a manager's perspective records serve two primary purposes -- to
support decision making and to document transaction.  In selling our
records management programs we need to demonstrate our ability to support
these purposes rather than position ourselves as a
bureaucratic/overhead/requirements organization.  This is the area where I
think ARMA could be of the most value.  I suspect that SII is an attempt to
bring records management into better alignment with our key organizational
stakeholders.  However, it has not been well executed.  In fact at this
late date I am still unsure as to the role of the SII.  As far as I can
tell it will be (1) an advocate, (2) an educator, and (3) a certifier that
organizational records management programs are doing a good job.  The first
two seem to be overlapping functions with ARMA's core mission and the third
is even more problematic.  Will the SII be a sort of union hall for records
management consultants who will go and do the certification work?  Will
stockholders in SII be able to determine how the work is directed? Or will
a few carefully chosen consultants be given this work?  Or perhaps ARMA
(AKA SII) will hire consultants to be on ARMA staff?  Or maybe volunteers
will be asked to do the work?  Each of these options seems to have some
obvious problems.

Before proceeding with SII we need a better defined objective and process
and the opportunity to validate such against ARMA's mission and the
interest of its members.


Dave Gaynon
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