Another November and another IM Days has come and gone…

Like many Government of Canada (GC) information management (IM) and records management (RM) employees tend to do at this time of year, Systemscope’s IM Practice also joined in on the annual ARMA-NCR IM Days event.

For those who don’t know, IM Days has been a major annual IM event in the NCR since 2006. The event, put on by ARMA’s NCR (Ottawa) Chapter, aims to be the hub for the IM community in the NCR to gather, share, and learn from each other, as well as to increase the communities understanding of and commitment to IM collective objectives.

So what were this year’s IM trends and topics?

Open Access to Public Sector Information and Data

The conference started out with an Open Government-themed bang, with Treasury Board’s (TBS’) Stephen Walker discussing the GC Open Government Action Plan. The discussions morphed towards a review of the Open Data movement when Elections Canada’s Chief Information Officer Jacques Mailloux took the stage.

Systemscope take-aways:

  • The movement towards an open government ties into our Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRMS) philosophy of openness and the need to move from a culture of protecting or hoarding “our” information, to sharing and improving collaboration as well as the use of our information assets.
  • Conducting departmental information resource of business value (IRBV) inventories will be a huge input into the future of providing public sector open access. Ultimately, this exercise helps us to answer the dreaded question “what information do you have?”, which is more often than not “I don’t know”; and will allow us to leverage that knowledge of what we have to meet business needs..

 We have GCDOCS end-users!

At this time last year, the idea of a GCDOCS end-user seemed eons away. This year, however, members of the GCDOCS team from the Canada School of Public Service, along with those from the Canadian Space Agency, FedDev Ontario, and TBS, showed us that the reality of GCDOCS end-users is much closer than we previously imagined. Discussions flowed from the need for a more robust communications and change management approach to the need for more in-depth up-front analysis of information architecture (IA) and IM requirements, and the importance of having a support organization in place.

Systemscope take-aways:

  • It is a lot of work to reverse engineer an architecture – so take the time and involve all of the stakeholders required to do it right the first time around.
  • Make it about the business and how they want to USE the information – RM should be behind the scenes.

There is still a need to “sell” IM

Throughout the conference, many speakers discussed the need to promote their departments’ IM organization as the point of responsibility for overseeing the management of digital assets, including talk of how to position IM as the digital curators (above communications and IT) and thus secure their spot on the digital agenda.

Systemscope take-away:

  • After being in the GC IM “game” for many years now, many of us naturally assume that IM would be looked to as the curator of digital assets as we were (or RM was) for paper assets. Surprise? This might not be the case. This shift from paper to digital continues to be a bigger transformation than anyone could have predicted and there is an ongoing need to position IM as best able to guide departments through the transformation from the paper to the digital world and continue to oversee the management of all resources, regardless of medium.

So what can we expect next year?  While the agenda has not yet been set, I’m sure we’ll see more reports on GCDOCS implementations and how the move to mobile is impacting IM.  As an ARMA board member and IM consultant, I’m looking forward to the coming year and being a part of this changing IM landscape.


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