Four steps to consider when looking after your modern information assets
Government organisations are facing information challenges but also opportunities to better harness information as an asset
Objective recently held a webinar ‘Modern Information Management,’ which featured Damian Shepherd, Director of State Records Office WA and Sue Wilson, CIO from the Department Primary Industries Regional Development. Our featured guest spoke of a holistic approach of treating information as an asset irrelevant of the system it was created in.
Damian discussed the information challenges government organisations are facing in our current climate as well as the opportunities that are presented. One of the challenges being faced is the definition of a state record in WA which comprises of any information that is recorded.
“There’s always a multitude of places where we store information – where we create and store it. Sometimes, there’s some uncertainty around where those things go,” Damian explained.
Although there might be a record keeping plan in an organisation, Damian challenged how many people have seen the plan, are aware of where information is stored, and how it is used?
“We don’t always create the information we need to provide context to documents and spreadsheets and things – the metadata. Without that context to information, then it’s often hard to reconstruct it over time, and it requires multiple steps in doing something about that,” Damian said.
We don’t always create the information we need to provide context to documents and spreadsheets and things – the metadata. Without that context to information, then it’s often hard to reconstruct it over time.
Director of State Records Office WA
He prescribed that we need a better way to integrate the day-to-day work that we’re doing with that records management in the background, as well as have some confidence that there are systems in place to help achieve that. However, it should not become an extra task in terms of “well, I’ve created this document, and now I have to kind of put it in another system somewhere.”
“We really need to automate as much as possible. It really needs to begin with understanding the sort of information that you’re creating and managing – your information assets.”
We really need to automate as much as possible. It really needs to begin with understanding the sort of information that you’re creating and managing – your information assets.
Director of State Records Office WA
Damian offered the following steps to make sure that information assets are looked after in the same way that a public accepted dollar is an asset to an organisation:
Protect records of information from unwanted access or unwanted restrictions
Preserve records of information for future use as needed with the context needed to use the information appropriately
Access and use the knowledge contained within the records and information so they can support future business objectives and decisions
Dispose of records of information that are no longer needed - reducing the risk of the information being used inappropriately
To tackle the steps above, Damian explained that it boils down to a couple of key questions:
“Can people see and access information they need to appropriately, and not access other information that they shouldn’t?”
“Can you put some controls around changes to that information? - A true record of things is incredibly important. It’s very essential to the objectives of the State Records Act – a true and accurate over time. You want that in terms of supporting integrity.”
“Can you actually find stuff when you need it – when it really counts – and can you do it efficiently and quickly?”
Each organisation needs to tackle this on its own terms, and there’s a whole mix of different technology that organisations can use. “We just want to try and keep things as simple as possible, particularly for the majority of our workforce that are really creating those information assets in the first place.”
To hear Sue Wilson’s take on things and to learn about Objective’s approach to modern information management, watch the webinar on demand.