Georgia County Government - Fall 2015 - (Page 87)

sPecIAl FeAture why can't we Just Keep It all? the case for records & Information management By Amelia Winstead, CA, CRM AS THE OLD saying goes, "Information is Power." Well, it's also value and the value of information in government is rising. Big Data is all the rage and public officials are more and more viewing the ability to govern, manage, and utilize information as critical to success.1 Having trusted and reliable records, reports, data, and databases enable officials to make key decisions with confidence. And accessing that information and business intelligence in a timely fashion can yield long-term sustainable competitive advantage, creating a more agile, responsive government - one that protects the citizens' personal information and is accountable for its actions. But while it's easy to say, - "Just keep everything" - the sheer volume of all of this information can easily crush efforts to use it to our advantage. Can we keep everything forever? - Sure. Should we? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Too much information has a downside. It is a liability, as well as an asset. Information has risk. Information has real, unavoidable legal and regulatory requirements. It is just too expensive to keep all the data, all the information, and all the records generated, and unneeded information is a sort of irrelevant sludge for decision makers to wade through. They have difficulty knowing which information is accurate and meaningful "wheat" and which simply irrelevant "chaff." This means that they do not have the precise information needed to base good decisions upon. The burden of massive stores of information has increased storage management costs dramatically, increased the size of our records centers and file rooms, caused overloaded systems to fail, and increased legal discovery costs. 2 Further, the longer the information is kept, the more likely it will need to be migrated to newer computing platforms, driving up conversion costs; and legally, there is the risk that somewhere in that mountain of information is a piece of information that represents a significant legal liability. 3 But for all these arguments, records and information management is a tough sell to government officials. It's not flashy or fancy and its Return on Investment is often calculated in terms of costs avoidance rather than cost savings. Unless your organization has been on the receiving end of major compliance sanctions, fines, legal losses, or data breaches - such as with the Internal Revenue Service 4 - the business case for records and information management is difficult to make. Record Management: Why you Need It So why make the effort? Here are seven reasons why records and information management makes good sense: 1. We can't keep everything forever. Benign neglect has a way of ensuring we can't keep it all forever. Centuries of paper records have taught us that if left in a corner, an attic or a basement, records decay - they rot, they are eaten by bugs, or they are simply thrown out because no one knew what they were. Electronic records are the same - they corrupt, they get lost, and they are deleted because no one knew what they were. We simply can't keep everything forever. The trick is to keep what we need and what is most valuable to our organization. A records and information management program enables an organization to get rid of unnecessary information in a defensible manner. Organizations need a sensible way to dispose of information in order to reduce the cost and complexity of the IT environment. Having unnecessary information around only makes it more difficult and expensive to harness information that has value. 2. We can't throw everything away. Just as an organization can't throw everything away, it can't keep everything forever. We need information, the right information, in the right place, at the right time. A records and information management program provides a framework to make FALL 2015 87

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - Fall 2015

President’s Message
Director’s Desk
Putting the Private Sector to Work for Georgia’s Counties
Military Partnerships with Georgia Counties a Win-Win
Georgia Helps Itself: The Efforts to Provide Funding Alternatives
A New Direction
Rebounding Economy Leads to Reform in Property Tax Law
The Crisis on our Roads: Turning the Tide on Surge in Georgia Traffic Deaths
2015 Legislative Service Award Recipients
Education and Economic Development Go Hand-in-Hand
County Collaborations with Local Schools Save Money, Improve Efficiency
Georgia’s Technical Colleges: Where Business and Education Intersect
Welcome to 191 Peachtree, ACC G's New Home
Georgia County Internship Program: Summer Success Stories
ACCG Heads to Jekyll Island for the Legislative Leadership Conference
Conference Agenda
I, You, Me, and We
Reducing In-the-Line-of Duty Deaths with Below 100 Train the Trainer
“Her Majesty” Instills Valuable Lessons: Lessons learned from the Hancock County Courthouse Fire
Thank You to our Partners
Why Can’t We Just Keep It All? The Case for Records & Information Management
Social Media and the Dog Tags
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers

Georgia County Government - Fall 2015