Records Management has been around since the ‘80s and ‘90s at the dawn of the tech boom.
At this time, physical records were king and office after office were flooded with records that needed to be organized and controlled. Records Managers were then heralded in to create structure out of records chaos.
Now, 30-40 years later, records have, for the most part, become digital and the drive towards paperless records looks ever more likely. Physical records still remain, but they have significantly decreased, particularly with the advances in digitization technology. These digital records encompass, but are not limited to, emails, electronic documents, databases, and digital media. With this dramatic shift and ease of digital storage, Records Managers are now in charge of more records than ever before.
Records Management involves the implementation of a process or system for directing and controlling an organization’s information (records). However, Records Management is not Information Governance.
Information Governance (IG) is a term that came about in the mid 2000s in response to the rise in digital data and concerns about data privacy and security. It existed in forms prior to its title, but it wasn’t studied and explored in the way that it is now. Where Records Management came to us first, Information Governance now guides it and a number of other business areas and stakeholders too.
So what is Information Governance and how is it different from Records Management?
IG is the strategy or framework for controlling information (records) in a way which encourages compliance, mitigates legal risks, and aligns to corporate governance policies. All IG stakeholders are then guided by this framework.
Consider these key stakeholders: Records Management, Information Technology, Information Security, Risk Management, Compliance, Legal, Data Science, Archival Administration, and Business Units.
For the next time it gets confusing when thinking about Records Management and Information Governance, just remember that governance is as the word implies – a governing body in which all information resides within. Governance deals with less of the day to day actions and more with the broader understanding of how to organize and manage information in protected and secure methods. Best practices within Information (records) Management would be to align your stakeholders to an IG framework or strategy that works to solve greater concerns within the organization. A strong and comprehensive IG strategy for your organization will allow for a more organized and stress free Records Manager. Records Managers rejoice! What you’ve been looking for all along to help take some of the load off is here in the form of Information Governance.