Irma Article Edrm Software Design And Selection


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How do we select and implement systems which meet both business and compliance requirements? Usable systems where the ease of capturing and describing records makes it possible to subsequently secure, store, preserve, retain or destroy them.
This article examines the factors influencing the design of recordkeeping systems and suggests means of assessing usability in eDRM systems to ensure that they are fit for purpose and appealing to end users.

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Irma Article Edrm Software Design And Selection

  1. 1. Horses for Courses: Choosing the Right EDRM software Product for your Business Conni Christensen Abstract How do you choose the ideal eDRM system for your business? You could start by referring to the available 1 model specifications such as MoReq or the Australian National Archives Specifications for Electronic 2 Records Management Systems Software . But are these specifications going to deliver you the best system for your organisation? eDRM systems are complex beings. Industry standards and compliance requirements have shaped current system design – often at the expense of usability. As buyers we are attracted to products with multiple features but as users we are overwhelmed by complex functionality. There are widespread concerns that eDRM systems, as we know them, are false gods – systems that promise the silver bullet of recordkeeping compliance but fail to deliver it. Anecdotal evidence suggests that uptake and acceptance of eDRM systems is low because the systems are not meeting business needs. End-users are opting-out of the record keeping process– by not capturing records into eDRM systems or by not capturing adequate recordkeeping metadata which describes the records. How do we select and implement systems which meet both business and compliance requirements? Usable systems where the ease of capturing and describing records makes it possible to subsequently secure, store, preserve, retain or destroy them. This article examines the factors influencing the design of recordkeeping systems and suggests means of assessing usability in eDRM systems to ensure that they are fit for purpose and appealing to end users. Introduction Five years on from Enron and Arthur Anderson, the press are still regularly reporting recordkeeping failures in almost every sphere of business and government. For example: The District’s inspector general has warned the city’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer that hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue may be lost annually because of sloppy record-keeping and lax control over the collection of fees from building and occupancy permits. Washington Post, Thursday, 24 April 2008. 3 A firm of independent financial advisers, the Thinc Group, has been fined £900,000 for poor recordkeeping when selling sub-prime mortgages. BBC News, 15 May 2008. 4 An investigation by the Health Service Journal (HSJ) found that thousands of appointments are taking place without the patients’ records and that six out of the 49 trusts had 5% or more notes missing from patients’ files. Mail onLine, Thursday 22 May 2008. 5 Spending On Iraq Poorly Tracked: An audit released to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has found that the Pentagon does not have the proper documentation (receipts, vouchers, signatures, invoices or other paperwork) to account for $7.8 billion paid to American and Iraqi contractors for goods and services to support the Iraqi reconstruction effort. Washington Post, Friday 23 May, 2008. 6 Poor recordkeeping is both a local and a global issue. In many ways, individuals as citizens and taxpayers pay the price of poor recordkeeping, in taxes, higher interest rates, in abuse of our private records, or as the victims of poor decision making. Clearly, many organisations are failing to implement workable recordkeeping programs effectively, despite an unprecedented level of investment and effort. What makes it so hard to practice good recordkeeping? As an industry professional with a long association with electronic Document and Records Management (eDRM) systems, I, along with many others, previously subscribed to popular beliefs about the need for management support, change management programs, education and training, etc. I thought that if all of © Conni Christensen 2009
  2. 2. Horses for Courses: Choosing the Right EDRM software Product for your Business Conni Christensen the requisites were in place, we would achieve good recordkeeping systems and practices. But it hasn’t happened that way. Our own business is a case in point. As records management consultants, we have the will to achieve good recordkeeping practice. We have access to many of the leading eDRM software products. We have struggled, however, to find the ideal system – an eDRM system that delivers all of the functionality we desire to meet our business requirements. We continually confront obstacles to the efficient capture of content and metadata, and issues with integration between email and business software, remote use, document access, sharing, and usability. Because the amount of time spent capturing records into a managed recordkeeping system is unacceptably high from a business perspective, we look for ways to circumvent the capture and migration process while still protecting our records. So it is with many of our clients, mainly comprising corporations and government agencies. Spurred on by the need to comply with increasingly stringent recordkeeping requirements, organisations invest heavily in eDRM technology and services and then, some years and several hundred thousand dollars later, find that the system is a white elephant because no one is using it to store records. The grim reality is that many, if not most, eDRM systems are severely underutilised because the effort involved in using them is impacting adversely on the delivery of business performance. I am not alone in thinking this way. Blogger James Robertson suggests that ‘users are overwhelmed by the complexity of most records management systems. In fact, it is fair to say that the very poor usability of 7 these systems is one of the single greatest barriers to project success.’ eDRM Practice Leader for CapGemini, Andrew Rothwell, voiced the opinion that ‘next generation eDRM 8 would be benefits-driven as opposed to compliance-driven.’ At the April 2008 RMS conference in Edinburgh, Steve Bailey put the case that eDRMS have failed our organisations, our users and the records management profession. He described eDRM systems as ‘a damned expensive sledgehammer to crack the nut that is the largely ephemeral contents of most network 9 drives.’ One can’t help but conclude that there are major issues with our eDRM systems that are preventing us from achieving our recordkeeping goals. No amount of change management or training can overcome poor system design. How then can we influence eDRM software design to create more effective systems? First we need to understand the major factors that have shaped eDRM design. Factors influencing eDRM software design Software developers and designers respond to market pressures. In the Australian eDRM market, the government market has influenced software design through standards, functional requirements and whole-of-government contracts. It goes without saying that compliance with standards and mandatory requirements is essential to winning government contracts. Metadata standards Australia leads the world in establishing ground rules for recordkeeping, and has made significant contributions to international records management standards including ISO 15489 – Information and documentation – Records management and ISO 23081 – Information and documentation - Records 10 management processes - Metadata for records. These standards now provide the basis for our national and state rules. 11 The Australian Government Recordkeeping Metadata Standard (and equivalent state standards) sets out the information about metadata that must/should be captured in business information systems used by Australian Government agencies to create and capture records. ‘Agencies, system developers and © Conni Christensen 2009
  3. 3. Horses for Courses: Choosing the Right EDRM software Product for your Business Conni Christensen software vendors must implement the mandatory properties and sub-properties in order to comply with 12 this standard.’ The issue with metadata standards is not the standards themselves but the means by which compliance is achieved. Often the creation of additional metadata fields is enough to enable vendors to state and prove compliance with an eDRM tender requirement. How much user effort is needed to capture that metadata is not necessarily considered. Functional specifications Functional specifications are documents that detail basic requirements for electronic records management systems. Produced by regulators and industry groups, they interpret records management standards into software requirements. While the primary audience for these documents is agency staff responsible for designing, reviewing and/or implementing electronic records management systems, these documents are also intended for eDRM software vendors and developers. The National Archives of Australia issued their Functional Specifications for Electronic Records 13 Management Systems Software in 2006 . Agencies are encouraged to make use of the specifications when designing or purchasing new (or upgrading existing) eDRM software. The specifications are also intended to keep software vendors informed of the recordkeeping requirements of Australian Government agencies. International specifications have also influenced eDRM software design. Since 1997, the US Department of Defence’s Design Criteria Standard for Electronic Records Management Software Applications (DoD 14 5015.2) has been a de-facto standard for US government agencies. Functional requirements in DoD 5015.2 are based on US federal government regulations and/or US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) policy. eDRM vendors marketing to US government agencies have tailored their software to achieve DoD 5015.2 certification. As a result, functionality specified for DOD 5015.2 certification has been built into eDRM products offered to the Australian market. 15 MoReq2 (Model Requirements for the Management of Electronic Records Version 2) is an update of requirements developed for the European Community. Again, many eDRM vendors have indicated that they will make modifications to their eDRM system in order to achieve compliance with the MoReq2 specification. 16 Other influential specifications include UK National Archives Requirements , Archives New Zealand’s 17 18 Systems Standard , and Victoria’s VERS System Requirements for Preserving Electronic Records . Recently released as an exposure draft are the Principles and Functional Requirements for Records in 19 Electronic Office Environments , the output of a project sponsored by the International Council for Archives (ICA) with the stated aim of globally harmonising principles and functional requirements for software used to create and manage electronic records in office environments. With the exception of MoReq2, none of these specifications addresses usability or ease of use requirements. In fact, usability and implementation issues are deemed to be out of scope. However the Guiding Principles of the ICA project state that: as much metadata as possible should be system generated; and it should be as easy as possible for users to create/capture records of business activity. (In fact) it is necessary to design systems/software which automate recordkeeping in a way, ideally, which makes such recordkeeping ‘transparent’ (i.e., not noticeable) to the end users. How this should be achieved is not specified. © Conni Christensen 2009
  4. 4. Horses for Courses: Choosing the Right EDRM software Product for your Business Conni Christensen Across-government contracts Across-government contracts are a form of standing offer which have become commonplace for the purchase of eDRM systems. The objective of these contracts is to achieve strategic outcomes for the public sector through procurement activity and to centralise: • the evaluation of offers to determine technical compliance; • the negotiation of terms and conditions; and • contract development. Centralisation of these processes delivers savings to agencies by reducing transaction costs and reduces the 20 risk associated with repetitive or common purchasing. Single product or panel contracts currently exist for New South Wales, South Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and ACT. The intent of these contracts is to standardise systems in use and to support shared corporate services across government. ‘An integrated whole-of-government eDRMS will improve the efficiency of processing, searching, locating, accessing and managing electronic documents and records. A standard approach to documents and records management will help improve service delivery by making it easier and faster for Government 21 employees to find records and documents, resulting in improved response times.’ The value of whole-of-government contracts and the kudos associated with winning them has ensured a significant development response from eDRM vendors who want to make sure that their products are able to meet all mandatory requirements, placing ticks in all of the right boxes. Emerging issues Despite heightened awareness and millions of tax payer dollars invested, improvements in recordkeeping practice are slow to be realised. In October 2006 The Australian National Audit Office reported on a performance audit across agencies and found that ‘records held in the majority of the electronic systems reviewed as part of the audit were not 22 being managed in accordance with the entity’s recordkeeping policy.’ The Victorian Auditor General’s Office reported in March this year that ‘Agencies do not have in place comprehensive frameworks to manage their records. While some agencies, driven by the critical importance of their service delivery and an acknowledgement of the risks that poor recordkeeping practices bring, had taken action to address their records management, other agencies had not. In these latter cases, their recordkeeping practices conformed with traditional registry approaches and did not 23 reflect today’s business environment.’ Finally, in June this year, ACT Auditor-General, in a performance audit of ACT government agencies, found that ‘records management policies and programs were not implemented consistently across business units 24 in all agencies, resulting in poor records management in some areas.’ All of these audit reports, and others before, have stressed the need for more management support, change management programs, education & training, etc to bolster recordkeeping performance. Not one has focused the spotlight onto eDRM software, and questioned whether the software itself could also be contributing to poor records management. Usability issues with eDRM systems According to Kite, ‘users want their work to be easy, reusable and portable; records managers want to organise, to put stuff in one place, managing it with rich metadata ... with lifecycle management. Users just 25 want to get on with their work.’ © Conni Christensen 2009
  5. 5. Horses for Courses: Choosing the Right EDRM software Product for your Business Conni Christensen Business users want document management and workflow systems that will increase their business productivity, and there is demand for systems that are designed to manage specific business processes. Witness the proliferation of in-house systems built using MS Access and Lotus Notes. eDRM systems on the other hand are primarily designed to manage the recordkeeping needs of the enterprise. However as many eDRM systems also provide process management functionality, eDRM vendors have succeeded in making the business case for a single product solution for managing all business information across the enterprise. The reaction of business users to enterprise wide eDRM systems has been less than enthusiastic. Uptake and usage figures have been poor, with usability and effort regularly cited as reasons for opting out. One un-named eDRM vendor estimates actual uptake at around 10%. Conversely, there has been extensive take up of SharePoint licenses by business users. SharePoint appears to provide business users with the flexibility they want to organise and aggregate their records as projects or within team sites. SharePoint also provides users with a range of collaboration and development tools including calendars, a bulletin board, links to (and feeds from) other sites, news and pictures etc. As blogger Steve Bailey says: ‘It (SharePoint) may not be perfect from the records manager’s perspective, but so far as the average IT or business manager is concerned it undoubtedly ticks enough of the boxes to make them think twice about additional investment in any other ‘specialist’ records management 26 systems.’ If we want to understand why business users are embracing SharePoint, we need to look at some of the problems that business users have with eDRM systems. Classification tools Classification is the systematic identification and arrangement of business activities and/or records into categories according to logically structured conventions, methods, and procedural rules represented in a classification system. In most eDRM systems classification of records is achieved by arranging records hierarchically within a file plan and/or by assigning metadata to describe records. The use of a hierarchical classification scheme is mandatory for compliance with MoReq2. This is in order to enable the inheritance of retention and disposition schedules and other metadata and also to facilitate navigability. Support for at least three levels is the minimum requirement; more levels will be needed in 27 many environments. In Australia, Keyword AAA and derivatives are the primary classification schemes in use. Records are classified according to business functions and activities which generate the records. This functional approach to classification means that classification can be used for a range of records management purposes, including appraisal and disposal, determining handling, storage and security requirements, setting user permissions, as well as providing a basis for titling and indexing. Terms in Keyword AAA are arranged hierarchically from the broadest to the most specific concept: keyword (= function) – activity 28 descriptor – then subject descriptors and/or free text. There is often competition between records mangers and business users regarding the use and arrangement of terms in the File Plan. Records managers want to populate the file plan with functions and activities as per Keyword AAA in order to provide provides context to assist disposition management. Business users want to organise their records within the file plan according to work practice (subject, case, project etc). Blogger Rachel Hardiman, from Northumbria University, writes that ‘while functional classification (BCS) has an important role in the management of corporate records and recorded information, it shouldn't ’29 necessarily form the visible interface or be the only permissible gateway to records and information. The single file plan model results in a battle for supremacy between records managers and business users as both seek to arrange their records and documents in a manner that meets their particular needs. © Conni Christensen 2009
  6. 6. Horses for Courses: Choosing the Right EDRM software Product for your Business Conni Christensen Metadata capture Records can also be classified using metadata, data which describes the context, content and structure of documents and records and which supports their management through time. Metadata can be captured in several ways including system capture and through data entry into appropriate fields. A major issue for business users is the effort involved in capturing mandatory recordkeeping metadata, particular to support retention of records. If the effort is great with no tangible business benefits, it’s often easier to opt out by either not entering in metadata or by simply not capturing documents into the eDRM system. Another issue for users is the absence of business-based metadata in eDRM systems. Some products enable the provision of additional fields where data can be entered either as free text or through selection from a list. The provision of free text data fields, unsupported by a controlled vocabulary) results in significant search problems due to the use of synonyms, acronyms, and abbreviations and through misspellings. Poor knowledge of industry standards Despite widespread availability of industry standards for records management, many vendors/developers appear to have limited knowledge of the substance of the standards as they relate to the design of recordkeeping systems. ISO 15489-1 section 8 describes the essential characteristics of records systems and provides a framework for their implementation. Section 8-4 outlines a methodology for the design and implementation of records systems (DIRS) which is amplified in ISO 15489-2 section 3. The DIRS methodology (DIRKS as it is known in Australia) delivers the framework for the development of recordkeeping instruments – business classification schemes, thesauri, controlled vocabularies, retention schedules, security and access classification schemes. The DIRKS Manuals produced by NSW State Records30 and National Archives of Australia31 provide further guidance on the development of recordkeeping instruments. For system designers, the most important aspect of the framework is that many of the entities identified through the DIRKS methodology are connected together logically. © Conni Christensen 2009
  7. 7. Horses for Courses: Choosing the Right EDRM software Product for your Business Conni Christensen If the logic is applied to the design of recordkeeping systems, the connections between the functions, activities, transactions and records classes could be programmed into the software providing opportunities for automated system generation of mandatory recordkeeping metadata. The declaration process Declaration is a process which originated in US and Canadian eDRM systems in which users ‘declare’ certain documents and email as records. In this process the ‘record’ is made ‘read only’ and may be transferred into a ‘managed records repository’ where more stringent business rules are applied. The ‘record’ can no longer be modified or deleted except through an authorised retention appraisal process, which may or may not be based around a ‘file plan’. It is evident that declaration is a flawed process which is exposed during any legal discovery as it is not the process of declaration that creates records but the transaction of business evidenced by records. Declaration as a process is not addressed within ISO 15489 or recognised by Australian records regulators. Instead, an appraisal model (outlined in the DIRKS methodology steps B and C) is used to regulate the disposal of records. The model links disposal requirements to the context in which the records were created as documented in the business classification scheme of functions, activities and transactions. The appraisal model supports the records continuum model in which records are managed from the point of creation through to disposal (or preservation as archives) in a consistent management regime. By classifying documents (future records) in context at the point of creation, the records are also sentenced at the point of creation. There is no need for declaration as disposition rules are applied to both the documents and records based on their classification. Declaration in eDRM systems creates effort for users who, therefore, may postpone declaration, often indefinitely. The end result is an unmanaged repository holding records that are undeclared, and a managed repository holding both records and non-records that have been declared. Furthermore the process of transferring records into a repository and rearranging them according to a records management file plan creates further user resistance. © Conni Christensen 2009
  8. 8. Horses for Courses: Choosing the Right EDRM software Product for your Business Conni Christensen The process of appraisal is not well understood by many eDRM vendors. However, some systems now providing the means for auto-declaration – a process by which documents or messages are automatically routed into nominated folders based on user defined rules. Declaration is also being automated as part of workflow processing, e.g., when a document is “approved” via a workflow step it is automatically declared as a record. This workflow approach has considerable merit as records of business processes identified through an analysis of business activity (DIRKS step B) can auto- classified according to the context in which they are created. Poorly integrated systems Integration is the process of bringing together various elements (systems, applications, services or processes) into a larger defined unit, set, or whole. Integration is fundamental to records management. Records are created in a range of disparate systems. Integration enables records to be captured from external systems; to be transferred between systems or repositories; to be used by external systems. Many integration issues have come about though the bolting together of Records Management, Document Management and/or Content Management products. The resulting product may be marketed as ‘fully functional’ but often comprises disparate modules designed by different development teams with incongruent command sets. For end users, ease of integration is crucial to uptake and acceptance. If unnecessary effort is required to transfer documents from one system into another, the user will seek more expedient alternatives, including opting out. Therefore, it is critical to keep user intervention (e.g. keystrokes, folder searches) to a minimum. Where possible, the system must be configured to do the appraisal and capture work for the end users. Integration between email and eDRM is a case in point. It is possible, through recognition of domain addresses or subject triggers, to auto-classify many email messages into appropriate folders in the eDRM system, and yet still view unread email messages as a group requiring action. As blogger, James, notes ‘ERM software is still immature. Even products that have been through several revisions still do not completely seamlessly integrate with Office tools and are not yet sufficiently intuitive 32 and easy for people to use.’ Usability 33 The international standard, ISO 9241-11 11: 1998 Guidance on usability defines usability as “the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a specified context of use". The definition begs the question: who are the users and what is their use? Are they the records managers or are they the business users who capture and use records on a continuous basis in undertaking their business? 34 The international standard ISO 13407: 1999 Human-centred design processes for interactive systems provides guidance on achieving quality in use by incorporating user-centred design activities throughout the life cycle of interactive computer-based systems. User-centred design is a multi-disciplinary activity which incorporates human factors and ergonomics knowledge and techniques with the objective of enhancing effectiveness and productivity, and counteracting possible adverse effects of use on performance. If we follow the aforementioned standards then usability requirements should be focused on the business users, and usability should be measured against whether their business performance is enhanced or affected adversely through using the system. © Conni Christensen 2009
  9. 9. Horses for Courses: Choosing the Right EDRM software Product for your Business Conni Christensen Developing usability requirements To date there are no established model requirements for eDRM usability. MoReq2 provides a list of 40 ease of use requirements, but is not structured in a meaningful way. In our consulting practice, we have developed a simple framework for evaluating the usability of systems, based on an easily remembered mnemonic IDEAL. IDEAL requirements address five usability concerns: Integration, Description, Effort, Arrangement and Linking. Each area of concern can be further developed into and tailored according to individual business needs. This framework can be applied to the evaluation of many different types of software, e.g. accounting or payroll systems. For EDRM systems the following IDEAL requirements are a starting point for a usability requirements document. Integration Close integration is essential for effective use of an eDRM system. The eDRM system must support close integration with Email and other messaging systems. Can the user capture emails without having to switch to the eDRM system? Can the user send emails from within the eDRM system without having to switch to the email system? Is all relevant metadata associated with the email automatically captured into the eDRM system? The eDRM system must support close integration with desktop systems. Is document metadata from the desktop system automatically captured into the eDRM system? To what extent can document templates be shared between the systems supporting pre-population of metadata and pre-classification? Does the system maintain persistent links to metadata which has been associated with the document in the desktop system? The eDRM system should support close integration with Line-of-Business systems. Can eDRM system files be created, opened and closed from within the business system? Do the two systems draw metadata and classifications from the same sources (database tables)? © Conni Christensen 2009
  10. 10. Horses for Courses: Choosing the Right EDRM software Product for your Business Conni Christensen Or, can the eDRM system draw metadata from another database which holds the authoritative data source? For example the HR, Payroll or Enterprise directory system. Does the eDRM system support all of the documents formats used by the business system? Do both systems mirror the business rules of each individual system? The eDRM system should support seamless integration between different modules (e.g. document management, records management, workflow) of the system. Does the system support the records continuum model of management, enabling records to be managed within the same regime from creation/capture to archiving and disposal? How seamless is the integration between different modules of the eDRM system? How easy it is to shift between different modules of the software? Do the modules share the same menu structures and use the same command sets? Interoperable I also stands for interoperable – the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged. The eDRMS must support established industry standards. Does the system support standard metadata formats? Does the system use established industry terminology? Can terminology be changed easily to reflect standards? Does the system support the use of open formats and industry standards which will reduce the effort involved in any import/export process? Described Metadata is the tool by which records and documents are described in order to aggregate, filter, discover and manage for both business and recordkeeping purposes. The eDRM system must not present any practical limitation on the number of metadata elements allowed for each information entity. Does the system allow the creation of different metadata sets for different record and document types? Are there any limitations to the number and type of user-defined metadata fields? Can the system link lookup sets (controlled lists) to user-defined metadata fields? Can the system link hierarchical lists to user-defined metadata fields? To what extent does the system enable validation of metadata against user-defined business rules? How easy is it for approved users to add new terms/items to a metadata table? Does the system support inheritance of metadata from a parent entity? Is inheritance restricted to predefined recordkeeping metadata? Effortless (or Ease of Use) Effort refers to the work involved in performing tasks within the system, such as capturing records or searching for records. © Conni Christensen 2009
  11. 11. Horses for Courses: Choosing the Right EDRM software Product for your Business Conni Christensen Ease of use refers to the property of a product or thing that a user can operate without having to overcome a steep learning curve. Things with high ease of use will be intuitive to the average user in the target market for the product. Both effort and ease of use should be measured against existing information systems including email systems, Windows Explorer and SharePoint, in order to gauge the effect the eDRM system will have on business performance. How much effort will it take to educate user on the product (based on other user experiences)? Does the system use familiar paradigms that the user has already learned in using other software products (i.e. MS Office software)? Are user interface rules and behaviour consistent across all aspects of the system including windows, menus and commands? How labour-intensive is the process of capturing records? Does the system provide drag and drop functionality to capture records? Does the user have to perform a search during capture in order to locate a container record? Does the system enable thesaurus searching on non-preferred terms? Does the user have to switch between systems to capture records into the eDRM system? Can the system automatically capture the records into the appropriate file(s) based on their metadata? How labour-intensive is the capture of metadata? To what extent is system capture of metadata made possible (i.e. organisation, author name, document type)? Does the system recognise and enable connections between metadata fields (i.e. roles, functions, activities, records classes etc.)? How many keystrokes are required to input data into fields (i.e. dates)? Does the system provide intelligent default settings, and can the user create individual defaults for commonly used metadata? Does the system enable ‘type ahead’ to select items from a controlled list? Does the system provide features such as Undo, Redo, and Revert? Does the system employ keyboard and other shortcuts? Can the user configure workspaces to manage a filtered set of the their own documents, i.e. through aliases, favourites, bookmarks, etc. Can the user alter the metadata displayed in the search results or in the record information panel? Does the system give users the option to hide information they don’t consider useful? Does the system support auto-tagging based on known relationships? Arranged In most eDRM systems, records and documents are arranged in an organised structure, often known as the file plan. The eDRM system should provide flexibility in the arrangement of documents and records. How many different methods of arrangement does the system provide? Does the system enable classification terms from the BCS to be captured as metadata enabling business users to arrange documents according to work practices? © Conni Christensen 2009
  12. 12. Horses for Courses: Choosing the Right EDRM software Product for your Business Conni Christensen Does the system support multiple arrangements without breaking the links to mandatory classification metadata? Does the system support the virtual arrangement of records and documents to enable an individual user or business-centric view? Linked The DIRKS methodology identifies and documents many of the links between recordkeeping and business metadata elements. Not only do the functions and activities in the BCS provide context for records, but the BCS also links many elements in a recordkeeping system including roles, record (document) types, workflows, and records classes identified in DIRKS steps B and C. Every role, term, task or record type has relationships (one–one, one–many) which can be leveraged to support automation. Connectivity between these elements enables auto capture of metadata into recordkeeping systems. By building these known relationships into records management solutions, data entry effort by the end-user can be significantly reduced, or even eliminated. Does the system support linking between the BCS terms (whether in the file plan, or as metadata) and classes in the retention schedule? Does selection of BCS term/terms enable filtering of retention classes? Does the system support the definition of user-defined filters through known relationships? Does the system enable linking of document types to the BCS? Does the system enable linking of user roles to functions/activities in the BCS to enable defaults? Does the system enable links between preferred and non-preferred terms to enable thesaurus searching? Demanding usability There is already a whole range of usability tools, from simple to complex, proven and in use in a range of software products. Some, like thesaurus searching, have been available for decades in library and records management products. Some may be found in different types of software, such as accounting systems. And many, such as auto-classification tools, are in development or being refined. The challenge for records managers is to persuade eDRM system developers to build these tools into their standard product offerings. In conclusion Choosing eDRM products for your business is a great responsibility. Over the past decade we have learned the hard way that recordkeeping compliance is dependent on uptake and acceptance of eDRM systems by the people who create and receive records – the business users. Choosing the right eDRM systems for your business is dependent on providing these users with systems that are fit for purpose – for both business and records management. Clever system design will support recordkeeping success. The records management industry must recognise that it carries responsibility for the quality of design of recordkeeping systems. In having influenced the functional design of eDRM systems, records mangers must now recognise that they have the power to influence the usability design of eDRM systems. It’s time to exercise that power to realise the benefit that good recordkeeping brings. © Conni Christensen 2009
  13. 13. Horses for Courses: Choosing the Right EDRM software Product for your Business Conni Christensen 1 Model Requirements for the Management of Electronic Records (MoReq),Cornwell Management Consultants. Online: 2 Functional Specifications for Electronic Records Management Systems Software, The National Archives of Australia issued 2006. Online: 3 Agencies Cited for Poor Records, Washington Post Thursday, April 24, 2008. Online: 4Huge Fine for Financial Advisor BBC News, 15 May 2008. Online: 5Thousands of NHS patients' records 'go missing each year, Mail on Line, Thursday 22 May 2008. Online: 6 Spending on Iraq Poorly Tracked, Washington Post, Friday 23May 2008. Online 7 James Robertson, Blog: Column 2. Online: 8 Next Generation Electronic Document and Records Management, Andrew Rothwell, EDRM Practice Leader, GapGemini Presentation to RMS. Online: 9 Blog: Records Management Future Watch blog. Online: 10 AS ISO 15489-1: 2001 Information and documentation – Records management – Part 1: General; AS ISO/TR 15489-2: 2001 Information and documentation – Records management – Part 2: Guidelines; AS ISO 23081.1: 2006 Information and documentation – Records management processes – Metadata for records – Principles; AS/NZS ISO 23081.2: 2007 Information and documentation – Records management processes – Metadata for records – Conceptual and implementation issues. 11 Available from the National Archives of Australia site The National Archives, in collaboration with Archives New Zealand, is currently developing guidelines for implementing this standard. The implementation guidelines will be available late in 2008. 12 Australian Government Recordkeeping Metadata Standard Part 2: 1. Explanatory notes 13 Functional Specifications for Electronic Records Management Systems Software, The National Archives of Australia issued 2006. Online: 14 Design Criteria Standard for Electronic Records Management Software Applications (DoD 5015.2), U.S. Department of Defence. Online: 15 MoReq2 (Model Requirements for the Management of Electronic Records Version 2) Online: 16 Functional Requirements for Electronic Records Management Systems, the National Archives, UK. Online: 17 Electronic Recordkeeping Systems Standard, New Zealand Archives. Online: 18 System Requirements for Preserving Electronic Records, Public Records Office of Victoria. Online: 19 Principles and Functional Requirements for Records in Electronic Office Environments , International Council of Archives 2008. Online: 20 State Procurement Board of South Australia. Online: 21 Document and Records Management project, Queensland Government, March 2005. Online: 22 Recordkeeping Including The Management Of Electronic Records, October 2006 The Australian National Audit Office. Online: 23 Records Management in the Victorian Public Sector, March 2008, The Victorian Auditor General’s Office. Online: 24 Performance Audit Report Records Management in ACT Government Agencies, June 2008, ACT Auditor-General. Online: %20Media%20Release.pdf 25 Post by Red Kite, Monday, 9 June 2008, The RMS Blog. Online 26 Post by Steve Bailey Blog: Records Management Future Watch. Online: 27 MoReq2 Specification Part 3.1.4 28 About Keyword Classification, NSW State Records Office. Online: 29 Post by Rachel Hardiman, 20 Nov. 2007, Blog: Records Management Future Watch. Online: 30 The DIRKS Manual - Strategies for Documenting Government Business, NSW Ste records Office. Online: 31 Designing and Implementing Recordkeeping Systems (DIRKS) Manual, National Archives of Australia, 32 Post by James, 16 March 2006, Records Management Society (London Group) Online: 33 ISO 9241-11: 1998 Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs) - Part 11: Guidance on usability. 34 BS EN ISO 13407:1999. Human-centred design processes for interactive systems. © Conni Christensen 2009
  14. 14. Horses for Courses: Choosing the Right EDRM software Product for your Business Conni Christensen Conni Christensen Conni is the Founding Partner and a Director of Synercon Management Consulting. Her substantial industry and software product knowledge is founded upon more that 15 years of public and private sector experience as a records management consultant and trainer. Conni is in high demand in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States as a trainer, conference and workshop presenter on records and information management issues. She contributes to a wide range of industry publications including InfoRMAA Quarterly and Image and Data Manager. She is regularly consulted by industry and government on the change management issues relating to electronic records and document management. Conni is a member of ARMA International, and a former board member of the Records Management Association of Australasia. Conni is also the designer and product manager for a.k.a.® records classification and retention software – a product now used by over 300 organisations world wide including the Australian National Archives, British Petroleum, DuPont, and British and American Tobacco. a.k.a.® was selected in 2005 by the Queensland government for the whole of government development of thesauri and disposition schedules. © Conni Christensen 2009