#ARMA2014 Preview: Q&A with Robin Woolen (The Records Guru®)

This week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Robin Woolen aka “The Records Guru®“. Robin is pumped for the ARMA International Conference, which takes place October 26-28, 2014 in sunny San Diego, California. With the conference one day away, let’s see what Robin has to say….

Jim: What are you looking to gain by attending ARMA this year?

Robin: I’m looking forward to several things. Like many people attending the conference, I also serve on the board of my local chapter. As the Director of Communications for the Greater Kansas City Chapter, I’m interested in learning how other chapters are keeping their members informed and interested in supporting the chapter. From a professional standpoint, I’m looking forward to learning the latest news and impact of the ever-changing legal and regulatory environment on Information Governance.

Jim: Yes, the conference sure is a great way to network with other chapter leaders and identify quick wins to implement at our local chapters. Information Governance sure is a hot topic these days. It seems almost every day another organization is involved in some sort of data breach. Certainly, the time has come to take information governance seriously! It’s no longer optional.

Jim: Which sessions are you looking forward to?

Robin: I have a few on my list; the first is RIM and Social Media: What You Need to Know, presented by Genifer Graff & Susan Whitmire of IBM. I have an extensive presence on Social Media and I’m always interested in the latest thinking around how to manage and mitigate risk in this growing environment. The second is Big Data and Information Governance: Friends or Foes?, presented by Barclay Blair. Big Data is an even greater concern than Information Governance in the business today and it’s important to understand how to communicate the value of both.

Jim: Indeed, you certainly have a well-know social media presence being @theRecordsGuru. And who isn’t using social media these days? At the end of the day all this information needs to be governed. Social media is surely no exception to the rule!

Jim: You are leading a session on Tuesday, please tell us about it.

Robin: My Tuesday morning session is entitled “How a Large Company Used the Principles to Establish its Corporate Information Governance Program” – quite a mouthful, so I call it “The Principles Applied” for short. It’s a case study around how the Principles were used to build an enterprise Information Governance program from scratch at a 100+ year old international corporation. At the time ARMA had just released the Principles, but had yet to develop the Information Governance Assessment. The session explains the process used to incorporate the Principles into the corporate culture, the pitfalls encountered and some mitigation strategies. There is a surprise twist at the end, which I won’t divulge, that will leave the audience with a very valuable lesson in vigilance to the Principles and handling Change Management over the long term.

Jim: Well, that sure does sound interesting. I’ve got your session on my calendar.

Jim: Tell us your background and how you became interested in the field of records management?

Robin: I have worked in the field of Information Governance since 1994, even though we didn’t call it that then, with a specialty in strategic consulting focused on enterprise-scale information management systems. My career includes both public and private sectors with a client list from the nation’s top 25 cities and the Fortune 500. I hold a Master of Business Administration in Management of Information Systems from Park University and was part of the inaugural class to become a certified Information Governance Professional from ARMA International. My entire career has been focused on bringing together all of the components that we now call Information Governance to my clients. It’s great to see technology finally catching up to where we always wanted to be!

Jim: Now that’s what I call dedication, over 20 years as an ambassador of this profession. And it sure is a privilege to be part of the inaugural class of certified Information Governance Professionals.

Jim: What would you say is the most pressing IG issue facing organizations today?

Robin: Without a doubt the most pressing issue facing organizations today is cultural. This is twofold; first getting their executive culture to take ownership of the need to get a handle on their Information Governance program. The second is getting their RIM staff to change their culture and embrace the more forward-looking, all encompassing, client-centered focus of an Information Governance professional.

Jim: I agree. Selling information governance to the C-Level sure can be a challenge. But it’s not impossible. In fact, I see it as an opportunity for us as records management professionals to take the lead on information governance initiatives in our organizations. However, it will require us to stray a bit out of our comfort zones.

Jim: Are you planning any R&R while in San Diego?

Robin: Absolutely! I’ve already made tentative plans with several of my Twitter followers to meet IRL at the conference. I’m not sure where in the Gaslamp District that will be, but I am looking forward to it!

Jim: That sounds like a great time. I’m one of your many Twitter followers, so I will be on the lookout for a meet-up.

Are you attending ARMA San Diego? Make plans now visit our booth (#1030) and meet the FileTrail team!

Want a private demo of our ECM platform? Book your appointment with one of our experts today.

Want to be featured in a blog article? Contact me today.

#ARMA2014 Preview: Q&A with Law Firm IG Expert Brad Davis

This week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Brad Davis, director of records and information Governance at Jackson Lewis – an AmLaw 100 national law firm. Brad is pumped for the ARMA International Conference, which takes place October 26-28, 2014 in sunny San Diego, California. With the conference just days away, let’s see what Brad has to say….

Jim: What are you looking to gain by attending ARMA this year?

Brad: As an ARMA member with an international position as a chapter advisor to the mid-atlantic region and a new information governance director at a national law firm, I’ll wear a couple of different hats at ARMA; promotion of our chosen profession, a familiar face for those people coming from my region to learn, learning current trends, noteworthy issues to address, and the latest technology to take back to my firm. But what I take away from most at every ARMA conference that I attend is the networking opportunities that it provides within a corral of seasoned and budding records management and information governance professionals.  There is so much that we can learn from one another and that we can share with those who are following in our footsteps.  It truly is a remarkable time and I always come away with a resurgence of energy that this profession is the one that I am meant to be a part of.

Jim: Brad, I couldn’t agree with you more. The networking opportunities at ARMA are superb and extremely necessary to keep the information governance buzz moving ahead.

Jim: Which sessions are you looking forward to?

Brad: I used ARMA’s new personalized iPlanner to choose my sessions and build my own personal agenda this year.  Before I leave, I’ll be able to print out a PDF that has a full schedule of my events and it even lets me add in personal meetings and social time.  Looking back at what I chose to attend, one session that I am especially interested in is entitled “How to Initiate IG Programs with Effective ROI” presented by Recall on Sunday 1:30pm – 2:30pm in the Expo Hall. Just yesterday, I received the okay from top level to proceed with my proposed Information Governance Task Force.  This was a huge victory and now I am geared up to show the firm how information governance can create positive ROI.  I am also interested in the panel discussion entitled “How to Protect Third-Party and Mobile Data While Maximizing ROI” presented by information governance experts Galina Datskovsky, Ph.D., CRM, Ronald Hedges, J.D. and Michael Michels, Esq. on Sunday 2:45pm – 3:45pm in the Upper Level 30ABC.  I don’t feel like we have caught up with the mobile data issue as much as I think we should and I think the near obsessive use of mobile devices creates many more risks than we care to consider.

Jim:  Wow, you truly are organized! Indeed, those are some very interesting sessions and I agree as an industry we have to start addressing the risks associated with BYOD in much more detail.

Jim: Tell us about your background and how you became interested in the field of records management?

Brad: Like many others I fell into the records management industry, but I am thankful that I did because it has been very very good to me.  I had planned to go to law school after college but before wasting my parents money I wanted to make sure it was what I really wanted to do. So, I applied for a blind ad (back in the newspaper days) for a position at a law firm.  The interview was with the records management department with a lady who would become my mentor, Barbara Embick, CRM.  Barbara saw something in me and taught me everything she knew while giving me opportunities that most 21 year olds don’t get a chance to experience that early in their career.  She gave me the opportunity to become prolific with the user and admin side of an ARMS (automated records management solution) and the opportunity to manage implementation and administer records management training to the entire firm.  With the knowledge she gave me I was able to go out on my own taking a position as director of records and information management at a firm that was in need of a ground up program.  After 15 years in the industry, I am now onto my third firm, consisting of 55 offices and 770+ attorneys, where again I get to build an IG program from the ground up.  With that said, I have never forgotten my roots with Barbara, the person who pushed me to stay in this industry and had the vision to know that this industry was going to boom.

Jim: How we appreciate our mentors! In addition, I share a very similar story working with law firms for the past decade. It’s nice to know that someone else was as crazy as me to forgo law school for a career in records management.

Jim: What would you say is the most pressing issue facing law firms today?

Brad: The umbrella issue that I see facing most law firms today is grasping the overall concept of Information Governance, why it’s needed and how it can truly benefit the firm to have a solid program in place.  It’s more than just records management.  It’s so much broader than management of the paper and shuffling boxes to storage.  The data and information that is collected in droves on a daily basis is their intellectual property, it’s their largest asset.  Without it a firm cannot serve its clients.  Showing the ROI that proper information governance can afford the firm can be a tough, but it’s necessary to the firm’s success.  My motto: Proactive not Reactive.

Jim: I agree, information governance is most definitely a proactive approach. You certainly will have your fair share of conversations with key stakeholders in your firm on that subject in the months ahead. Please do keep me posted.

Jim: Are you planning any R&R while in San Diego?

Brad: Anyone who knows me knows that I firmly believe a good balance of business and pleasure.  While much of my down time will still be spent networking with my ARMA family, I do plan to get out and see the beautiful city of San Diego and take in some of their amazing weather.

Jim: Yes, you sure do know how to have a good time. We’ll have to grab a beer and enjoy the California weather!

Jim: Brad, I’d like to thank you for your time today. I certainly look forward to seeing you at ARMA San Diego (#ARMA2014) in just a few days.

Are you attending ARMA San Diego? Make plans now visit our booth (#1030) and meet the FileTrail team!

Want a private demo of our ECM platform? Book your appointment with one of our experts today.

Want to be featured in a blog article? Contact me today.

#ARMA2014 Preview: Q&A with Law Firm RM Alex Campbell

This week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Alex Campbell, Records Manager at Cohen & Gresser – a New York based law firm. Alex is gearing up for his first ARMA International Conference, which takes place October 26-28, 2014 in sunny San Diego, California. With the conference just days away, let’s see what Alex has to say….

Jim: Since this is your first conference, what are you looking to gain by attending ARMA this year?

Alex: I would like to gain insight and share knowledge around law firm records management and information governance best practices.

Jim: Well, you will definitely have many networking opportunities for that.

Jim: There are so many sessions, which ones are you looking forward to the most?

Alex: Sadly, I will only be at the conference on Tuesday, but I am looking forward to the closing panel session on information governance led by expert April Dmytrenko, CRM, FAI.

Jim: That’s too bad. However, fortunately for you ARMA has saved the best for last. I am looking forward to that session as well.

Jim: You are leading a session on Tuesday, please tell us about it.

Alex: The case study will demonstrate the value of information governance as it relates to the single largest law firm bankruptcy in history. Participants will receive unique perspectives of IG principals illustrated by a crisis situation. This session will be similar to the one presented InfoGovCon back in September.

Jim: Wow, that should be interesting. Your session at InfoGovCon was well received, showcasing real life experiences and valuable lessons learned. There’s no doubt ARMA attendee’s will appreciate it as well.

Jim: What would you say is the most pressing issue facing law firms today?

Alex: In many ways, law firms are no different than other organizations. So, I would say the same issues that business in general face: 1) adapting to technological disruption; 2) attracting and retaining top talent; 3) getting to the just right point on the privacy/security pendulum.

Jim: These are definitely exciting times for us information governance professionals. I agree with the three issues you mentioned, but would like to add one more: dealing with sunset technology. Many firms still pay annual maintenance fees on technology that is no longer supported and outdated. It doesn’t make much sense at all. It’s like paying insurance on a car you no longer own.

Jim: Are you planning any R&R while in San Diego?

Alex: Absolutely. I will be taking my wife and daughter to the San Diego Zoo and then spend the rest of the week in Los Angeles and San Francisco. I can’t wait!

Jim: Good for you, enjoy it. Perhaps, you can visit wine country while passing through Northern California.

Jim: Alex, I’d like to thank you for your time today. I certainly look forward to seeing you at ARMA San Diego (#ARMA2014) in just a few days.

Are you attending ARMA San Diego? Make plans now visit our booth (#1030) and meet the FileTrail team!

Want a private demo of our ECM platform? Book your appointment with one of our experts today.

Want to be featured in a blog article? Contact me today.

Financial Services: Information Governance, Data Breaches and more!

Last week, we hosted a timely webinar with Doculabs entitled: “Information Governance Done Right for Financial Services”. With all the data breach talk surrounding JP Morgan, Home Depot, Target and others, it’s clear now is the time for organizations to take information governance seriously.

Scott Swanson, VP Global Risk and Compliance Practice Leader, at Doculabs and Jim Merrifield, Director of Information Governance, at FileTrail discussed the pressing governance issues financial institutions are facing today and provided practical steps these organizations must take to protect against cyber attacks.

“Information Governance needs to be at the center of enterprise GRC” – Scott Swanson, VP GRC Practice Leader, Doculabs  

Missed the webinar? No problem, we’ve provided a recording below for your viewing convenience. Enjoy!



Derek Jeter – 5 Keys to Leadership Success

On Sunday, September 28, 2014, Derek Jeter put his uniform on for the last time. Jeter finishes his baseball career with a .310 batting average, the sixth-most hits in history (3,465), 14 All-Star selections and 5 World Series rings.

Like most Yankee fans in their mid-30′s, seeing Derek Jeter’s entire career in pinstripes has been nothing short of amazing. I even had the privilege to meet Jeter back in 1996 at the Javits center in NYC.

No matter what profession you work in, we all can benefit from “El Capitan”. I’d like to share 5 keys to becoming a successful leader:

1. C – ONSISTENCY - Jeter’s middle name is consistency. Actually, its “Sanderson”, but it might as well be. No. 2 played in at least 140+ games 16 times over his 20 year career and every defensive game at shortstop, the most demanding spot on the field besides catcher.

Jeter showed up for work everyday. He was consistent and reliable.

To be a leader, you need to be present.

2. H – UMILITY - During his final game in pinstripes, the crowd would not stop chanting “Thank You, Derek.” In his post-game interview, Jeter stated “I want to thank everyone here. I’ve said it time and time again. Everybody, the fans, are saying, ‘Thank You, Derek.’ I’m saying to myself, ‘For what?’ I’m just trying to do my job. Thank you guys.”

Jeter never put his personal accomplishments (although there are many) over his team or the fans. He is as humble as they come.

A leader must be humble to gain the respect of the team and peers.

3. A – WESOME - Jeter is often called “Mr. November” or “Captain Clutch”. Why? Because he is awesome, especially when it counts. In addition to leading in postseason hits and plate appearances, Jeter ranks first in playoff games played, runs scored, total bases, singles, doubles, is tied for first in triples, third in home runs, fourth in RBIs, fifth in walks, and sixth in stolen bases. Yes, Jeter has been blessed with the opportunity to play in many postseason games, but he rises to the challenge every time. So, it didn’t surprise me one bit, that his final at-bat in pinstripes was a walk-off.

When opportunity knocks, a leader will be there to answer and deliver like a champ.

4. M – OTIVATING - “This guy is amazing, and he makes the players around him so much better.” said Analyst Kevin Millar.

A leader has the ability to bring out the best in his teammates and no one did it better than Jeter. Think of players like Paul O’Neill, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams and Tino Martinez. Would they have been as successful without the support of the yankee captain? Probably not.

A leader doesn’t need to be the best, just the ability to make his team better.

5. P – ASSIONATE - “I know there are a lot of players that have much more talent throughout my career. But I can honestly say that I don’t think anyone played harder. Maybe as hard, but not harder.” Jeter said.

I don’t know too many people, if any, who would argue with that statement. No doubt Jeters passion for the game of baseball contributed much to his success. He loved his job.

To be a great leader, you need to love what you do.

As a die hard Yankee fan, this past week has been kind of bittersweet. I’m sad it’s Jeter’s last year, but happy I had the opportunity to see his entire career.

It’s no coincidence these five keys spell C-H-A-M-P!

What quality do you look for in a leader? What’s your favorite Derek Jeter moment? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Career Path for The Next Generation Records Manager

On Wednesday, October 1st at 2:30pmPDT/5:30pmEDT, I have the privilege of facilitating a free webinar lecture entitled “Career Path for the NEXT Generation Records Manager” hosted by San Jose State University as part of its MARA (Master of Archives & Records Administration) program.

The world of records management as we have known it is undergoing a rapid change and you are asking yourself, how do I keep up? There are so many options, which one do I choose to help me along my career path? Should I pursue a certificate or a certification? This presentation will help you understand the difference and provide you with some detailed information on many of the options available to help you move up the career ladder of records management and information governance. Attend this presentation to help you make the choices that are right for you and your career growth.

Register here: http://ischool.sjsu.edu/about/colloquia/Fall%202014

Are you a seasoned Records Manager? Which certificates and/or certifications have helped you advance your career? Please share in the comments field below for inclusion in my lecture.

LTN Article: ILTA Dives Deep Into Information Governance

Last month’s International Legal Technology Association annual meeting in Nashville was jam-packed with amazing sessions, brilliant speakers, endless networking opportunities and of course a little honky-tonk!

Cybersecurity and client privacy demands are two major reasons why law firms are now taking information governance seriously. This reality was illustrated quite well by the robust information governance track at ILTA, with several sessions designed to help firms get their info/gov programs off the ground.

Rod Beckstrom’s Aug. 23 keynote address, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad Cyber World: Imagine What You Can Do,” made it clear that there is absolutely no privacy in today’s information workplace. Beckstrom’s resume includes the former president and CEO of the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers, and the founding director of the U.S. National Cybersecurity Center.

Despite the ballroom full of attendees, Beckstrom’s presentation was effectively interactive. He engaged the audience by getting everyone into three-person groups that tackled a series of hypotheticals and questions.

Here are highlights from four other panels:

Continue Reading The Article on LTN (Law Technology News) Website

FileTrail’s Jim Merrifield to deliver closing keynote at InfoGovCon 2014

FileTrail is a proud platinum sponsor of this year’s Information Governance Conference  (“InfoGovCon”)- September 8-10 2014 in Hartford, Connecticut.

Join us and other industry thought leaders at this inaugural event which will discuss the best and brightest ways organizations are governing their information. Whether you’re in IT, Records Management, Information Management, Legal/eDiscovery, Policy, Security, Privacy, etc. and no matter what industry your in, you will benefit from the wealth of information provided at InfoGovCon.

This year’s closing keynote will be given by Jim Merrifield, Director of Information Governance at FileTrail.

Session Details

Moving Forward: The Application of Information Governance

The term “Information Governance” (IG) is probably the hottest topic in our industry today. It has been written about thousands of times, presented at events hundreds of times and defined at least a half dozen times. By now, we all understand what it is and why it’s important. Now is the time to stop talking about it and start applying it in our organizations. If we don’t, we are just wasting our time.

In this session, attendee’s will

  • Develop skills to sell IG to C-Level
  • Gain insight from organizations who are applying IG
  • Receive practical tips to get started

For more information and to REGISTER, please visit the conference website: InfoGovCon

See you all in Hartford!





Global Law Firm Creates Matter-Centric View With FileTrail

On our webinar this month,  we had the privilege to sit down with one of our global law firm clients, Jason Mervyn, Director of Technology and Business Solutions at Gowlings Lafleur Henderson LLP (aka Gowlings). Jason has been with Gowlings for 19 years and he was an instrumental part of the selection team that chose FileTrail.

Gowlings is one of Canada’s largest law firms with 700 attorneys, multiple offices and an international presence. Gowlings uses an Intranet Portal called REx Online to manage client matters. It was developed internally to provide a matter-centric practice management platform that integrates document management, time and billing and records management.

Like many law firms, Gowlings needed a physical records management solution with open API’s and flexible enough to easily integrate with existing software platforms (document management – OpenText, time and billing – Aderant, etc.) the firm already had in place.

“With FileTrail, we have found a vendor that took the time to understand our vision, a product that was easy to integrate with our industry-leading practice management system (REx Online) and a partner to guide us into RFID tracking technology, “ said Mervyn.

We invite you to listen to the entire webinar recording:

If you have any questions or would like to schedule a private demo, please feel free to reach out to me directly via email: JMerrifield@filetrail.com or by phone (646) 584-7687.

Meet the Team: Pam Sankey

Behind the FileTrail logo and our powerful software solutions are a group of passionate and dedicated professionals who’ve committed themselves to serving the Records & Information Governance Community.

This week we meet Pam Sankey, Senior Sales Executive, Southern Division. Since joining FileTrail only 5 months ago, Pam has made waves in the Energy sector. Originally from Topeka, Kansas, Pam now resides in Houston and is proud to be a Texan. (Fun fact about Topeka: three U.S. Navy ships have been named USS Topeka in honor of the city.)

What do you do and why are you drawn to it? My role at FileTrail is to help organizations find the best Records & Information Management solution to meet their needs and to make sure that existing customers receive the best possible service from FileTrail. I love what I do because I enjoy helping people solve their problems.

Describe yourself using 3 words only. Generous, Positive & Efficient.

What are you proudest of? I am proud and honored to have served as ARMA Houston’s Chapter President. I’ve recently moved on from the role, but it was one of the most rewarding (and challenging) experiences of my life. Receiving the Excellence in Technology Award last year for Launching the ARMA Houston website is one of my proudest accomplishments. And of course, I am very proud of my two wonderful children. My daughter is senior at Texas State University majoring in Resource and Environmental Geography. My son is pursuing a Doctor of Music Performance Degree at the University of Texas. He was a contest finalist three years in a row at the International Trombone Festival. Both are honors students.

What movie, no matter how many times you’ve seen it, do you have to watch when it’s on? Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

What is your favorite season and why? Winter in Houston is my favorite season because the weather is usually beautiful and I love the holiday season!

What do you do for fun? I enjoy camping, boating, bicycling and playing with my new puppy. I also have to admit that I get great pleasure figuring out new ways to enhance the ARMA Houston website. Call me a nerd!

Connect with Pam! Email: PSankey@filetrail.com, or on Twitter and LinkedIn.