Most of the press stories I’ve seen while on a belated 30th anniversary trip to Sorrento (we’re on the verge of our 34th anniversary, so I guess it’s about time) have centered around the poor performance of the British and the Italians and the Portuguese in the World Cup. At the end of the personal trip, I attended an AIIM Executive Leadership Council meeting, but more on that in a minute.
[Note: I do not intend this post as some sort of political statement. Really. There are lots of other folks out there who seem to love to tee up just about any story as an “Us vs. Them” story, regardless of the merits of the issue. I even saw one lunatic story during a brief foray into Facebook while on our trip equating the rise of soccer in the US with the decline of America. Sigh. I intend this as a post on information competency.]
So let me get this straight.
Some excerpts from a June 23 New York Times article I am reading on-line “whilst” sitting in Heathrow (I thought I would use the British since I’m still here):
And then another piece from CNN on June 24:
David Ferriero, who heads the National Archives and Records Administration, told a House panel that the IRS "did not follow the law" when it failed to tell his agency about the loss of emails belonging to former IRS official Lois Lerner.
And then another story PoliticoPro on June 26 noting “EPA joins IRS lost emails club."
You just can’t make this stuff up.
To make this doubly ironic, the aforementioned Executive Leadership Council meeting I attended at the end of our anniversary trip was on Information Governance.
In a digital economy, how you manage your digital assets is just as important as how you manage your physical assets or your financial assets or your people assets. And certainly the history of either political party is loaded with stories about the abuse of electronic information.
Regardless of political persuasion, though, saying that multiple simultaneous personal hard drive crashes caused the loss of the emails in question stretches the imagination. Saying that you can’t produce emails because your hard drive crashed is the digital equivalent of “the dog ate my homework.” In this era, organizations should simply know better than to expose themselves to this kind of information management risk -- the net result is an endless cycle of skeptical question that is endlessly distracting and destructive.
So the offer I will make right now is admittedly self-serving. If you are in the press covering this story, or an end user trying to figure out how to do this information governance thing responsibly, here are some links to get information on this pesky issue of Information Governance and the responsible management of email.
Whether through AIIM or someone else, get on with it. Don’t wait until you are on the front page of the New York Times.
- AIIM Information Governance Resource Center (lots of free stuff)
- Electronic Records Management Resource Center (more free stuff)
- ARMA (Association of Records Managers and Administrators)
- Information Governance Initiative
A few more resources that might be of interest...
- A 10 Point #Governance Action Plan to Manage Information #Risk
- Information Governance -- Necessary Evil or Bridge to the Future
- New Survey: Information Governance Needs to be more than organizational castor oil