Monday, January 31, 2011

You just can't keep it all forever.

The January 17, 2011, NY Times article entitled, “In New Military, Data Overload Can Be Deadly” makes a point I try to make almost every day to some business executive. More information is not necessarily better and at some point the law of diminishing returns applies. If you have so much information, finding the needed nugget or digesting the salient stuff from the crap is near impossible. Information needs to be born, be used and die at some point to make room for more important timely information. In essence information has a life cycle. Problem is many don’t actually believe that most information needs to die at some point. They cling to the misguided notions that storage is cheaper and search tools are more and more powerful. All true, but they both miss the real point. You can’t keep everything because there are all sorts of soft and hard costs that impact the bottom line of business well beyond storage costs per gigabyte. Also, search tools while more capable, are not the panacea because they can’t traverse complex systems and hundreds of file types without challenge no matter what anyone tells you. A soldier is manning a drone in Afghanistan from his cubicle in Arizona. Some innocent citizens die and now the military says that it is because of information overload. SO, keep what you need to and get rid of the crud. Bigger is not always better.

Friday, January 28, 2011

I had a dream . . .

I had a dream that I wanted to share with you to see if you could help me interpret it. I was a big and important electronic record and was given a archive home in a white fluffy thing floating in the sky. I was provided a home with other documents from all over the place which had no relationship to me or my parents but we lived next door to each other anyway. I am not sure why? I was given my home, which was pretty spartan, because I guess we paid very little for me to stay there. So I guess it’s not that weird my digs were not so special and I shouldn't complain. Anyway, at some point I was needed to be returned and fast because there was something important going on, in front was a guy with a black cloak with a mallet that he uses to make sure people are quiet. The thing was, no one was available to find me because that’s not what they do. So, I sat and sat and many people were very upset and I felt bad about that, but what could I do? I sat in my fluffy archive in the sky which wasn’t really in the sky after all, but rather in Europe somewhere, and I couldn't make it home even if they were so excited to see me. They told me later there was “private” information in me and the Europeans wanted to protect me from disclosure. So I sat and sat and never made it to that important place. I guess they call it a court.

What do you think it means?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It is a record upon creation.

Often I’m asked about what records to keep based on how they may play in court. Records are neither good nor bad. They simply document what happened. Make decisions about what to retain based on business need for them and legal requirements that tell you to retain them. In a recent revelation, the Catholic church disclosed there was a 1997 letter from the Vatican to the Irish bishops advising them to refrain from reporting all cases of sexual abuse of children to the police. For the church the record, now evidence, is painful. For the families seeking to get compensation for the molestation of their children, the record is manna from heaven.

A records is determined to be a record at the time of creation. Don’t anticipate its use down the road. Retain or not based on business use and legal mandate,PERIOD.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dialoginars are here!

Dialoginars are a great new way to learn about a variety of enterprise content management topics. The first of ten Dialoginars which feature Randy Kahn and IBM is now available on IBM’s website at In this Dialoginar you will learn how you can use information as an asset in your organization. Check back with us on a regular basis to see future Dialoginars that will feature a new topic each month.