Records Management University

Records Management University

Records Management University

Welcome to Records Management University, the world’s best and only entirely free course dedicated to serving Records Management professionals. 

With many looking to keep their skills sharpened in this brave new world of Records Management, our digital course is the perfect opportunity to keep up with the changes in the work environment.  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.

RMU is led by the Dean of Records Management Michael Edwards, and our latest addition and Director of Student Affairs Raymond Davis. 

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.

 

Making RM Education Fun

RMU was founded by Mitch Farbstein. His theory of education is simple:  education needs to be fun, and students need theoretical frameworks with which to apply ideas. 

That approach to education 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.  We continue this legacy today.

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. Similarly, there’s no such thing as a one-sized-fits-all approach to RM.

Since then we’ve 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 RMU’s unusual style of teaching makes the viewer genuinely want to keep watching.  For RMU, it’s all about building relationships between the subjects that we are teaching and topics that keep the students interested.

 

This Semester of RMU

This Spring 2021 semester is no exception.  Encouraged to adapt to meet the changes in our global work environment, Dean Michael is focused on the technologies that make Records Management possible.

The topics and conversations will cover everything from the changed landscape of Records Management, to your role in it.  RMU will spend these next 5 classes showing the viewer how to champion a socially distanced world of Records Management. You can tune in this spring.

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.

COVID-19: Records Management as a function of Business Continuity

COVID-19: Records Management as a function of Business Continuity

ERM in the time of Coronavirus

Many companies do not give adequate attention to their Business Continuity plans.  This is likely due to the “normalcy bias” — the assumption that a disaster is unlikely because the chance of any one disaster happening is low, and because one hasn’t experienced a disaster recently.

Why is it flawed?  Mere statistics. To illustrate: the probability of flipping a quarter ten times in a row and getting heads every time is extremely low, 0.09%.  However, if you try it daily for three years, it becomes almost certain that it will happen at least once.

Similarly, each possible cause of outage or disaster is individually unlikely.  But over a long period of time, many unlikely things add up to a certainty.  That some form of disaster (whether hurricane, cyber-attack, or epidemic) will occur is a “when, not if” situation. 

When a disaster does happen, 40 to 60 percent of effected businesses will never re-open according to research from FEMA.  Companies would be well advised to prepare for all identified risks. 

At the time of writing this, we may have just such an identified risk: the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (or COVID-19).  The Center for Disease Control and the Department of Homeland Security told businesses last week to begin preparing for disruptions due to an increasingly likely outbreak in the US. 

Records Management as
Business Continuity

FEMA lists a comprehensive records management plan as one of three most important recovery tools to deal with a disaster.

Why? It’s simple. An organization’s memory resides in its records.

Business continuity stretches from simple decisions like backups and DR software, to the steps that it takes to get a business back to a normal state.  First among those is the need to understand what normal consists of.  Our repositories are not just as an asset to protect during a disaster, but a system to help us know what needs to get done.

It is more likely now than ever that company leadership will proactively invest in business continuity projects.  If there was a time for Records Managers to make the case that RM is an essential part of a company’s Business Continuity planning, it is now.

An Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRMS) strategy supports your Business Continuity efforts, getting you back to “business as usual” as quickly as possible. 

If you’re ready to bring Records Management into your Business Continuity planning, here’s some questions to ask yourself:

1. How will our employees access their records if they must work from home?

During a major outage, employees will need to have access to their regular working files to stay productive. Electronic Document and Records Management systems allow your employees to continue working off-site, while protecting your content through fine-tuned ABAC and RBAC permissions.

2. Are manual processes putting us at a higher risk?

During a disaster, employees may be unable to perform their normal duties: manual processes that weren’t explicitly documented are lost without their presence or experience.  A complete records repository means that you can recover these lost processes by examining the files and communications employees produce surrounding them.

Modern ERM systems support the creating of Forms and Workflows on the fly.  During a disaster, being able to structure your processes digitally means faster time to recovery, maintaining continuous operations even with a workforce working out of office.  This supports conducting business and delivering services efficiently, even during disruptions.

3. Is our data digitized, archived and backed-up properly for Disaster Recovery situations?
Records Management systems will capture your documents and data, replicating them to disaster-safe storage.  With Disaster Recovery mechanisms in place for Records Management systems, major outages are unlikely to result in significant data loss.
Modern ERM systems allow for easy integration with your LOB servers and platforms, meaning you can support Disaster Recovery objectives even for systems that are not natively DR-ready.

4. How can we stay compliant during disasters?

Having a complete records system makes tying up the loose ends during and after any outages or disaster recovery situations much easier. This includes proving losses and damages for insurance claims with documentation, as well as monitoring for fraud.

During and after a disaster, organizations will need to prove their compliance with regulation and law, all while showing that they took the necessary steps to reduce loss of life or damage to property.  This is essential from both a legal standpoint, as well as a Public Relations one.

The message is clear: 
Records Management is a critical Business Continuity initiative. To ensure your company has a comprehensive plan, make sure they see the critical role of Records Management. The steps you take today will keep critical processes operational during a crisis, reduce process downtime, and reduce the risk your company faces.

Extra Credit Reading:  The Australian Capital Territory produced a significant guide to Records Management and Business Continuity back in August 2008.  It’s as relevant today.

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Richard Long

Richard Long

"This is an incredible software company with 40 years of pushing the envelope in information technology, and I couldn't be happier to be a part of it. If you have valuable information that is getting lost, is disorganized, separated into too many separate systems, or just isn't bringing value to your organization's mission, you should reach out to Feith." - Richard 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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Kris Pettie

Kris Pettie

Kris is Feith’s Principal Government Business Analyst who provides analysis, sales engineering, proposal development, oversight of compliance with government contracting, and records management policy expertise for Feith's Government Division. Kris brings over 15 years of experience in government management consulting and policy analysis. Kris is a contributor to Feith’s Records Management University and continually seeks out new ways to engage and empower Feith’s government customers.

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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Kris Pettie

Kris Pettie

Kris is Feith’s Principal Government Business Analyst who provides analysis, sales engineering, proposal development, oversight of compliance with government contracting, and records management policy expertise for Feith's Government Division. Kris brings over 15 years of experience in government management consulting and policy analysis. Kris is a contributor to Feith’s Records Management University and continually seeks out new ways to engage and empower Feith’s government customers.

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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Kris Pettie

Kris Pettie

Kris is Feith’s Principal Government Business Analyst who provides analysis, sales engineering, proposal development, oversight of compliance with government contracting, and records management policy expertise for Feith's Government Division. Kris brings over 15 years of experience in government management consulting and policy analysis. Kris is a contributor to Feith’s Records Management University and continually seeks out new ways to engage and empower Feith’s government customers.

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