To paraphrase Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard: work, much like life, can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forwards.
As we turn the calendar to another year, growth in all things relies on us looking back at lessons learned from the previous year and the trends that may carry us through the near year.
Last month, we hosted a roundtable discussion with Access team members Matt Bennett, Samantha Teschner, and T’Don Marquis as they discussed their observations within the industry, and what forces are affecting the information management profession and directly impacting their work with Access clients.
2022 RIM Retrospective
Understanding a hybrid environment
Sam noted that a lot of her clients are continuing to grapple with the new reality of a hybrid working environment. 2020 was a scramble to figure things out and keep business continuity. 2021 was solidifying processes and policies as the situation shifted out of the emergency state.
As for this past year, those plans became more solidified as they look to “keep up with those retention policies and make sure they’re followed,” she observed. “With a more dispersed workforce, you need systems that enable folks to comply easily and without thinking.”
The focus on privacy continues to grow
Given the implementation and current enforcement of GDPR and CCPA, the last few years have had organizations taking a hard look at how they’re managing personally identifiable information and other protected data. Tracking that information through all forms of storage, digital or otherwise, became a top priority across the globe.
No longer is the concern about minimum retention requirements but maximum requirements became a factor as well. According to T’Don, “More and more organizations are asking ‘where are those records living? What systems are they in? Are these systems capable of destroying those records should they reach their disposition date?’”.
Over-retention continues to be an issue
Sam observed that despite transitioning from a paper-heavy environment to a digital environment, there are so many organizations that still retain the physical copy of the record.
This leads to confusing situations where these organizations are not clear on which is the record and which is able to be destroyed. Should a legal procedure pop up, do they know when and where they need to produce that record? “If it doesn’t serve a business purpose and you can destroy it, why maintain it?” said Matt, continuing on to add, “if it’s just sitting in a facility or offsite storage, it becomes a liability and needlessly increases risk.”
6/14 Beyond Compliance: How Information Governance Drives Business Success (Presented with AIIM)
Join us as we take a look at this critical compliance issue and discuss how you tackle this complex problem and mitigate the risk of substantial penalties.
Trends and Priorities in 2023
“Everything is a priority sometimes,” Sam Teschner observed, “but you have to focus to get things done.”
Here are some of the things that the team talked about regarding topics they expect to be top of mind as we continue throughout this year.
Policies and digitization will take priority
Focus has shifted away from retention alone to a fuller picture of information governance. That means having the proper policies in place that can manage both legacy physical records alongside newly created digital ones. This isn’t just a trend for large enterprises anymore.
The panel agreed that they’re seeing more and more small-to-midmarket companies taking advantage of digitization projects. “Regional organizations, dealerships, and the like are seeing a lot of value of clearing up space on floors and sometimes even offloading that space,” said Matt, adding “that trend is going to continue whether that’s scanning human resources documents into their HCM or a car dealership getting all their old contracts digitized.”
Storage will take a back seat
If 2022 saw physical records take more of a backseat to digitization initiatives, it’s only going to accelerate in 2023. “The future of information governance is already headed toward policy management and how do we apply retention codes to things that are already online,” said Matt “Not necessarily dealing with physical versions of the documents.”
That doesn’t mean there won’t be any physical copies at all in the coming years, but they’re unlikely to be a top priority. Organizations are going to continue to try and automate the process of getting rid of paper-intensive processes, streamline physical-to-digital processes, and otherwise dispose of physical documents past their retention date.
Plan for what you have (not what you wish)
Regulations, citations, and other requirements can be extremely confusing and vague at times. In some cases, they may be in native languages that aren’t familiar to you, which may cause further concern and confusion about how those regulations are applied to records, records retention duration, and more.
There are somewhere between 12-15 types of record-keeping requirements and sometimes it can feel “domestically and globally there [are] so many requirements that you can’t just focus,” said T’Don. This can turn from simply overwhelming into frustration, which can lead to feeling as though there aren’t any options. The solution, T’Don continued, was to tackle what you can, when you can, and with the resources that you have available.
While it may seem like a lot to accomplish in the coming year, it’s important to set clear goals as you try to get things done. It might be that a records and information management initiative isn’t going to be completed in the coming year. It’s important to continue to set milestones and as you continue to tackle the larger project, piece by piece, appreciate that you are making progress.
To watch the full roundtable discussion, check out the presentation of From the Box and Beyond: Yearly Wrap-up and 2023 Predictions.