The way organisations view records and records management is set to change. Records management has always been about compliance. Businesses and governments have to comply with the law. There are penalties if a business or person does not keep the records that are required. For example, the Pharmaceutical Industry is highly regulated so compliance is a key driver. The external compliance is mirrored by an internal compliance. Internal compliance can be seen in audit, counter-fraud work and management requirements. In government, the same compliance issues emerge for the same reasons. An additional compliance requirement that is well known is the need to respond to Freedom of Information requests.
What is happening is that records management is about to move beyond compliance. The dream of information management and knowledge management is to unleash or extract the value or a tangible financial return. To do this, there has to be a way to value the information and records. The change is about finding a way to “value” their records so that they can be treated like an asset and managed appropriately. How they will do this will be a combination of gamification and commodification based upon an algorithmic system for setting the value for a record.
We can see this emerging in some areas. The next stage is to bring these strands together. To commodify something means to assign a value to it. There are some ways to assign a value. There can be a statutory or replacement value. We could have £100 for permanent record relating a standard process. There can be a value to the organisation £500 for any financial record (or its cost to replace) and £1000 base value for trade secrets (the cost to secure). The amounts are arbitrary to illustrate the point. The value, of replacement or security could be calculated against where the record is in its life cycle.
Another way to value records would be by their use or how they are used in terms of a gamification. We can see this as a developing area. The decision-making market idea makes ideas and proposals a commodity to be traded and supported on the market. The services such as Idea Street or Idea Scale offer this service. In this system, users, and records managers can place a value on the records based on its use or its utility to users.
What could link to the market approach to records would be a look at the intrinsic worth of the document. We could value records by how we see their value. The user is asked to put a value on it based on their knowledge and experience of it aside from how it is being used. The EU has a recent study that was looking at putting a “value” on privacy. http://www.enisa.europa.eu/activities/identity-and-trust/library/deliverables/monetising-privacy
The research project was looking at ways to monetarise privacy based upon the value that people put on their privacy. How users value something in the abstract or how they perceive its use can be another measure.
Algorithmic valuation models
Another approach could be to set the value based on content and context. We already have on offer, from companies like Autonomy, algorithm based tools that allow us to find text and categorise it by its context. What is next is something that uses algorithm-based software that can analyse the text and context and then assign a value to it. The analysis would be done again pre-set or variable criteria. The criteria could be the value set by the organisation as well as a market context set by various scores drawn from external sources. We can see this to some extent in various systems that data mine or scan content from websites to track stories or find information. The algorithms such as this can be seen as using the semantic web and the deep we search systems, but for a different purpose.
If these techniques and tools can be brought together, it would change records management. We may already have the various elements. What remains is for someone to bring them together. If they can be brought together, then they can offer a new way to manage records, which may help organisations make better use and value from their records.
I would be interested in your comments. Do you see this as the next revolution in records management?
- A Book Review of Managing Records in SharePoint 2010 (arnoldit.com)
- Google Apps Debuts Archiving And Records Management System For Businesses, Vault (techcrunch.com)
- Freedom of Information Act is the grain of sand in an oyster of records that creates pearls of transparency (lawrenceserewicz.wordpress.com)
- So you want to implement a Digital Records Management system (girlinthearchive.wordpress.com)
- Records and Information Management month (RIM) (recordskeepers.wordpress.com)
- How A Records Management Company Can Help With Your Document Management (ruralstops.blogspot.com)