Published: 31 May 2019

Reading time: About 4 minutes

Last week we attended the annual Information and Records Management Society (IRMS) Conference in Wales.

This was our 9th time sponsoring the event and this year, the theme was Information Governance – the Quest for Truth and Trust. Over the course of the three days, we spoke to delegates from right across sectors and industries with many of the same issues and concerns.  

In this round-up blog, our Principal Solutions Consultant, Paul Hudson, gives us his top five takeaways from this year’s conference.  

  • Organisations don’t know what to do with unstructured data  

During the conference, I had a lot of conversations with people about the sprawl of unstructured data that is being ignored. Many were unable to say they had a solution in place for disposing of data in unstructured sources, that they trusted disposal schedules were being carried outor that all records were faithfully captured as such. The need to understand how the business creates and consumes data hit home as an essential ingredient for a successful move to Office 365 and future records management. 

  • Information governance was the focal point  

While it was certainly the theme of the conferencethere is a growing emphasis on governance “in the real world” because of GDPR. Those working within information governance and records management are now aware that there is a budget and there is a drive to govern data because of risks. The fact is that organisations have so much data that they don’t know what’s in there, but they also agree that they can not delete it, without understanding it first.  

  • The quest for Information Governance is all about automation 

Information governance shouldn’t be something people have to think about as part of their day to day jobs. People need to create and consume content; that is how they do their jobs. What they don’t want to think about is ‘how long should this be kept for?’ and ‘what policy needs to be applied to it?’. Delegates recognised that it should be done automatically. For me, the quest is not about teaching people about information governance, but rather, finding a solution which will apply governance by default. 

  • Records Management roles are changing  

One of the conference topics was being a Modern Records Manager. But, what does that mean? We spoke with one council who has tried to transform and move to Office 365  but failed due to a reliance on traditional records managementThe classic RM role is being subsumed within other roles or expanding to include other aspects around governance. The traditional role has been increasingly impacted by technology more and more, and as a resultskill sets are diversifying.  

  • Our software really can find anything! 

As part of our demo environment, we have crawled lots of different types of content and downloaded public-facing information to enable strong search results. As part of this, we crawled the Enron emails data set so we can demonstrate AI.DATALIFT’s ability to find keywords within emails and attachmentsA delegate challenged us on whether we had created a demo environment which will work perfectly due to only searching for certain keywords. I asked him for another word, to which he replied, “elephant.” At this point, I did not know whether we would have ‘elephant’ in the data set. However, the subject matter of the first email we got a hit on was an Enron employee comparing a recent foreign trip he undertook with certain delicate parts of a male elephants anatomy! After an awkward silence, followed by a fit of laughter, the man was able to say, “Ok, I believe you!” It certainly proved our point! (We’d be happy to recreate that demo for you if you’d like to relive the moment.) 

For more information on our AI.DATALIFT platform (which can find anything in your organisation’s data) here.