What is Records Management University?

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What is Records Management University?

What is Records Management University?

Welcome to Records Management University, the world’s best and only entirely free course dedicated to serving Records Management professionals.  RMU gives a global view of the benefits and challenges of being a Records Manager and covers many of the less-discussed areas and ideas in RM theory. 

Picked by AIIM International as one of the Top 5 Best Records Management Resources, and with over 7,000 RM and IG professionals already signed up, RMU is an ever-expanding and well-regarded resource.  Classes start January 28th.

Making RM Education Fun

Dean Mitch started his career with a desire to teach others.  In college, Mitch received his undergraduate degree in Science Education, and went on to receive his Graduate Degree in Educational Administration. 

His theory of education is strongly based on two big ideas:  education needs to be fun, and students need theoretical frameworks with which to apply ideas.

His personal approach to education has made RMU a truly unique experience. It’s one of the first things people notice about RMU — the classes are just different!  There’s laughter, interesting ideas, and fun conversation.

Free   |   Live or On-Demand   |  5 CRM Credits

Over 7,000 RM, IT & IG professionals have already joined us!

A Different Kind of Class

RMU began 6 years ago, and the format hasn’t changed.  Each semester includes 5 or 6 classes that cover all aspects of Records Management, and each semester has a big theme to connect the ideas together. 

The first semester’s theme was Jeeps. (Yes, Jeeps! We told you it is an unusual series.)  Jeeps are unique among vehicles because they are truly modular.  You can modify them to fit your unique needs and personality, mirroring a common theme in Mitch’s RM theory: that there’s no such thing as a one-sized-fits-all approach to RM.

Since then he’s used themes from Famous Explorers to the World’s Most Famous Documents to lay the framework for his discussions around RM theory, technique, and technology.

Viewers find that Mitch’s unusual style of teaching makes the viewer genuinely want to keep watching.  To quote the Dean himself, “Finally something in Records Management that isn’t dry!”  For Mitch, it’s all about building relationships between the subjects that they are teaching and topics that keep the students interested.


This Semester of RMU

This Spring 2020 semester is no exception. Encouraged to make a global connection, Dean Mitch is tying the RM theory to a bit of history, looking at people through history who have decided to meet the challenge and rise above misfortune. 

The topics and conversations are going to be more “gigantic” than ever, with a focus on Big Data.  RMU will spend these next 5 classes showing the viewer how to find solutions that allow any Records Manager to keep up with the growing amount of content out there.  You can tune in on January 28th at 2:00 PM.

Classes start soon, register today!

Every RMU session is pre-approved for 1 CRM Credit from the Institute of Certified Records Managers and can claim up to 5 CRM credits per semester.  CUEs can also be applied to ARMA IGPs and AIIM CIPs.

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Shannon Heim

Shannon Heim

Helping others is what Shannon loves most, making her a great fit for outreach at Records Management University. She is in charge of credits and certificates as well as the RMU email account. When Shannon isn’t talking with students, she edits the on-demand classes to make them as high quality as possible.

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.

Free   |   Live or On-Demand   |  5 CRM Credits

Over 7,000 RM, IT & IG professionals have already joined us!
 

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

10 Hard-won Records Management Insights

10 Hard-won Records Management Insights

Here are ten RMA insights, that you don’t want to learn the hard way.

1. Auto-Categorization is not a magic antidote. If you aren’t careful about tagging and organizing your data, you’re making a lot of manual work down the road.

2. Organization is a magic antidote. Get organized upfront. It’s easier to provide structure to data from the beginning, than it will be to structure your data after the fact.

3. Keep It Simply Systematized. Use as few categories as your process allows. The fewer buckets you’re categorizing into, the easier it will be to maintain those categories (but make sure to see 4 below).

4. Metadata is your friend. Make sure your metadata is complete, and will allow you to separate a single category into multiple ones later, if need be. You don’t want to have to separate a category manually, believe me.

5. Be like a Ninja. The more transparent the Records Management process is to your end users, the more likely it is to succeed. Wherever possible, be like an RMA ninja.

Free   |   Live or On-Demand   |  5 CRM Credits

Over 7,000 RM, IT & IG professionals have already joined us!

 

6. But also like a Shark. The rules and regulations are always evolving. If you’re not moving your RMA process forward, you’re falling behind, or worse.

7. ‘Business Continuity’ is not just Jargon. It’s not, we swear. If your RMA system doesn’t aid business continuity, it’s not properly supporting your organization. Know it, live it, love it.

8. You’re leaking records. Records in the hands of partners, or on employee cellphones and laptops, are often just as responsive as the ones you keep on site. Know where your organization leaks records.

9. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Implementation is key. Get it right the first time to save yourself a lifetime of headache. If you already got it wrong, please accept my condolences.

10. Make friends, a bunch of them. Get buy-in from other departments before you need them for your next project. You’ll thank us later.

Want more of our hard-won insight? Give us a call, or check out our Records Management University event!

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Mitch Farbstein

Mitch Farbstein

Mitch is our resident thought-leader on Information Lifecycle Management, he runs the perennially popular Records Management University series, and shares his expertise at conferences like ARMA, AIIM, and more. In his spare time, Mitch runs the Feith Systems Government Sales division, guiding and building our relationships with the US Government.

Troubleshooting in 20 Questions

Troubleshooting in 20 Questions

No matter how many possibilities you plan for, you can’t always prevent problems from coming up.

For a technical support representative faced with the responsibility of getting things working again, there’s one technique we use every time, with every problem situation.

If you’ve ever played the game 20 Questions, you know that there’s a technique to finding the correct answer to a completely unknown problem — If you try to guess at the very beginning you won’t get the answer. You have to cut the possibilities down, by asking broad questions:

“Is it alive?”
“Is it man-made?”
“Is it larger than a toaster?”

There are millions of possibilities, but by asking those questions that cut the field in half, we can get to the correct answer pretty quickly. The trick is to make sure that you start at the very highest level. You have to ask questions that divide your remaining possibilities in half each time. In this way, just like in 20 Questions, you should have a fairly solid idea of what’s wrong in about 20 questions – every time, no matter how complicated the problem is.

To ensure you’re cutting things in half, try to keep the questions binary in nature, for instance:

“Did it work before?”
“Is it happening to just one user, or more than one user?”
“Is it happening on just one machine, or more than one machine?”
“Can you reproduce the problem at will, or is it intermittent?”

Soon you will find a once unwieldy problem is cornered into one of 2 or 3 possibilities, each of which can just be directly checked to determine if they are, in fact, the root cause. Of course, once the root-cause is identified – then you can begin the joyous process of fixing it!

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Mitch Farbstein

Mitch Farbstein

Mitch is our resident thought-leader on Information Lifecycle Management, he runs the perennially popular Records Management University series, and shares his expertise at conferences like ARMA, AIIM, and more. In his spare time, Mitch runs the Feith Systems Government Sales division, guiding and building our relationships with the US Government.

Keep Your Information Digital

Keep Your Information Digital

Here at Feith we live by three words: CAPTURE, MANAGE, DELIVER.

These are the basic components of the document management equation: getting information into your system, managing that information, and getting it into the hands of stakeholders.

You probably already knew that, but it may surprise you to learn that when we talk to customers, the biggest area for improvement is in Capture.

That’s right—getting information into your database is what’s really eating up your team’s time. And whether it is through a web service integration, a high-speed scanning solution, or plain old drag-and-drop, we want to help your team gain back those valuable minutes. So here’s what we’ve learned:

If you want to cut down on the time it takes to do capture your information, then take a step back and connect the dots. Where is all this paper coming from? Paper forms and documents requiring wet signatures are probably the biggest culprits, but there are many times where files are printed and scanned into the database because users do not know any better way.

Try mapping your process end-to-end to see where those files can stay digital, and here’s a hint—you can ask us for help.

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Mitch Farbstein

Mitch Farbstein

Mitch is our resident thought-leader on Information Lifecycle Management, he runs the perennially popular Records Management University series, and shares his expertise at conferences like ARMA, AIIM, and more. In his spare time, Mitch runs the Feith Systems Government Sales division, guiding and building our relationships with the US Government.

Who are the real stakeholders in your new project?

Who are the real stakeholders in your new project?

Here’s a hint: it may not be who you expect.

You’ve probably thought long and hard about all the ways your new software development project will save you time, money, and effort.

But have you stopped to ask your end-users for their opinions? With so much riding on your project, the last thing you want is to learn that it doesn’t work for them right after deployment– when making changes is the most costly and difficult.

Rethinking Stakeholders

If your project involves making changes to your software, then doesn’t it make sense that end-users have the most to gain from its success? This is the very heart of what it means to be a stakeholder, yet every day well-meaning business leaders overlook the assets sitting right in front of them. Employees are a fertile ground for new ideas, since at the end of the day they’re the people who will be using the software.
And worse, by leaving employees out they forgo the higher productivity and lower turn-over associated with engagement.

Leveraging Insight

Take the convenience store, Seven-Eleven. Many of us are familiar with Seven-Eleven Japan’s decision to put purchasing decisions on its lower-level employees. When Seven-Eleven took advice from the people most intimately aware of day-to-day spending patterns, they were rewarded with increased revenue and decreased overhead. Seven-Eleven didn’t have to put the entire business logic in the hands of their clerks—instead, they carefully judged what knowledge would be most useful to them and designed a framework for utilizing it.

Free   |   Live or On-Demand   |  5 CRM Credits

Over 7,000 RM, IT & IG professionals have already joined us!

Incorporating feedback vs. dividing authority

If you’re worried that accepting feedback will give employees the false idea that they are the decision-makers, then it’s time to reassess. The truth is that most employees feel more empowered and appreciated just by simply asking for their opinions.
Granted, if employees sense that you asked for their opinions without ever intending to listen, morale will certainly suffer. In all likelihood, you’ll find that there are at least a few valuable pieces of information to learn from them.

Have an organized plan for evaluating stakeholder requests

We recommend having a plan in place before you undertake a new software development project. Ideally, you will be able to objectively weigh the opinions of your stakeholders to make sure that their requests will truly produce the best results for your company– inside, and out.

Cultivate a culture where employees want to share their thoughts

This, perhaps, is the most daunting piece of advice I can offer, but it can be the most beneficial—knowing how people are spending their time and encouraging them to share ideas about how to optimize their process will reap serious rewards for your software development project, and more importantly—your bottom line.

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Katherine Long

Katherine Long