This millennia old technology is the biggest records management challenge today


Your employees just want to do their jobs well and go home. 

But they can’t. Because earlier that week someone from HR sent out a company-wide email saying, 

“Congratulations! You’re now a records manager! On top of your existing role! Good luck!” 

This despite the fact that your employees have minimal understanding of what “records management” is, how employees use and access information, or where to properly store unstructured data.

Sounds ridiculous, but it’s happening every day, albeit in a less explicit fashion.

Many of today’s organizations expect their employees to be de facto records managers. Employees are expected to know how to navigate content management systems to save last used documents in the correct location with the correct naming conventions. These records management practices have been downloaded onto all departments and are no longer the sole responsibility of our friends in IT. 

But as Shinydocs CEO Jason Cassidy explained in his recent fireside chat with IT World Canada for Analytics Unleashed, this goes against an age-old technology humans use to make sense of their world (and their work): storytelling. 

“Humans are storytellers naturally. We don’t follow a predictable structure. Obviously, there is a structure to storytelling, but it’s not the same as what we think of when we think of a database or traditional machine-to-machine communication. We communicate over our machines to each other, visually through documents, audio media, images…these things become records and important information that needs to be recalled in the future.”

Jason Cassidy, CEO, Shinydocs

Employees create content with a single purpose in mind

With the number of collaboration and storage tools out there, it’s hard to know where a specific piece of information is going to be, exactly when humans need it, in the future. To deal with this, organizations are asking their employees to manually structure and label their data. But Jason describes this as an “arms race that we’ve lost.” 

“When you send a technician out to record the vibration reading on a pumpthey’re not thinking about how it’s going to be recalled in the futureAll they know is, ‘Here’s the vibration reading and now it’s a record.’ And it’s the core of why enterprise content management fails. People who are out there creating this information don’t want to be deputized as records managers or information governors. They just want to create and consume information to do their job.” 

Jason Cassidy, CEO, Shinydocs

When Shinydocs started building its enterprise content management solution, we didn’t look at traditional storage repositories. We looked at organizations like Google and asked, “What are they doing?” due to their reputation for understanding:

  • what information is
  • where information sits, and
  • how a specific piece of information relates (will be used and understood) by real people.

And we wondered, “Why aren’t people doing what Google does, but behind the firewall?” 

Managing in-place means taking the “Google approach” to information management

It’s no longer an option to just pick up your content and move it into an “acceptable” place. There are so many different places where things are saved, so information is everywhere and there’s an ecosystem built around it. People are not going to stop using their Shared Drive to access their drafts if their applications work with it. 

“You have to go to where their content is. Google goes to where the content is. You don’t build your restaurant’s website on Google. It just finds it, and it knows what a menu is. And it uses artificial intelligence and traditional mechanisms – not humans – to find that information. So that’s what we’ve designed, and we do it across huge amounts of data. A traditional content management system, you might migrate a million documents into it. That might take you a couple years. It’ll take up your whole budget. Whereas what we do is say, ‘No, don’t do that at all. Wherever your information is, first find out where it is, how much of it you have, then start layering on tools to understand what the data is. And that unlocks all the value and the ability to manage it properly and – if you need to – move it to the right spot.”

Jason Cassidy, CEO, Shinydocs

Watch the full fireside chat here or the 3-minute highlights video here

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