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IRMS Conference 2017

Conference Blog

Conference 2015: Value Workstream

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Hi everyone I am really looking forward to meeting you at the conference. This will be my first year as an Executive Director, and if that isn’t scary enough I will also be chairing the Monday afternoon session on “Value” – Information as a Corporate Asset.  

Information is indeed an organisations most valuable asset but trying to assign a value to the information held is considerably more challenging than placing a value on something like a building, or a piece of technology, bonds stocks and shares, including many more tangible assets.

The way to begin placing a value on your organisations information is to start by undertaking an Information Audit, and if planned and conducted correctly will certainly be key to what you are trying to achieve.

For starters have a think about the following headings for consideration, which I have tabled below.

  • Where is the asset held and in what format.
  • What business function process is the asset used to support
  • What is the information asset type
  • What is the value of the information to the business
  • Is the information for customers or internal purposes
  • What is the information asset category
  • Who is the information asset owner
  • Who are the stakeholders
  • What is the required retention schedule rule
  • What are the disposal requirements
  • Confidentiality – (How sensitive is the information if inappropriately disclosed)
  • Integrity
  • Availability – (How important is it to have the information as soon as it is needed High/Medium/Low)
  • Capture the date that the Information was created, closed or current status

All too often the Records Management function is seen as an overhead and over the years drastic measures have been taken to reduce these costs to the bare minimum, I doubt very much anyone reading this blog hasn’t evidenced this themselves at some point in their Records Management career.  That said I am actually starting to see a change in the views of senior management now in terms of how they now appear to be placing more value and emphasis on their own organisations information. Simply by mentioning an Information Commissioners Audit and the significant penalties/fines involved should a data breach occur then you might just get the ears of the senior manager these days to take a closer look at how information is managed within your organisation and what can be done to improve the safeguarding of it.

If you come along to one of our “Value” sessions we guarantee you are going to hear more about the benefits of ensuring your information is recognised as your organisation’s lifeblood by our experienced and extremely knowledgeable panelists Reynold Leming, Amelie Anderson, Andrew Christodoulou, Alan Shipman, Alan Bell, Leanne Bridges and Doctor Elizabeth Lomas. Come and listen to what the experts have to say. By attending one of these sessions you will not only enrich your knowledge and be able to make your own mind up afterwards as to whether your own organisation really does value their information. You can also decide for yourself what you can take back to the workplace to influence and educate those that may need just a slight nudge to realise just how valuable and important their information is, no matter what the size of the organisation is from large Corporates to Local Authorities to SME’s and certainly not forgetting the likes of Information Practitioners out there working as contractors in this ever changing world of Information: The New Currency!

No need to book on a session, just look at the programme

Find out which room we are in and inside the room you will see the happy smiling faces of our panelist including myself (Jane Proffitt) Claire Johnson, Shona Dunning and Fiona Kearney zealously waiting to meet and greet you.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Jane Proffitt, Claire Johnson, Shona Dunning and Fiona Kearney

Conference 2015: A Word from the Conference Director

Monday, 11 May 2015

Well this is my 5th conference in the role of conference director. I believe I am more excited about this one the previous ones. Why? Well due to a coincidence this year's theme ties into what I am currently doing for my job... job i hear you cry..yes whilst sometimes it feels like conference takes over my life, it does not pay the mortgage.

Anyway I have been working on implementing an information management strategy, where we have taken the whole idea of information being an asset and moulded the strategy around exploitation of the assets rather than the traditional command and control being the focus.

I am hoping that this conference will be a springboard for the profession taking a new dynamic approach to information, helping us professionals gain the same visibility as those dealing with money after all..... information is the new currency.

Rob Hutton

Conference 2015: Conference Experience

Friday, 08 May 2015

More and more of us have deadlines, actions and projects - and not enough time to do them in. Which makes it all the more important to step back and make sure that we are working smarter NOT harder. I don't mean get up from your desk and go and put the kettle on for a breather, I mean really make sure that you are up to speed with all aspects of your industry, aware of all options available to you and please the boss by getting a good deal too! If you are the boss, well - spend any money saved on the golf course / spa treats... Now I mention putting the kettle on, why not go make a brew and have a little read?

For me, managing the IRMS Conference is a pleasure – I see a lot of business plans evolving from it, deep conversations taking place, laughter and all round good vibe!

Exhibitions and conferences are great platform to meet key people in your industry, whether you already know them or not! They give you the chance to step out of the business for a few days but still talk business, just now it is face to face. IRMS Conference is designed to be a residential conference for exactly that reason – when you are here you are focused on your goals and objectives.  You get the chance to research, market, question, help and collaborate with other people like you.

Not everyone is comfortable in face to face situations, but they are invaluable. If you struggle with small talk, let the us know, we can facilitate introductions, and if you are lucky supply you with a little dutch courage!  Here is a little secret – the first business event I went to I was so shy and nervous of talking to people that my colleague had to dare me to talk to someone – he picked the person out, told me I had 30 seconds, pushed me in his direction and then disappeared! Cur panic face, quickly composed and I started engaging.  Not only did I do business with this person, we also became very good friends.

Whilst I would say we need to be online as businesses in our busy social media world we often forget that it is important to include face-to-face meetings with others from the business community. Especially so if the event is linked to your industry Trade Association. I'm lucky to work on some Association events *shameless plug* and working with IRMS is definitely a great insight to what is happening in the Record Management industry.

Yes we are all busy, Yes time is precious. What if these people you meet are your new ways to growing your business, helping your process, saving you money in just a few days?

No matter how experienced you think you are we can all learn! Take time to be educated and get a variety of points of view. The educational sides of the IRMS Conference can help you identify new ways of conducting your business, increasing productivity – and I say this to vendors as well as delegates J

Industry conferences are the ideal place to talk, talk and talk - this is networking, easy huh?! One of the funniest things about my first IRMS Conference was at the Saturday Exec Brief – where I was asked to source fake moustaches for the Gala Dinner. I knew I loved the family at this point!  We offer social evenings on both Sunday and Monday, different styles, but both very important to making the whole event work.  We work so many hours of our lives, surely we should be making sure that we can also have fun? If you don't give yourself a break every now and then, not only will you run the risk of driving yourself into the ground, but also your personal satisfaction levels will drop and you may lose interest in what you are doing. Events will have a social aspect, use it and enjoy it! Never underestimate the power of a little fun mixed with some influential and like-minded people!

The exhibition is full of friendly rivalry, and I’ve been interested to see how many of you vendors already work so closely together.  Those you may normally see as competitors can become allies and provide you with information on best-practice that perhaps you hadn't thought of and supply resources that may help you. Don't shy away from your peers, use each other! As a wise man once said: Stop - Collaborate - and listen!

When you are at IRMS Conference, take the opportunity to embrace all of it - How do you know what opportunities are available to you if you don't look up from your screen/tablet/mobile* (*delete as appropriate) to find out? Yes there are sales people there, but they are the best people for you to get to know if you want to learn more about the current business climate and changes taking place. They also know what your competition are up to... make them your friends not enemies... And sales people – if you don’t look up, how are you going to engage and generate business relationships? Talk, talk, talk – I said it before and I will say it again and again J

My father once told me “If a jobs worth doing...” You know the rest. So why not join us, grasp as much information as you can, have a little fun along the way and become an expert in your field.  It's a fact, others like to associate with the experts in any industry and we like to think that IRMS Conference is a meeting place of Record Management Experts.

Hope to see you there!

Deborah Puxty-Ward,

Group Event Director– Europe

Revolution Events Ltd.

Conference 2015: Delegate Experience

Thursday, 07 May 2015

It’s very easy as a seasoned IRMS Conference attendee to become blasé but every year the team that put the conference together bring new innovations to the conference.  This year’s festivities has moved from its now familiar surroundings in Brighton to the glam venue of Celtic Manor in South Wales.  More famous perhaps for its Golf, it is actually a fantastic conference venue in its own right and was the venue for a meeting of NATO just 6 months ago.  If it has Barack Obama’s seal of approval, I’m sure it will meet our needs!  Splendid conference facilities awaits us and this will be complemented by the excellent five star rooms and exquisite cuisine.  If you want a swim , a spa treatment or of course a game of golf, it’s all there waiting.  I just wish conference lasted a week!

This year sees a new innovation with the introduction of stream teams.  A small group of the Society’s Officers will be hosting each theme and this will provide continuity for those who are coming along specifically for the sessions in a particular theme.  Nevertheless, its long been part of the IRMS Conference that the breakout sessions are not booked in advance and you are welcome to attend any that you wish.  People always wish they’d booked onto different sessions once they get to the conference so we find that its best to let people attend the sessions that they wish to and this continues to be the case this year so if you choose to be footloose and fancy free with your themes, you’re still very welcome.

“Who knows what tomorrow brings” sang Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes in an Officer and a Gentleman.  Well they may not quite feature Richard Gere in full naval dress uniform but our social events are always something to speculate on.  With previous years including space hoppers, all types of quiz, karaoke and even a flashmob singing cleverly tweaked information management related songs, the Opening Evening on Sunday is always a fun and gentle introduction to the IRMS Conference.  It’s an opportunity to catch up with old friends, to meet new ones and most of all to enjoy yourself.  I have it on good authority that the “Delegate Experience” team have been beavering away this year in order to ensure that this year’s offering is as unique as usual but, as has become usual over recent years, it’s all hush hush so I’ll have to wait to find out what it is.  Monday Evening is a different kettle of fish altogether, still fun but more formal, in our best bib and tucker we will enjoy the splendid gala dinner – I’m sure the food will be the best Wales has to offer and my mouth is watering already.  We’ll have a splendid after dinner speaker, be asked to contribute to this year’s deserving cause and then find out who are this year’s deserving winners of the IRMS awards.  By the end of the evening each one of us will truly be able to sing, another Jennifer Warnes song (albeit this time from Dirty Dancing),”I’ve had the time of my life!”


Matt Stephenson

Conference 2015: Information Currency and its ‘costs’, ‘skills’ and ‘perceptions’

Wednesday, 06 May 2015

“Just over 3 weeks to conference… Just over 3 weeks to conference”. I keep saying that and it still doesn’t quite sink in that it is indeed (at the time of writing this) just over 3 weeks until the IRMS Conference 2015. Me being me I’ve not sorted certain things, for example my train tickets (which reminds me I really do need to do that). But one thing I have done is sit down and workout which sessions I want to attend.

We’ve got a jam packed agenda this year and as you are no doubt aware by now we are running certain learning streams on different subjects. Myself and Emily are leading the stream looking at ‘Costs, Skills and Perceptions’ in the world of Information & Records Management. 

That horrible word “cost”. To many it means pain and payment but to others it means opportunity and a chance to improve or justify a change. As a Treasurer I see both worlds – I look at costs and say “careful now” but I also look at a cost and say “let’s see if we can make a change”. In the world of IRM we are often seen as the cost and not always seen as the cost saver. In the D2 session on Tuesday afternoon Graham Pryor from Lockheed Martin UK will be giving us an insight into the cost and benefits of IRM by looking at a project that has been going on in the Oil & Gas industry. Without giving too much away what makes this project special is that is has been looking at data cleansing and remediation but not just from a management perspective but also from a technology perspective as well. Such an approach can give us some valuable insights into how effective IRM or even programmes to remediate IRM compliance can deliver cost reductions to a business or entity and provide a ‘new sense of assurance for enterprise collections’. I love it when technology and ‘management’ collide as the results can always be quite interesting and often pleasantly surprising.

Another big area of interest is the area of skills. What skills do you need to be an effective Information Manager, or Records Manager, or Data Protection Officer, or Information Governance Officer…? Are those skills all the same? Do we even know what those skills should be or do we do what is practical to get the job done? In Tuesday afternoon’s E2 session Stephen Latham from the Department of Food & Rural Affairs looks at the skills aspect of IRM, and more specifically what the UK government is doing with regards skills for Knowledge and Information Management (KIM). We all have a good idea of what our particular skill set is but are there some synergies across the IG & IRM worlds? Can some of those skills that a DPO has for example, be compared with that if an Information Manager? Stephen’s session will delve into this and what the KIM Profession Group within Central Government has been doing in this area. If you’ve been looking at widening your skillset or even going for Accredited Membership with the IRMS I’d recommend Stephen’s session. Interesting stuff!

Last and by no means least is the wonderful world of perceptions of IRM. We’ve all suffered from them in one way or another ranging from something as small as “all records managers wear cardigans” to “IRM is the responsibility of the boxes man, it has nothing to do with me”. Our very own Emily Overton (speaking as Director of RMGirl LTD) will be going through the forensics of Records Management and looking at the perceptions that may or may not have led to the effective (or indeed ineffective) handling of Information and Records. Emily’s session looks to delve into cases from recent times but also open up some old “cold cases”. While they say you can’t teach an old dog ‘New Tricks’ (like the reference there??) you can challenge the reasons why he does those tricks and see if the wrong perception of IRM plays a part in the motive.

Personally I call myself as an IGM; an Information Governance & Management Professional. I find information management in all its forms interesting while at the same time started my career and indeed to this day, have a passion for the Governance and Rights over information. While one is often seen as more “exciting” than the other I like them both in equal measure. Conference 2015 is shaping up to be a tantalising event for all IRM professionals and the Cost, Skills and Perceptions stream is a big part of that. Come along with myself and Emily for the journey and let’s see what we can explore!

Scott Sammons AMIRMS                                               Emily Overton

IRMS Treasurer                                                               Groups Director


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