Big Data vs. Records Management: Both Sides Weigh in at #ARMA2014

By: In: ARMA 2014 On: Oct 17, 2014

There’s a battle shaping up between big data and records management.  However, this opposition is the driving force that will shape the practice of information governance (IG) over the next decade, suggests Barclay T. Blair, president and founder of ViaLumina and the executive director and founder of the Information Governance Initiative.

In a recent conversation with Blair, he spoke about his upcoming session on “Big Data and Information Governance: Friends or Foes?” at ARMA Live! Conference & Expo 2014. Here’s a sneak peek at what Blair will share in his upcoming presentation.

Big Data vs. IG

The reason for this battle between RIM and big data comes down to opposing practices for storing and managing data and information.  In the big data world, all data is good and more data is better. Data does not have a downside.  On the other hand, traditional legal/records management view holds that data does have a dark side and a certain level of risk. Some data should be disposed of, while other data should be kept for some time.

The Evolving Role of the Information Manager

Part of the responsibility of ARMA attendees and information managers is to better understand this battle and what it means for their careers and their organizations. Companies are starting to keep everything forever. That’s a risk, but it is a fact. Everyone who works in the IG space needs to accept and understand their value proposition in this new world. 

Playing nice with big data

Blair suggested that RIM and big data can co-exist and benefit each other. In fact that is the vision of IG. The first step to doing so is to understand some of their shared realities. One is the need to understand data and effectively categorize it. Here, traditional records management focuses on categorizing and emphasizes retention periods. However, effective IG practices focus on the overall operational environment for that information, such as access controls, movement restrictions, joint ownership, encryption requirements and project relationships. IG takes holistic view across the organization, as does big data, to understand what the data is so that something can be done with it. Big data is about analyzing and extracting value. The goal of categorizing it does not go away – it becomes a shared goal. Put another way, “delete” is just another category.

Another shared reality is that the road to big data riches is full of pot holes and barriers that can only be removed through IG.  Most big data business models cannot be achieved without information governance; they are completely interdependent.  When evaluating data, both sides have the same fundamental questions: Who owns that data?  Can I move it across jurisdictions?  Which is relevant and which is not? All are relevant to both IG and big data. If you can’t answer these questions, you cannot achieve success with either.

To learn more about this timely topic, plan to attend Barclay T. Blair’s session at ARMA on Monday, Oct. 27 at 8 a.m.

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Eileen Sweeney

Senior Vice President and General Manager, Data Management Eileen Sweeney leads Iron Mountainês Global Data Management business which provides service to more than 30,000 customers across 75 markets via nearly 100 data management facilities. Sweeney is responsible for the continued development of the data management portfolio to support customersê evolving information management needs. Prior to joining Iron Mountain, Sweeney served as Vice President and General Manager of CSCês global manufacturing segment where she improved the groupês pipeline development and increased operating growth. She spent 20 years with CSC, and held a number of senior positions including global president of the manufacturing sector and managing director of the consulting group. Prior to CSC, Sweeney worked at Coopers & Lybrand Consulting and General Electric. She holds a Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Union College.