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Let’s talk about information. There’s so much of it, right? The plight of managing information isn’t new to you, me, or most professionals. If you need to, you’ll handle the issue on the fly, no big deal. Here’s a day we’ve all lived: you start perusing the network for the latest retention schedule for this year’s tax records at 9a, give up, and email Bill at 9:15a, because the guy knows everything about taxes. A patient two-hour wait and voila! It’s finally yours. You make your 30-second update and shoot an “instant” message to Barbara (who, as always, never responds) to let her know to update her department’s version of the retention schedule. Your job here is done.
This scenario doesn’t take much time out of your day, and it probably works, but how many times does it happen over the course of a week, a month, or a year? Even if you only put up this futile struggle once a week, you’ll spend 13 hours a year in this funk, and you’ll never have complete confidence that you have the correct data. Now factor in all the other people in your company that do this dance over their morning coffee.
You get it, this scenario is bad. But what’s the best solution? If the landscape of your nightmares is dotted with data silos and duplicate lists, and if the plot involves terror that you’ll drown in information, read on. For behold, the Golden Record rises on your horizon enshrouded in a single source of truth.
Now, to the point: what’s the Golden Record and how do you acquire a single source of truth? It’s not as mystical as it sounds.
The Golden Record, sometimes referred to as “the single source of truth” in information management, should be a crucial part of how you run your business. If your organization has ten different repositories that house different versions of the retention schedule you’re looking for, how do you identify the definitive one? The holy grail of retention schedule management is to be able to open one app, make changes, and have those changes auto-magically propagate to all the other systems downstream.
To get to this records management utopia, someone will need to decide which repository or list is going to be that single source of truth, who’s going to manage it, and how it will integrate into all the other systems you work with. And, keep in mind there might be thousands of other apps with which it might need to integrate, so the best strategy for your company might vary drastically from the best strategy for another.
Unfortunately, not every organization has the luxury of implementing this “single source of truth” from the onset. Instead, most companies grow into the need to develop one as obvious inefficiencies reveal themselves. Even then, many businesses reach this junction and are uneasy about the time and expense that goes into creating a single source of truth. As with any worthwhile venture, it won’t be without its annoyances, but your reward will be longterm efficiency for your team, compliance, and yes, money savings.
Without debate, a single source of truth is the best way to handle information in the business sector. If you embrace the idea of putting in the work and expense as early as you can to develop a single source of truth (the best time is always now), it can be the solution to unspeakable inefficiencies in your company. Not to mention the potential money-savings in discovery costs and saved time. The Golden Record is treasure, and it is lucrative to pursue.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this post is to provide general education on Information Governance topics. The statements are informational only and do not constitute legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the application of the law to your business activities, you should seek the advice of your legal counsel.