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I read Don's posting the other day. There is much food for thought,
although I don't agree with every point made. Like AIIM, the information
management professions have identity crises right now for a variety of
reasons.

I take a somewhat contrary position on Information Governance. The big beef
I have is that no one has really definitively defined the space. I refer to
it in a presentation as the "blind men and the elephant". That said, my
position is that records management is a subset of information governance,
not the other way around. When I look at my scope of responsibility, which
we call "Information Governance", records management is a small corner of
our daily work. Clearly, that varies from organization to organization. I
will hasten to say that understanding information management is a critical
part of what drives our success in the organization -- but it is not
necessarily the hub of the universe.

I think it is important to dissect the two words -- "information" and
"governance". The more critical term is "governance", which, in my case,
does not include an operational responsibility for maintaining records. I
negotiate the offsite storage contract, but I don't send the boxes offsite
or run a single file room. We provide the controls and policies for how
information is protected and managed by our employees and business
partners. That is a different role than what many records managers do every
day. That's not intended to be judgmental.

Having focused responsibilities or broad responsibilities are neither good
nor bad in themselves. The organization your work for and how it is
organized and operates will determine who does what. Your capabilities and
flexibility will often determine what you do. What I have preached for
years, however, is that you shouldn't limit yourself. Almost nine years
ago, I was thrilled to start working for a Fortune 100 company as the
Director of Records Management. The same company today is hanging on to the
Fortune 500, but my job is far more expansive and I am responsible for
things that are related to records management, but perhaps more impactful
to the company. If I had insisted that my role was only "records
management" I wouldn't still be here. Your mileage may vary.

At the core of what I stand for, however, is an understanding that
effective records management is related to e-discovery, data privacy,
information security, SOx controls and audits, information risk
assessments, PCI auditing, and all of the other things that my team works
on. If you build yourself a good foundation of records management, you can
grow into those other areas. If you are a records manager and you can't
speak authoritatively on some or all of those subjects, your value is
diminished.

I have a number of additional thoughts and if I have time this evening,
I'll flesh out a blog post and post a link here.

Patrick Cunningham, FAI

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