Six years ago this month I published this opinion piece in IQ – The RIM Quarterly Magazine for records management professionals in Australia and Asia (reprinted with permission): Records Management, Information Governance, and the Future of Information Lifecycle Management.
Go ahead and read it. I’ll wait.
At the time I published that article, my dire warnings about promoting a new, wholly undefined “discipline” at the expense of traditional records management went almost entirely unnoticed. Yet by virtually any measure, I was right.
“Information governance” has never been a completely separate professional discipline different in any meaningful way from records management. Nor is it an ‘evolved’ form of traditional records management. It is not a field of rigorous academic study with an established curriculum and a long history of intellectual debate. Nor is it a recognized fiduciary position that holds a unique relationship of trust between the customer and the information being managed.
“Information governance” is, in fact, nothing more than a hollow marketing term created by corporate sales executives who wanted to make traditional records management practices appear to be a technology rather than the ancient and noble discipline that it is.
The promotion of “information governance” as its own discipline is just one battle in the much broader continuing war on records management – a war that has led to incalculable waste, loss and human tragedy for almost two decades.
For the last few years a number of dedicated records management professionals and I have done what we can to defend our profession. And we have been lucky enough to have had a few real successes. (I am particularly proud of our efforts exposing the tragic results of “information governance” on Federal records management practices, as described in this Epoch Times investigative piece.)
But sadly, we are a small group and our work hasn’t been enough. Everywhere you look, information chaos continues to reign. You see it in big organizations and small ones. You see it across public institutions and private companies. And the consequences are desastorous.
It is time to take our profession back from the people so bent on destroying it. If you are a records management professional, please join us in publicly denouncing the “information governance” movement and supporting a return to the traditional information lifecycle practices that records managers have performed for thousands of years.
If you are a records management professional who also considers himself or herself an “information governance professional”, please understand that there has never really been any difference and recommit yourself to our proud profession.
And if you are an “information governance professional” without any formal education or training in records management, stop kidding yourself. You do not have legitimate career. Either begin to study traditional records management with the goal of obtaining a meaningful certification like the CRM, or seriously consider a different profession where you can make a positive contribution to society before it’s too late.