8 New Year’s Resolutions for Records Managers

8 New Year’s Resolutions for Records Managers

Simple tips to make the most of your year

Know your aim this year, have a goal, and set meaningful deadlines towards getting to that goal.  Don’t have a goal yet?  Here are eight goals that we think are pretty good – take your pick or just use this list as a starting point to come up with your own.


8.  Hitch ERM to your executive’s top metrics

What are your executives really focused on?  Identify those metrics and then tie your Records Management initiatives to them.

Is your organization looking to reduce cyber risk? Great, that’s easy.  What if their primary goal is growth?  Digital modernization?  Improving workplace efficiency?  Managing costs?  With a little thought, you’ll find that your Records Management department matters to all these initiatives.  Find out what matters to your executives most, and then let them know that what you do matters to that goal.


7.  Build on your IT relationships

CIOs don’t always appreciate how essential Records Management is to the overall IT strategy of an organization. 

Remind them that the archives you build and maintain are the largest long-term knowledge and information stores in the organization.  That gives the archive real value as a data source for analytics and knowledge management, and high risk as a target of cybercrime – stuff that all CIOs care a lot about.


6. Spend time with the “front line.”

While you build Records Management systems, and try to apply them across the enterprise, you will probably feel some kickback.  It’s common to react with “Well, they don’t see the value of Records Management.”

But what if we’re missing something too?  Perhaps our plans don’t mesh well with how end-users do business!

If you want a successful ERM plan, sit with the front line on a regular basis to see how your plans interact with the work they do.  It will broaden your perspective, ensuring that your plans match reality.

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5.  Go back to the “Why”

Why do you do Records Management?  It may sound silly, but not everyone can answer that.  Is it to reduce risk or is it to comply with legislation?  Is it to ensure that it’s possible to find important information easily?  Whatever the reason your organization has for Records Management, keep the reason front and center.  Focusing on “the Why” will provide you with important guidance for moving forward. 


4.  Learn some SQL

Most of the data you interact with on a daily basis is stored in SQL Databases.  SQL (Structured Query Language) is the lingua franca of all data and information specialties. It’s the backbone of software that stores our worlds information and records.  If you know the SQL language, that gives you a superpower.  Now you can interact with information at the foundation.  It’s like seeing the Records Management matrix.


3.  Prioritize Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery (DR) is the enterprise-wide version of saving your work.  Have you ever forgotten to save a document you were writing and lost the entire thing when the program crashed?  How much did that hurt? 

Now imagine that happening to your entire company. Yeah, that’s what it’s like when you haven’t built a disaster proof repository.


2.  Let someone else be the bad guy

An organization that never says “No” to a new project or new idea is an organization hurdling towards disaster.  Your organization needs someone to be the bad guy, shooting down ideas and expensive projects.  But, fortunately, that someone doesn’t have to be you. 

Instead, make sure to give yourself room to explore ideas about the future of your systems and department with an open mind.  It’s enough to come up with new ideas in the first place, without having to do the work of shooting some of them down too!


1.  Focus on your Team

Most problems in Records Management aren’t technical.  They aren’t budgetary.  They aren’t even the number of hours in the day.  Scientists across industry have run the numbers, and most business problems are talent problems. 

Make sure you focus on retaining the talent you’ve built and building up the talent you have.  Nothing else you do will pay as large of dividends as focusing on your team!

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Katherine Long

Katherine Long