e-Records 2023 – For the Win: Records and Data – Session Recap #3

Conference brand for e-Records 2023 is image of soccer ball striking back of goal. The conference theme is "For the Win! Records and Data."

Thank you for tuning in for the third and final post recapping the e-Records 2023 sessions.

Also see our other recap posts.

Managing Odd Projects: Tools, Tricks, and Tips for Managing Projects That Don’t Fit a Mold

by: Megan Carey

Jenn Coast, Project Coordinator at University of Texas at Austin, has lived to tell the tale of working within both IT and RM worlds and brought both humor and insight to her presentation on managing odd projects. What is a project? Truly anything! What are projects that are odd in some way? Consider the work and planning that goes into launching a new service, reducing storage space, or even cooking dinner. Throughout her session, Coast covered a brief foundation of project management (PM), provided insight into her own project management toolkit, and expounded upon what makes a successful project.

Key takeaways were:

  • Oftentimes, projects are an effort to quickly resolve a problem that has been ignored until it is now critical and has high visibility, with limited resources, budget, and time. (See how a project can be anything?)
  • How do you manage a project? Any way you can! Find the tool(s) that work for you and fit the project.

Coast personally uses Excel and the MS365 collaboration ecosystem and spent a good amount of time diving into each. She uses Excel, “a power-house of a data management application”, primarily for tracking files, creating graphical timelines, and creating charts and reports. She even provides an example template for everyone to kick off their Excel PM journey, linked in the slides here.

With the MS365 collaboration ecosystem (from Planner, Teams, Channels, to Lists, Forms, and SharePoint sites), she recommends asking yourself key questions beforehand to make sure you select and engage with the offered tools to the success of your project.

  • Who is in your community?
  • How do you want to collaborate?
  • What do you want to share?
  • How will you communicate?

Check out Jenn’s slides if you want to jump start your PM skills and approach.

The Practical Road to Digital Transformation: Retain, Digitize & Destroy

by: Rebecca Hanna

Kurt Thies, the Vice President at Gimmal, is well-known for being a fantastic presenter based on his ability to connect business principles with records management to help crowds understand straightforward ways of approaching operations and other topics to obtain executive buy-in. In this presentation, Thies approached the dilemma of whether to digitize or not to digitize records by looking at modern day factors and associated costs. For example, after transitioning to working from home due to the pandemic, many entities did not return for their paper records. Now they are left with the question of whether the abandoned records should be digitized or if they should live out their days on paper. A cost-benefit analysis should be done to compare how much it costs to store the records on paper (e.g., for one year) to the cost it takes to digitize the records with a trusted vendor. The analysis should take into account how often the records are being requested and accessed. Thies noted that policies and procedures for records management have stayed the same overall, but we are learning new ways to apply them to electronic records. For example, since many entities have shifted to creating born-digital records the focus for paper records will be on the management and disposition phase of those records’ lifecycles.

How to Link Data and Records Retention Schedules

by: Sahar Arafat-Ray

Diarra Boye, Executive Director of IT Finance & Business Services, and Danette Spencer, Senior Business Systems Analyst from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth Houston), presented on how their agency is working to organize data and link data to records. The passage of Senate Bill 475 (which mandated the designation of a Data Management Officer by Texas state agencies and universities) was the impetus the team needed to create UTHealth Houston’s Data Retention Schedule.

Danette stated the data management project goals:

  • Linking Data & Records Retention Schedules
  • Transitioning to a Paperless Office
  • Data Mapping
  • Managing Data as an Asset

To achieve their goals, Diarra discussed how UTHealth Houston worked closely with their agency’s data management officer (DMO), DIR’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), and the agency’s privacy manager to align the data management program with security and privacy practices. UTHealth Houston identified related information – e.g., looking at best practices from other agencies (TSLAC, DIR), reviewing current retention schedules, defining records vs. data – to link the records and data retention schedules. In addition, key stakeholders and partners formed subgroups based on their tasks and roles for efficient collaboration and to create opportunities for feedback. The team also created a cohesive implementation plan that could be achieved by engaging stakeholders, establishing clear policies, and determining an approach for data disposition.

The results were the formal creation of a Data Retention Policy document. The team incorporated data and records retention training, they automated the disposition schedule, collaborated with various departments at UTHealth Houston, and set a communication strategy.

For the Win: Becoming a Records Influencer

by: Sebastian Loza

Deborah Robbins, Legacy Manager at the U.S. Department of Energy, gave an electrifying presentation on how to galvanize your office into better records management via influence. A common misconception when it comes to influence is that you need authority. Robbins disagrees with this premise. Instead, she notes that leadership and vision is all that is needed—neither requiring a budget or permission.

By aligning your vision with that of your organization and building a realistic vision, Robbins finds that you will likely find buy-in within management regardless of your position in the organization. Another important task is creating allies, whether you have been there for a long time or you’re new. With leadership skills you can utilize other’s talents to create a better records management program and drum up support in other departments to help with implementation.

Robbins notes that an effective use of influence and leadership is to find someone on their “Hero’s Journey.” To identify your hero, you need to first see who has been “called to adventure,” potentially in the form of an audit, a lawsuit, or being tasked with cutting down the shared drive. That’s when you step in as their mentor and offer your assistance and guidance from a records management perspective. This means less effort on your end, and you will gain another ally who will be thankful for your guidance!

RMOs and DMOs: Complementary Partners in Information Management

by: Bonnie Zuber

Thinking back to a past e-Records conference when I first took note of the new data governance requirements that came from the passage of SB 475, I had no idea that two years later I would be among a group of pioneers laying the groundwork for future information management programs and relationships between records and data managers. In this year’s closing conference session, Ed Kelly (Secretary of State) led a panel discussion including me and my colleagues Brady Cox (Public Utility Commission), Shiva Jaganathan (UT Austin), Tammi Powell (Department of Motor Vehicles), and Sarah Hendricks (Department of Public Safety), a like-minded group of people with various subject matter expertise who have welcomed the new data management role with open arms.

For some of us, the new data management statutes have initiated changes in the power structure and in applying governance to information resources and assets across our institutions. For others, the new statutes have helped to secure top-level buy-in and elevated the role of the records management officer, giving them a seat at the decision-making table. State agencies and universities have different needs based on staff size, office locations, access to technology tools, budget constraints, and other factors, but at the end of the day (and first thing in the morning) we all have records and data that need to be managed. It’s not that my colleagues and I have figured it all out, but we are all committed to building relationships and ensuring our respective agency’s data governance compliance going forward.

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