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The interdependency of Records and Information Management (RIM) and Information Technology & Telecommunications (IT & T) or Information Technology & Communications (IT & C) - November 2005

Where is the synergy between these business operations?

The synergy is, or should be complete with total cooperation and collaboration between these parties!

Neither area cannot survive, one without the other.

In times past, in the paper environment Records Management (RM) stood alone with its ledgers and card systems controlling the recording of incoming and outgoing correspondence at a file level with each additional transaction recorded by hand. Each document was folioed (to number consecutively or sequentially the pages or leaves of a file or book with the latest entry in the case of a correspondence file being the top document) for each document (incoming originals and copies of outgoing correspondence) added to the physical paper file by the records persons located in the Records Registry System. This at least occurred in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and many other areas of the world where the British Empire stamped its authority, but I am reliably advised, not in the USA.

Today, the thought of having a register or a file system in a physical manner would in most, if not all organisations be looked upon as being a part of the early to mid and possibly late 1900ís and before and not a part of the new millennium, and so it should be.

Today, most, if not all records and information management systems are managed at the computer level irrespective of how limited, expansive or simple that computer system involvement may be.

The modern e-Records and Information Management personnel would, if not computer literate and proficient be destined to be a part of this history and delegated to the lasting vestiges along with PAPER, the TYRANT.

Today, paper is something we print out, take to meetings, and feel comfort in handling, reading and dispose of unless it is our favourite book, magazine or possibly a comic.

In todayís business world paper is scanned at the point of entry to an organisation (or if it isnít, it should be) and converted to an electronic image. Outgoing correspondence is captured in its native born electronic format (or if it isnít, it should be) and managed electronically by an RM or RIM in an RM, RIM, Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) or an Electronic Records and Document Management System (ERDMS).

Do the RM or RIM managers manage these systems? The answer is a strong, YES! Are these same persons able to support and manage the underlying structure of these systems? This time the answer is a big, NO!

Where is the support for the underlying IT & T or IT & C for the RM or RIM environment? It is usually and almost certainly not part of the RM or RIM managerís area of responsibility but under the management and control of the IT & T or IT & C managerís area of influence and control.

Do we as RM and RIM managers need to form a strategic alliance with the IT & T or IT & C division and its team? YES, we do and without this cooperation and or collaboration the RM or RIM process will fail.

Do the IT & T or IT & C and their personnel and management need the cooperation and collaboration of the RM or RIM team and management? And the answer is, YES!

Why? In this era of increasing corporate governance, both in the private and public sector the technocrats need the assistance of the RM or RIM team to know how to safeguard the organisation from the increasing legislative and legal precedent requirements in the day to day operation and maintenance of the corporate and government business processes. This input along with interaction, with and from legal council and the business process owner plus any other relevant parties, the organisation should be able to find the happy ground where technology supports the business process while at the same time keeping the data required (and also disposing of that information which is no longer required by law or business requirements via a controlled and authorised Retention & Disposal or Disposition process) by legislative, legal precedents, business operational needs. The process must also address the ethical, legal, moral and environmental concerns of the organisation, the law and society at large plus providing evidence of its history and at the same time providing a safe and secure return on investment for stakeholders and or investors.

Cooperation and collaboration are the name of the game while internal conflict in these areas is a recipe for institutional or corporate collapse.

Happy collaboration!

Laurie Varendorff ARMA

The Author

Laurie Varendorff, ARMA, a former RMAA Western Australia Branch president and national director, has been involved in records management for 31 years. He has his own consulting and training business near Perth, Western Australia, and has tutored in recordkeeping and archival storage and preservation at Perthís Edith Cowan University. Phone: +61 (0)8 9291 6925; mobile: 0417 094 147; email @ Laurie Varendorff

This article was republished by the ARMA International, Gaithersburg MD chapter in their Volume 18, Number 4 - February - March 2007 Newsletter - New Images as the introductory article entitled - The Interdependency of RIM and IT By Laurie Varendorff.

For full details on the publication go to The ARMA International, Gaithersburg MD chapter Newsletter Volume 18, Number 4 - February - March 2007 - New Images located @ The Interdependency of RIM and IT By Laurie Varendorff

The author, Laurie Varendorff of the Varendorff Records Management Consultancy - TVC - Helping clients manage their e-World gives permission for the redistribution or republishing of this article by individuals and non profit professional organisations without cost based on the condition that he as well as the URL of the article are recognised at the introduction of the article when redistributed or republished.

SPECIAL NOTE: Use of this article by publishers, commercial, government, or educational organisations requires a financial agreement to be negotiated with Laurie as the copyright holder for this work.