LACK OF TRUST RESULTED IN INFORMATION SPRAWL
Users had difficulty finding information in this client’s records management system. Which records were and were not available in the system was unknown. Most users did not trust the system, and relied on copies they kept in paper files, shared drives, or hard drives. As a result, user adoption was poor, and compliance with records and information management (RIM) policies was minimal. Key reasons for the system’s poor reputation included:
- Finding records relied heavily on a centralized process and the knowledge of a single individual, who was nearing retirement
- Document indexing did not reflect the way users think
- Retention rules were out-of-date, ambiguous, and difficult to apply
To address these needs, our client determined the way forward necessitated a shift from a centralized to decentralized model that incorporated the needs and concerns of stakeholders.
USER INPUT AND PARTICIPATION WAS KEY FOR SYSTEM ADOPTION
Our client chose a new content management system that better supported the electronic life-cycle management of records, as well as collaboration and sharing of information.
Initially, our client wanted to defer a retention schedule update to contain costs. When they realized the current schedule, if applied, would translate into an ambiguous and confusing information architecture resulting in increased costs for rework down the road, they changed their mind. Updating the retention schedule now was seen as essential to success. To facilitate user adoption of the new system included:
- Re-branding the program to be inclusive of both records and non-record content
- Meeting with stakeholders early in the planning process to gather requirements for environment and sizing.
- Engaging subject matter experts in system configuration to reflect their business processes and language
- Simplifying retention rules for user understanding and application in an electronic environment
- Acknowledging that transformation is uncomfortable
- Publishing system quick reference guides and delivering training to the organization
- Preparing the Records and Information Officer (RIO) for self-sufficiency through customized training to provide ongoing support and maintenance of the RIM system
TRUST IN SYSTEM LEADS TO MULTIPLE BENEFITS
Trust in the new system was established through intentional and careful cultivation by…
- Developing a cohesive program that included stakeholder input
- Testing, piloting, and evangelizing the new system’s reliability
- Leadership support
As a result:
- Records can be created, indexed, stored, retrieved, and destroyed reliably and without excessive effort
- The RIM program provides trustworthy access to information and records, with alternates and “safety nets” no longer needed
- The client can meet its obligations for public records requests and state audits with increased confidence
- User adoption is reinforced through continued input and refinement of system configuration.