Self-registering, self-managing records, a reality or just a pipe-dream? Chapter 2

by Frank 25. October 2011 00:35

In the first Blog on this topic I asked the question “is the solution fully-automatic, self-registering, self-classifying, self-managing records? Is it possible? Do we have the technology?”

Since I invented the concept of fully-automatic, self-registering, self-classifying and self-managed records I would have to say, with a degree of bias, that it certainly is the solution to what appears to be an impossible to manage problem using current tools and methods; what I earlier called “this burdensome task.”

As to whether we have the technology I think we do but the solution may involve a synthesis of technologies from other industries to achieve our aims.

I have visited with hundreds of our customers all over the world plus hundreds of prospective customers and I can confidently say that not one manages its records one-hundred percent and that most don’t even come close. In a few cases it is because they don’t have the right tools but in most cases the tools have a super-set of the functionality required, they are just not being utilized effectively.

Certainly, not one organization I have had contact with meets all of the compliance legislation it is supposed to meet. Even when they have the tools required the job is just too big, too complex and, that word again, too burdensome. The biggest problem, apart from the huge scale of the problem, is getting the co-operation and ‘buy-in’ from all staff.

Many systems rely on each and every staff member becoming an expert records and electronic document and email manager and on each staff member always behaving in an entirely consistent and reliable manner. This basic assumption is of course fatuous and ignores both the diversity of human beings and human nature. We may all be born equal but we don’t end up equal in intelligence, experience, expertise and attitude. I also don’t know anyone who exhibits one-hundred percent consistent behaviour day after day after day. Au contraire, in my observation we are all human and we all have failings and we are all sometimes better and sometimes worse. Let’s call it the human condition.

The effect of the human condition means that any system that relies on each and every staff member behaving in an entirely consistent and reliable manner is seriously flawed and will never work. Let me repeat that, “will never work!” In fact, any system that ignores human nature is a bad design and will inevitably fail.

So in my mind, if I can’t rely on human beings to be perfectly consistent in the application of a given set of rules and processes then we need to take human beings out of the equation and replace them with something that is perfectly consistent in the way it analyses, captures and classifies records. Ergo, my fully-automatic model bereft of human frailties.

Because technology isn’t quite there yet I am not proposing to use robots or artificial humans (i.e., Androids) a la Blade Runner. I am however proposing to use rules-driven systems and where possible, artificial intelligence. I am also proposing to utilize technologies currently available but not yet generally applied within what AIIM calls the content management industry.

In the next chapter I will discuss the tools and technologies I would use and explain how my method will address most of the problems of this burdensome task.

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