There’s going to come a time when the organization will expand and acquire new businesses, divisions, branches, or facilities. When some new business component comes under the umbrella, you as an information management professional will have to figure out how to best incorporate that new group into the records and information management (RIM) program.

Embarking on a new journey as a records and information professional through acquisitions or stepping into a fresh role in a new organization calls for strategic insights and focused actions. During a recent webinar “Navigating the Waters of Global RIM: Strategies from the Front Lines”, our experts shared invaluable strategies for success. This post breaks down the wisdom into three actionable steps for a seamless transition.

Step 1: Assess and Understand Your Data Landscape

The foundation of effective records management is a thorough understanding of your data landscape. This understanding forms the base for all subsequent actions and strategies in records management. It involves two key actions:

Scope and Inventory Analysis

Begin by pulling all available data related to the acquisition. Understanding the volume, variety, and complexity of the records you’re inheriting is crucial. Assess the nature and scope of the documents, digital files, and other records under your purview.

Data Reconciliation

Compare and contrast your data with that of the vendor. This step ensures that all records are accounted for and highlights any discrepancies or gaps. Reconciliation is critical for maintaining data integrity and ensuring a smooth integration process.

During the webinar, Dommonique Eberhart, Global Records and Information Management Expert, described this step as “you got to understand what’s on the plate before you can figure out how to eat it.”

Dommonique Eberhart, Global RIM Expert, on Data Reconciliation

Step 2: Building Relationships and Networks

This step focuses on building essential connections within the organization. It is critical to collaborate across departments, which can be tricky with the possibility of communication barriers and siloes. The practice of aligning team members from similar departments to “speak the same speak” will help enhance integration efforts. These connections aren’t just about facilitating current projects, but also building a network that supports your RIM program’s long-term success.

Access’ Quinn Brack, Director of Marketing — Acquisitions, dove into this step to explain further and provide examples.

Quinn Brack, Access Director of Marketing – Acquisitions, on Aligning Teams for Successful Acquisition Integration 

Step 3: Deep Dive into Inventory Management

“It’s just like cleaning out your closet. You must immediately know what you can get rid of to make space. The same goes with your records.” – Dommonique Eberhart

The final step involves a thorough analysis of your inventory, pinpointing what can be immediately disposed of to clear the way for more focused management. “It’s just like cleaning out your closet,” Dommonique explained during the webinar, “you must immediately know what you can get rid of to make space. The same goes with your records.”

This step is crucial for achieving compliance as all documents that are expired beyond the retention schedule can be destroyed. It’s also imperative to set a strategic direction that aligns with budgetary constraints and organizational goals.

As part of this step, conduct a Current State Assessment to determine the condition of the records – are they well-organized, or in disarray? Assess the aging of documents, retention policies, and compliance with relevant regulations. Based on this analysis, you can then develop a strategic plan. This should include prioritizing urgent issues, budget considerations, and a roadmap for integration and future management of all records and information.

Conclusion: Seamless Transitions for Information Management Professionals

Entering a new RIM role demands an informed and strategic approach, especially during a merger or acquisition. By thoroughly assessing data, building key relationships, and conducting an inventory analysis, you can position yourself for a smooth transition and lay the groundwork for successful records management.

For a deeper dive into these strategies and more, watch the full recording of the webinar here, where we explore more innovative solutions and best practices.

Watch the webinar now!