Digital transformation case study

Thought-provoking presentations provide fresh ideas and new insights.

We were thrilled to attend the recent Archive and Records Association (ARA) Annual Conference in Belfast earlier this month. This was our first time attending this event and it was a fantastic opportunity to meet and learn from so many like-minded peers. Our very own Records Management Expert, Company Director and Information Management Consultant here at Metataxis, Noeleen Schenk was there, in both the roles of delegate and speaker. She shares her experience and notable highlights below: The Archive and Records Association (ARA) Annual Conference was a really enjoyable event. I got to attend many thought-provoking presentations and have come away professionally revived – buzzing with fresh thoughts and new insights to bring to our own client work. As an information manager, focused on current information and records, I am in awe of the work our archival colleagues undertake. I heard some remarkable stories how lost or nearly lost archives were rescued, how to catalogue archives to facilitate access, and how we can interpret archival content to further enhance our understanding of the past – these sessions were truly fascinating.

Key takeaways from the Archive and Records Association (ARA) Conference

  1. It is shocking to learn how many organisations and institutions do not value archives or consider their community memory
  2. Archivists are exceedingly proactive in engaging with their communities
  3. I will visit and view exhibitions in a whole new light and with much more appreciation
  4. We, as a profession, need to engage with archival colleagues so much more
  5. Archivists should be involved from the start of the record creation, and not just at the end of the life cycle
  6. Archivists are actively engaged with the management, preservation and interpretation of their records, while as information managers, we typically operate at a more arms length, providing guidance and policy at a macro rather than micro level.
It was great to be amongst such friendly delegates, hearing everyone talking with real joy and enthusiasm and to be part of such a shared passion for records management. We look forward to seeing you there next year! Learn more about how we support organisations with records management. ARA Conference 2023

Learn from the best Microsoft 365 speakers in the industry.

CollabDays is a Microsoft 365 community organised learning day. This free to attend, one day event offers delegates the chance to hear from some of the most high-profile Microsoft 365 speakers in the industry.

The next CollabDays event takes place on Wednesday 27th September 2023 at the National Museum of Computing, Bletchley Park. And we’re really excited to be there!

Featuring a series of sessions including SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Viva, Microsoft Power Platform, each session is delivered by internationally renowned experts and quite often Microsoft MVPs – and presents the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about these technologies.

We’re also looking forward to visiting The National Museum of Computing. This venue houses the world’s largest collection of functional historic computers and WW2 machines, including Enigma, Lorenz the working Turing-Welchman Bombe, the rebuilt Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer, and the WITCH, the world’s oldest working digital computer.

Register to attend here. We look forward to seeing you there!

Metataxis shares key recommendations for data retention at ARA 2023.

The Archive and Records Association (ARA) Annual Conference took place from 30 August – 01 September 2023 in Belfast – did you get to go?

This annual three-day event welcomes people from the global records management and archiving community who get together to network with peers, attend a range of practical workshops and hear from high profile speakers and influential players of the record keeping sector.

Our very own Records Management Expert, Company Director and Information Management Consultant here at Metataxis, Noeleen Schenk, took to the stage to deliver a focussed presentation featuring practical strategies to successfully design and apply retention and disposition rules for business records, as well as sharing a compelling case study and lessons learnt from a recent records management project for a major multinational company.

Don’t worry if you missed her, simply get in touch and we can share her records management recommendations and data retention strategies with you too!

Metataxis welcomes new staff member and boosts information management skill set.

Metataxis is delighted to announce the appointment of Sharon Stewart as our latest consultant, responsible for supporting customers with records management and improving information knowledge.

Working alongside the Metataxis team, Sharon is an experienced information management expert, ready to restructure client information to maximise the value of their data.

Sharon has an excellent understanding of knowledge management and provides valuable guidance to clients seeking to develop and implement information and knowledge management solutions that deliver real business benefit.

Marc Stephenson, Director at Metataxis adds: “We’re delighted to welcome Sharon to the consultancy team. The demand for information management strategies has significantly increased as companies look for additional expertise to drive value from their data. Her wealth of experience from a variety of industries is the perfect fit for our business as we grow and promote the importance of knowledge sharing with our clients.”

Say hello to Sharon!

Where the rubber hits the road: Implementation

In her latest blog series, Siobhan King, Senior Consultant at Metataxis, addresses the value of big bucket data retention and how to ensure complex records management requirements are accommodated.

Here’s part 6 – the final blog in the series, where she looks at how to successfully implement your retention schedules into the organisation.

Retention implementation plan

During this series, we’ve been looking at ways to simplify the retention schedule into bigger buckets. A retention schedule will usually take the form of a table which can then be applied to systems and communicated to staff. The retention schedule may be supported by a written document, usually a retention policy or records policy, and this will outline the governance, scope, roles, responsibilities, compliance expectations, etc. The last piece of the puzzle is the implementation plan, which is the practical application of the retention schedule to the records held in your systems.

Document the practicalities

It’s inevitable when talking to stakeholders that they will flag up concerns about the implementation of records retention policies very early on. In fact, they are likely to identify practical issues as reasons why longer retention periods should be applied to certain records. In an ideal world, these practical limitations should never dictate the retention period for a records class. Instead, steps should be taken to improve the metadata, or to improve processes, so that new records can be managed appropriately, and legacy records dealt with more strategically.

Adopt a risk-based approach

Because we work in complex environments, it is necessary to have some kind of strategy to apply retention to both newly created records going forward as well as older records created in the past. This means having a good information architecture that supports retention management and a risk-based approach to the legacy records.

big bucket data

Leverage simple systems rules

This is just one element of planning for retention schedules implementation. There are numerous practical considerations that can be taken in order to get through the bulk of retention management. And yes, you guessed it, opportunities to lump things together in the implementation plan. For example, your retention schedule may have the following two rules:

  1. Financial management – 7 years from end of financial year then delete
  2. Annual strategic planning – 7 years from end of financial year then delete

These two classes stem from different functions but require the same retention treatment. This means that a retention rule may be created in systems that states: “delete content 7 years from end of financial year”. It will do the job for both classes and if disposal is done in line with the retention schedule (meaning metadata also is collected) it doesn’t matter what the technical mechanism. This is also helpful for more manual applications of retention where searches for eligible records are done for anything older than 7 years in relevant system areas for both functions.

Capture stakeholder intelligence

Finally, remember those tricky discussions with stakeholders where they provided masses of detail? An implementation plan is the perfect place to capture all that valuable intelligence. Not the retention schedule. Retention schedules need to be super simple.

Avoid complex rules for your retention schedules

While there’s some scope to have lots of detail in a description field to help users identify the right retention period for their records, there’s not much room for nuance in your actual schedule.

The more “ifs”, “ors” and “except fors” you have in the schedule, the more complex your retention rules will be. Complexity costs. And your users will get confused by a schedule with too many caveats. Save these for the implementation plan – it will be valuable intelligence for dealing with those legacy issues! And the plan is the thing that will make your retention schedule real!

So that’s the final entry of the series. I hope you have found it useful. If you want to know more about what implementation plans should look like or would like to learn more about practical data retention and records management, simply contact us.