Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Information Management and Internet Marketing - Essentials for the Bad Economy

It’s a pretty straightforward economic reality hitting local and regional businesses right now - how to drastically reduce marketing and advertising expenses, while continuing to attract new customers and grow revenues. In any economy, good or bad, it is absolutely essential that your business, service and products continue to be represented and advertised in public media - in order to attract new, paying customers. This is Information Management 101 - but in the public domain.

Read more about this Business Internet Marketing and Information Management topic, and why Internet Marketing, SEO, and Online Marketing and Advertising are topics worthy of considerable attention and exercise for all businesses right now, large and small.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Records Management without Information Management

A recent Op Ed piece in FCW highlights the fact that Records Management responsibilities in the Federal Government have been abdicated by half of those responsible, namely GSA. While NARA focuses on records management policies, schedules and the science of digital preservation (i.e. the "Risk Management" side of the equation, as FCW asserts), GSA was ostensibly charged with the Information Management side of the equation (the "economy and efficiency" aspects) - i.e. how do agencies, as a practical, tactical matter, create processes and leverage technology to actually enforce records management policies and populate the government's record catalogue with well-formed records and metadata? Regardless of whether the records should be preserved indefinitely (i.e. by NARA) or not?

There certainly exist enough policy guidance, solution guidance and eRecords expertise within the Federal community to attack the records management problem, as well as legions of Enterprise Content Management vendors who include records management as part of their suite of tools. The biggest hurdles, however, typically are "organizational change management" and "business priorities".

From an organizational perspective, it's a very difficult trick to modify processes, leveraging existing tools within existing organizational structures and incentive frameworks to convince employees and contractors to habitually recognize, define and post records vs. non-records. From a business priority perspective, it's kind of like health insurance - records management technology investments are made to protect against anticipated legal risks to the organization, so the amount of prioritized risk associated with inadequate recordkeeping drives the level of investment. But many organizations don't feel they'll be "sick" any time soon, or the degree of risk is simply too low to bother with.

I haven't seen many instances in government where a very clear business case for automated records management capabilities was created that held up in the prioritizing of business and mission objectives - to the extent that it became a clear, proactive priority. Usually the business case amounts to a reactive procurement of just-adequate capabilities in response to policy investigation or enforcement actions. And every good Information Manager understands that without a good Business Case, strong Information Management programs and governance are nearly impossible to create or measure.

So the Op Ed piece is right on, in that there's no real body of responsibility manning the shop from an Information Management perspective for dealing with records - but there's also not much guidance, oversight or actual working examples of change management frameworks or business case models to support, either.