IRMS
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21 July 2009 - Midlands Group - Meeting

Delegates gathered at Birmingham City Council for the RMS Midlands Summer 09 meeting where Dave Bowen from Audata Ltd was the first of our presenters, the title of his presentation being ''Implementing EDRMS Even When the IT doesn’t work''. Dave began by asking the question ''Is it an IT project? An RM Project'' or a ''Business Project''? with the answer being probably a composite of those elements. The ''Business Project'' elements include security assigning staff and documents to a security level; recording metadata; developing a file plan and the processes involved. The business must have a process to make those decisions and to be able to roll out those decisions e.g. via workshops. Unreliable IT can come in the form of old/obsolete/''unusual'' equipment which in turn impacts on business risk and continuity; ''bugs'' and ''disasters'' which require someone to coordinate especially sifting ut those attributable to the EDRMS system itself. An Uncommitted IT unit is another example of an area where this kind of project could fail. It is imperative that someone on the EDRMS project is aware of issues such as the whereabouts of passwords or how to read a log file. There will be a necessity to seek ''political support'' for the project higher level management support is one of the fundamentals. IT skills and attitudes also need managing. Dave concluded that inevitably, problems are not fixed by time but by practice and experience.

Geoff Smith from Leicester City Council then gave a very entertaining presentation ''The Good, The Bad and The Ugly'' based on an EDRMS project he had undertaken in a previous role. On the Good side, the project delivered the migration of 25 million payment records; £5 million in cost savings and enabled global access from 5000 users. On the bad side many elements were forgotten: records management policies; service management; information custodianship amongst others. The Ugly side was deemed the task that they had taken on grew exponentially with increasing users; 125% annual volume growth; a changing regulatory and organisational environment! After explaining bad practice examples Geoff explained the service focused approach offering policies and standards, training, EDRMS, risk management using value based tools etc particularly skills enhancement. EDRMS service delivery transformed the process into a strategic asset enabled by a service improvement plan.

Bill Duke and Phil Wilson representing the meeting sponsors, Active Navigation, gave an overview of their product and the help it can give when sorting out electronic documents prior to implementing a file plan. They explained that the software is really an information discovery toolkit with the inbuilt ability to analyse unstructured text content. It enables organisations to understand information assets and identify redundant information. It enables the user to identify common themes and help develop the file plan. The business benefits this product then brings s that it accelerates transformation projects, helps reduce IT infrastructure costs and helps with compliance. Metrics from one recent project where the software had been employed were then highlighted and interestingly, it was proposed that if the project in review had been performed manually then it would have taken over 3,000 days at a cost of over £400,000!

Following an excellent lunch, Martin Sanderson of tfpl, then drew on his vast experience to speak on ''Change Management through a 1000 Conversations''. Beginning with the premise, motivation for change comes from external pressures such as accountability, openness etc; Martin discussed change management frameworks such as user profiling, training, communication and marketing plans. The implementation of ERM however, means the individual begins to lose control whilst also having to trust the system to find/share/keep information and this begins to draw upon the technical capability of the user which, as we all know, comes at many levels. It is a well known fact people don’t like change they also don't like records management, rules and regulations, being made to look foolish and especially more work for ''invisible'' benefits which are closely associated with ERM. People do like however, simplicity; to being part of a community which breeds cooperation; not being afraid to make mistakes and seeing personal benefits and rewards. Martin then raised the question of whether a records manager is a ''change manager'' or ''change agent''? Martin used the example from ''AC+erm'' with a list of issues identified from that initiative. With reference to ''1000Conversations'', Martin stated that opportunities such as ''Fileplan workshops'' can be used to build a Fileplan with users rather than present one as a fait accomplait; discussing issues along the way such as naming conventions, life cycle management’ access and security etc. In catering for change, Martin suggested energy came from ownership, people discovering for themselves, building skills and capability together with mutual understanding. As a change agent, the records manager has to be amongst other things, a good listener, an excellent facilitator, user focused and communicative.

In the final session of the day, Mark Goddard from the Gambling Commission presented a discussion topic with delegates forming groups. The topic began with an overview entitled ''EDRMS a case study of an unsuccessful implementation''. There were 3 key points to consider based on:

  • People
  • Communications
  • Technology

The main question raised was ''What do people want and why?'' Group feedback incorporated:

With ''People'', the project requires buy in from senior and middle management to make it happen and leadership at all levels, including project management and policy to enforce what is required.

With regards to a Communication plan, selling the project to management, workshops, sharing information, taking concerns forward, showing the benefits, ownership, openness, knowledge transfer and demonstrations by users are all involved in this process

Technology ideally not based on existing technology; the right systems for what is required or just working with what you have; has to be user friendly and preferably TNA compliant.

Lawrence Rodgers

Information Management Consultants (IMC) Ltd

Active Navigation 'Making Sense from Chaos' Presentation  (PPT, 1.7 MB)

Implementing EDRMS Even When IT Doesn't Work Presentation  (PPT, 82 KB)

EDRMS The Good The Bad and The Ugly Presentation  (PPT, 1.5 MB)

RMS Midland Agenda July 2009  (PDF, 42 KB)

Change Management Through 1000 Conversatons Presentation  (PPT, 787.5 KB)

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