Together with most of the live events this year, the ARMA InfoCon 2020 moved to the virtual space. It did not prevent information management professionals from gathering in many cases from the comfort of their homes to network, share and understand the challenges and opportunities in the industry.
The eight titles of this year's conference featured dozen of sessions from thought leaders and industry professionals who transcend the boundaries of all company sizes and types.
Here are 5 things you should know about this year's conference.
It should come as no surprise that the study of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic was the most consistent presence on all educational pathways at this year's conference.
There has been much discussion about how the pandemic would affect various aspects of RIM programs, whether it would allow organizations to provide access to the information end users need without compromising security.
The records generated as a result of the pandemic also led to two key discussions. One with the pioneer of "Privacy by Design", Dr. Ann Cavoukian, focused on the privacy concerns related to contact tracing. Cavoukian expressed concerns about the widespread use of tracing and how organizations and government agencies may use this information without the express consent of the individuals whose information it is.
The second was introduced by Access' John Isaza and Susan Cisco, who presented the results of their research to better identify new types of records created during the pandemic and to create retention plans for organizations in their area. For more information on this project, download the research paper!
Another recurring theme was that the pandemic did not so much “invent” new problems for information management, but uncovered longstanding problems.
Educational trails on the basic elements of a RIM program are anything but a new topic at ARMA InfoCon. Moving to a completely remote environment has exposed antiquated policy frameworks and accelerated problems that have been fermenting for years.
"Many [records and information managers] are not happy with where their retention plan is," said Nick Inglis – IGP, CIP, INFO, Executive Director, Content & Programming at ARMA International The Records / IG Team ".
The pandemic may continue to drive new transformation projects in records and information management programs, but making sure these basic elements function and are carried out properly will remain a focus in 2021.
This brings us to another topic that is not new to ARMA.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have been in conversation with information management for well over a decade. One distinction that kept coming up was the difference between supervised and unsupervised learning.
Supervised learning is currently the force behind several different technologies and solutions on the market. The algorithms and automation that power these and similar tools are powered by giving the system examples of what is relevant and what is not.
Unsupervised learning meanwhile requires little to no input from a human “trainer”. Intelligence receives a large data set and begins to recognize patterns when it has a fuller understanding of the information presented to it, much like the human mind does.
Although unsupervised learning may be the new frontier, this next breakthrough is a way out. ARMA President Jason Stearns, who recently remarked on an episode of Out of the Box Live that "What I hear regularly from meetings is that we're not there yet." AI is a tool and it brings us closer to where we want to be, but we're not there yet. "
Regardless of whether it is AI or ML, every technology is associated with advantages and disadvantages, risks and challenges. Weighing these risks must always be done through the lens of making your program safe, secure, and compliant, but remaining usable for those in your organization.
Sessions at this year's conference emphasized the need for communication and training related to RIM programs to be compulsory and accountability built into job descriptions across the company, especially when moving to full or partial remote work.
Similarly, building relationships with management and other departments has become increasingly important. With the exponential increase in information generated from systems in several different departments, RIM professionals are no longer just task performers, but must advise their colleagues on finance, legal, IT, privacy and compliance, and more.
ARMA's IGP (Information Governance Professional) certification is even changing to accommodate this necessary aspect of information management. Stearns noted that "[ARMA] is about to announce a revision of the IGP that will state that those with Proof of Entitlement will be able to communicate with their peers across [departments]."
It used to be that a recording program could be viewed as a single lens of physical records that were created, stored and safely destroyed. The proliferation of channels, especially digital channels and the recordings made within them, has completely changed the conversation.
To make matters worse, regulatory changes, especially with regard to data protection, are changing ever faster worldwide.
Inglis noted, "What we have seen is that everything touches information in some way, form or shape. All of these processes that were previously separate from newer technologies are being connected, and these processes all lead back to the information Where previously the topics of [ARMA] were closely focused, the discussions in the broader sense must be broader. "
This year's InfoCon 2020 program reflected exactly this. In addition to the six tracks that existed last year, two more tracks have been added, Legal & eDiscovery and a Deep Dive from Microsoft Technologies.
In short, the ARMA InfoCon 2020 schedule this year reflected the year itself:
A lot has changed. What is in front of us is constantly projected forward.
But in the end it is important to keep the foundation strong and build from there.
For information management professionals, this means not losing sight of the overall goal of ensuring that the right content is available to the right people at the right time.
Please see our new eBook: Playbook for Responding to Pandemic Recordings for more information.