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8 Steps for Dealing with the Digital Deluge

At Recordkeeping Innovation many of our clients are trying to transition from paper based records to recordkeeping in the digital world.

Many of them are facing huge challenges managing the scale and volume of information they receive and need to deal with.  Issues such as what documents to keep, how long to keep them – some records are required much longer than others – and who should have access to them.

It is the email messages, word documents, PDF documents, presentations, spreadsheets, scanned images etc. that organisation struggle to manage.  This unstructured data forms roughly 90% of an organisation’s information resources according to the Institute of Information Governance (2015).

 

Angry waves at Bluff Point Iluka by Graham Cook https://flic.kr/p/nHwNGf

What are those challenges?

  • Email is out of control, with critical business information hidden in inboxes
  • Network drives are out of control and documents can be easily edited or deleted
  • An absence of routine, regular “housekeeping” processes means information grows, increasing storage costs. This volume also impacts capacity to retrieve useful and relevant information. It is difficult to determine what is of value and the status of documents as records.  There is information overload as transactions and volumes increase.
  • The context of why documents were created and what they relate to is often missing; particularly if they are in a folder on the network drive that is titled with someone’s name.
  • SharePoint is being thrust upon us, but to get it work well in a sustainable way it is complex to configure and may not be worth it.
  • There are increased security risks for organisations in the digital environment if information is not controlled well.
  • Formats also need to be managed to ensure that information is accessible over time. How can we manage and preserve digital archives?

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Datapalooza! A strategic approach to open data

Open data. Data sharing. Research data. Big data. As a colleague said recently at a conference I attended in New Zealand, ‘data is the new black’. It’s everywhere! We seem to be in the midst of a data boom, a new gold (data) rush for the digital age, with citizens, business and government all hungry for data that will help them innovate, reduce costs, or simply improve their day to day lives.

But what exactly so we mean by open data? Is it one thing or many? And who’s doing it and why?

Data and information cloud

Open data is data that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone – subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share-alike. Good, usable open data is available not only for those who want to access and read it, but to software developers who want to build ways of using or displaying it, or put it together with other open datasets to make new products. (more…)

Digital signatures: thinking why? before how

Now and then at Recordkeeping Innovation we encounter questions from clients about the use of signatures, and in particular moving away from hard copy signed documents. Transitioning from paper to digital recordkeeping is a great opportunity for innovation and change in the way we conduct business. Sometimes, though, when it comes to implementing new systems we can tend to look for digital equivalents of past paper practices without thought as to what we might be able to do differently.

The use of digital signatures is a good example of this. Before starting to wonder what form of authentication is needed to replace a signature on a piece of paper, we should be questioning: is that level of authentication needed at all?

pen

Image: Andrys at PixaBay http://pixabay.com/en/fountain-pen-letter-handwriting-447576/

From seals to signatures, certain business transactions have always required an additional element of authentication to engender trust and/or support the lawfulness of the exchange. For example in the case of contracts that need to be witnessed, or personal authorisation of expenditure.

However in other cases, signatures have been added by habit or convention without a specific need for them. So, as well as considering things like formats, metadata and relationships with other records when moving from a paper based process to a digital one, this is the perfect time to consider: Is a signature really needed for this transaction? (more…)