What do you feel are the top three challenges facing our industry today? On that note, what do you feel are our top three opportunities? This is the first question presented to the candidates?

27 thoughts on “What do you feel are the top three challenges facing our industry today? On that note, what do you feel are our top three opportunities? This is the first question presented to the candidates?”

  1. I feel three of the biggest challenges are as follows:
    * Failure of organizational leadership to properly assess the value and importance of information governance.
    * Lack of opportunities for emerging professionals
    * Lack of collaboration between our industry and all other relevant industries

    I feel our top three opportunities are as follows:
    * There could be a lot more we could be doing for the organizations we serve. This potential for growth is something we cannot overlook.
    * There is an opportunity for legacy professionals working in our industry to delegate a portion of their duties to incoming professionals in order to free up their time for more high level managerial decisions
    * Information governance as an industry is in a position to help build bridges between groups of related professions, rather than continue to allow the compartmentalization of expertise that has become so common in so many organizations.

  2. I feel the top three challenges are:
    1. RIM not having a seat at the table
    2. RIM being viewed as a tactical discipline
    3. RIM legacy mindset obstacles – not investing time and resources in increasing emotional agility self-governance

    An emotional agility self-governance plan is the one opportunity that will directly impact all other opportunities mentioned. It is the one plan or skill that will take all other ideas to the next level, and be there at every stage, no matter what changes occur in our unpredictable world. In other words, all the opportunities that we may list will not serve us well without the emotional agility to execute them.

  3. Hello ARMA Leaders! I would like to make this an engaging conversation. Please click the red “Reply –>” and share your questions or suggestions. I will respond!

    Top three challenges that are facing our industry today are:
    1) New laws and regulations
    2) Lack of executive sponsorship for improvement projects
    3) Limited outreach to develop potential RIM/IG professionals

    Top three opportunities for our industry today include:
    1) Specialized training or information to help ARMA members capitalize on opportunities that new legislation presents.

    For example, advice on having a conversation to obtain executive sponsorship or specific steps for implementation of improvement projects.

    2) Make creating or improving RIM/IG programs a competitive advantage to businesses.

    For example, collaborate with other industries to reward businesses who develop strong, well-sponsored RIM/IG programs.

    3) Increase development of emerging RIM/IG professionals and students.

    For example, there is an opportunity to create Young Professionals of ARMA chapters on college campuses where students can work with professors to certify more courses with the ICRM, increase awareness of AIEF scholarships, and host an interview conference with local businesses to get hired before graduation.

    Please click the red “Reply –>” and share your questions or suggestions below!

    1. Megan, With respect to your “Young Professionals” college campus idea, would you share your thoughts on which programs of study you would target?

      1. Excellent question, Wendy!

        I recall that my mentors and I stumbled into RIM/IG from completely different avenues of work. A good starting point, would be to invite people who are considering fields of study related to ARMA’s Information Governance Core Concepts: Risk/Compliance, Privacy, Security, Legal, Technology. Also, the ICRM has specific courses at university that would be eligible. So, I would consider including the majors who take those courses.

        Similar college majors would be Library Sciences, Communications, Computer Engineering, Law, Business Studies, Education, Management, — some schools now have Cybersecurity and Privacy courses. I wouldn’t create limitations, since students may be exploring different studies. These areas should be a great start though!

    2. Megan,

      Your #2 stated challenge is right on. Senior Management MUST set the tone and lead sponsorship for vital records program governance and compliance. Without C level buy-in, one’s program has little chance of successful implementation. To achieve this, I feel we could benefit from more education on the development of a risk profile. Executives need assistance in understanding the risks and benefits to a program if we expect them to buy-in and allocate necessary resources.

      1. Thanks, Marshall.

        I like your additional idea of developing a risk profile, so ARMA members can show back to the business the cost-benefits related to creating or improving RIM/IG programs. Possibly a template or diagram.

        I often refer to the Information Governance Maturity Model to identify and share with my team the next steps for our program. Perhaps the IG Maturity Model could be a stepping stone to developing a risk profile and developing key areas that will make a program a competitive advantage (for example, people will want to do business with companies that maintain security and make information accessible/available).

  4. There is a multitude of challenges facing our industry, but strategically the areas that often get overlooked are the business side of information governance. Professionals in the industry are not siloed in just managing information but must also possess a business and risk mindset to truly initiate and drive programs. In other words, the lack of recognition from organizations on the value of the information governance/records management function will eventually stunt the growth of the profession.

    With that in mind, I propose the top three challenges facing our industry are:

    1. Effective and Persuasive Communication

    Effective communication is key to obtaining buy-in, recognizing opportunities for partnerships between functions/departments, and the implementation process (e.g., change management). Even the best-laid plans will fail if they never get an opportunity to launch. Often, I hear about the inability to obtain funding for “x” or lacking resources to pursue “y.” How do you identify the appropriate tone, demeanor, and points of emphasis to persuade or drive change?

    There are opportunities to educate on the differences and to provide practical real-life samples of messaging that worked, as well as those that went awry as teaching moments.

    2. Monitoring After Implementation

    The governing of information and records is a continuous process and, while it is important to take the first step, there is a lack of resources surrounding the topic of what you do after implementation. Projects implemented often require follow up activities to assure that they are moving forward according to design, to correct when they are not, and to continue to demonstrate value to the organization. But, identifying metrics and corrective actions is easier said than done – too much and nothing moves forward, too little and you may not timely identify issues.

    Opportunities exist to educate and teach auditing and monitoring techniques.

    3. Managing Identity

    Regardless of whether referred to as information governance, records management, or records and information management, our industry discipline often exists as a component of a different overarching function. Most commonly, it is subsumed within legal, privacy, compliance, risk, and information technology. In that manner, the focus of the overarching function often dictates the lens from which information is managed. But, when the scales tip too much in favor of one perspective over the other, a cost is extracted.
    There is an opportunity to make and/or support business cases for an independent information management function and for ARMA to helm that charge. Alternatively, ARMA can educate and teach on how to effectively exist within that environment and carve out independence (depending on the items worth fighting for).

    1. Thanks for your question, Andrew!

      The first thing that came to mind is that ARMA has a great “My Learning” platform and they are open to suggestions for educational topics. There is an opportunity to grow the education library.

      This year, ARMA corporate office made the Professional Leadership Certificate available in My Learning to ARMA regional and local board members (a $395 value), which I am absolutely grateful for! I think more opportunities to earn certificates would be an excellent gift and investment in hard working local ARMA volunteers.

      When we think of ARMA, I also consider how local chapters play a role. As President of Orange County’s ARMA chapter, instead of completing the Professional Leadership Certificate individually, I decided to arrange for the entire board to complete the course together incrementally. We are completing one course/part of the certificate each week and I just held our first conference call today to discuss what we learned and how it can improve how we support our chapter members. We came up with great ideas!

    2. Hi Andrew –

      I believe that there are multiple paths that ARMA can take to address the above challenges and opportunities:

      1. Empower through education, practical training, and authoritative publications supported by key metrics.

      2. ARMA is already accredited as a standards developer and should take the next step to pursue ANSI accreditation of professional certification bodies under ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024. Attaining such an accreditation will lend additional credibility to certifications awarded by ARMA.

      3. Leverage and support the local chapters to provide professional development opportunities for its members. For example, scheduling times for members to meet with the specific purpose of developing skills e.g., for speaking/presentation skills, meet and have everyone do brief presentations (5 mins) on a key topics/scenario and obtain feedback in a constructive and non-judgmental environment (e.g., Toastmasters).

    3. Hey Andrew, thanks for replying. I feel the opportunities addressed many of these challenges, but to be more specific, engagement is essential.

      It is important that we engage with organizational leadership in person as much as we can, by going to the places they will be; conferences, conventions, etc. We can share with them how laws, rules, and regulations directly affect their priorities.

      In addition, we need to connect with the people who create these laws, rules, and regulations. When I was in Washington DC I met with senators to discuss the importance of information governance as a profession. We need to do more of this. ARMA can do more to help members connect with the decision makers who would benefit from ARMA expertise.

    4. Hello Andrew-

      ARMA as an association, has the platform to address these challenges and opportunities. ARMA has so many touch points to address these challenges and opportunists through our members, business partners, non-members, allie associations, etc. So, it comes down to setting a vision, a strategy, a plan, for which challenges and opportunities we want to address. It’s leveraging the support of the local chapters, local chapter leadership and regional leadership. In addition, its providing the local and regional leadership the tools and resources required to deliver on the strategy.

    5. Hi, Andrew.

      Most of the help needed to start discussions on the challenges and opportunities I mention can be accomplished with more education and proper resources.

      By providing trainings on the My Learning platform, leading panel discussions at both the Int’l conference and local chapter level that provide real-life use cases, and providing resources to websites, white papers, etc. our members can turn to for additional knowledge can help our members in creating much needed awareness. Coming armed into a C-Suite meeting with facts and the technical specs is one thing, being able to deliver this discussion with executive presence, and be taken seriously, helps build a strong business case and rapport.

      Being the Great Lakes Region Chapter Advisor for Education & Programming, I know ARMA offers a speaker/topic database that can prove beneficial when searching for subject matter experts on both technical and soft-skill presentations. I strongly encourage those with access to this database to keep it current so we can all help each other out by paying it forward with knowledge/resource sharing that can be used at both the chapter level and within our organizations.

      Thank you for your question.

  5. Thanks to those candidates who took the time to respond to these questions. I think ARMA’s biggest drawback is its lack of brand recognition in the “C-Suite”. CFOs and CLOs sometimes have a distant familiarity with ARMA, but CEOs, CIOs, and CISOs are generally not familiar with the organization. For RIM and IG to get the kind of recognition we all think it deserves, these are the men and women we need to convince. As a director, how would you suggest ARMA can best achieve this high-level brand recognition?

    1. Bob,

      You are correct, but I feel this is best achieved at the grass roots level. Members need to talk up what they are learning at chapter meetings.
      They need to avail themselves to the multitude of ARMA resources available and implement them. As their supervisors and managers see the value, so will their C level executives. Companies are always looking to achieve an edge over their competition and they look to see what others are doing that is successful. If we can attribute success in our IG programs to ARMA and show how these programs protect and financially benefit our organizations, the brand will grow.

    2. You’re right on point, Bob!

      ARMA has incredible advocates and speakers in our ranks. I would like to see us invited to the stage of conferences that engage these audiences head on.

      I was previously on a panel for CIO Magazine, so I would likely start there, since I have maintained CIO, CRO, CEO, and CISO contacts. I’m not shy, so I would enjoy the opportunity to speak or recommend ARMA presenters to engage C-Suite leaders at conferences.

      There are also local networking opportunities that target C-Suite, but I recently found out some are open to “potential C-Suite” professionals who want to learn. I’m planning to attend one of these meeting in February by an organization called “C-Suite Connectors.” I have learned that they are always looking for new topics and presenters — a perfect opportunity for ARMA.

    3. Hi Bob –

      ARMA can do a better job of marketing/reach outs to other professional associations that cater to the C-Suites thereby increasing its brand recognition. For example, booths at events sponsored by other professional associations, as well as authoring articles in a variety of publications dedicated to other facets of IG (privacy, risk, compliance, legal, etc.).

      ARMA should also form relationships with nationally recognized publications so that where events of importance that tie into information governance occur, an official representative of ARMA is provided the opportunity to provide its stance.

      ARMA should reconsider pursuing an ANSI accreditation for professional certification bodies. This would lend additional credibility to the certifications awarded by ARMA through a known and respected accreditation body that is already on the radar of the C-Suites.

    4. Hi Bob – thanks for the great question! I, too, am interested in building brand recognition for ARMA. I am also interested in building recognition for the records and information governance profession as a whole. As a central pillar for information governance in the industry, ARMA can help by partnering with like-minded organizations to build awareness in the business world, in the governmental and legislative arena, and with vendors and service providers as well. This will benefit everyone, including ARMA members.

  6. Hello Bob-

    Just like the business world is going through a huge transformation. I feel like ARMA is going through a major transformation as well. Especially, our brand recognition.

    However, in order to have high-level brand credibility with key stakeholders, specifically, C-Suite. We must ensure our personal brand has high-level credibility enough to leverage ARMA’s brand. We must be able to leverage the tools and resources available to us, to support our efforts from being considered as just a tactical discipline to an equal valued partner in the process of doing business. I feel like the way we communicate our personal brand attributes has a direct effect on the perception that others create about the value of ARMA. The more effective we are in communicating our personal brand, building relationships and the stronger impression we leave with others have a ripple effect throughout the organization, promoting our personal brand and ARMA’s brand. We all should consider ourselves as brand ambassadors.

    Just like the old saying, it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village (our ARMA community) to establish our profession credibility and professional brand. We (our membership) are the greatest marketing resources we have.

  7. Membership in most professional organizations continues to decline. About 75% of ARMA members belong to a local chapter which is fairly unique. Should ARMA focus more on its central organization activities and services or renovating local chapter strategies? What changes should be made to first stabilize then grow membership satisfaction?

    1. Thank you for your question, Charlie!

      Collaboration between the corporate office and the local chapters plays a crucial role in understanding what members want and attracting membership. Knowledge, networking, and participating in a local organization were reported in the 2017 State of the Association as the top three reasons why members enjoy ARMA.

      Not all organizations necessarily will feel the decline. Only organizations who do not make efforts to stay relevant.

      ARMA has demonstrated actions to rebrand and stay relevant. During the 2019 Pacific Region, Past-President Ryan Zilm mentioned that ARMA conference attendance has grown. In 2018, ARMA Int’l Board produced new Vision and Mission Statements and a new website. The 2017 State of the Association focused on what people enjoy about ARMA and how to cultivate more of it.

      Some of the results of this effort are in. The 2019 IG Benchmarking Report by Cohasset Associates (Sept 2019) found that over the past 3 years companies have become more aware of recognizing that RIM/IG requires ongoing commitment and investment (lack of recognizing this need for RIM/IG declined by 15%).

      Based on these improvements, I hope that local chapter leaders are seeing opportunities to rejuvenate their brand and generate new membership. I like the suggestion of focusing attention on chapters who need a to revitalize their membership and marketing strategies.

      The main impact of membership changes is that there are other ways to socialize and connect. At corporate and the local levels, I think we could stabilize and grow membership by embedding it as part of professional growth from an earlier stage — such as college chapters/programs in collaboration with ICRM, AIEF, and business partners. Additionally, by making membership a strategic advantage to businesses. I try to consider: Do customers want to do business with organizations who have well developed RIM/IG programs? If so, then the businesses will develop their program, employ more professionals, and deploy technology for this advantage. This would likely increase professional membership to stay cutting edge.

      1. In addition to this response, please take a look at the Board Election page for candidate responses.

        In my response, I mention the importance of communication and leadership development at the local level and strategies to improve.

        Thank you again for your question!

    2. Hi Charlie –

      A focus on local chapter strategies alone may end up alienating or creating dissatisfaction where the market and population is not capable of providing the necessary resources or activities. However, I agree that there could be more collaboration between the central organization and local chapters to create additional opportunities to network, learn, and grow. For example, as businesses continue to cut travel and conference budgets, members are either unable to attend national/regional conferences or placed in a position to have to choose amongst a lot of conferences. Due to this, their continued support and connectedness to the organization are through the local chapters. But, at the same time, the local chapters and members are enhanced by the brand and name recognition that is forged by the central organization. As such, I do not believe it should be a choice between one or the other.

      In considering the drivers for people joining professional associations, the typical influencing factors are career development, education, networking opportunities, and social aspects. The central organization does a good job of providing a lot of educational materials to its members, through access to articles and webinars (both free and paid) with the ability to earn continuing education credits. If the central organization continues its upward trajectory and makes more concerted efforts to enhance its brand, that will lead to better career development and opportunities. In addition, the central organization can provide more structure for its mentorship program to promote its growth, which will also align with professional and career development.

      Lastly, I believe that the central organization can look to social media and other technologies to be more inclusive of local members and make them feel connected to the national organization and hit on the networking and social aspects. For example, coordinating a common day for all local chapters to participate in “x” whether that is a networking event or a community event. There can also be meet up or “hangouts” over the web that can also tick that box.

    3. I’m so glad you asked this, Charlie.

      The first step is to provide the members with the information they need so they can make decisions about what is important to them. Any increase in transparency is good. That being said, I have always felt that the chapters are the foundation of our strength. This doesn’t mean that we can ignore the imperative of having a strong central voice to advocate for our profession. But that strong central voice cannot be at the expense of our local chapters.

      I want to harness the diverse expertise of our membership having been fully informed of all the information we have to decide what the right balance is.

  8. Keeping in mind my experience with eDiscovery, Legal, and Records Management, I feel 3 challenges facing our industry are:
    1. over preserving data/storage management
    2. governing and securing said data
    3. keeping up with ever changing regulatory compliance

    3 opportunities are:
    1. educating employees on what truly needs to be retained and the risks/costs of over preserving data, including PHI and PII
    2. automating defensible deletion, only disposing of data not subject to legal holds
    3. ensuring all levels of management are keeping up with ever changing regulatory compliance (this is both a challenge and opportunity)

  9. Hi Charlie, I recommend we do both. However, focus more of our efforts on transforming the strategies for our chapters. Specifically, the chapter boards. With any change efforts, it starts with us, the leaders. I feel like if we focus on us becoming more transformational leaders, this will contribute to shaping the future structure and direction for our chapters. In addition, contribute to the growth and well-being of our chapter members.

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