Our ServicesAudits and Strategic Planning
Are you wondering how effective your program for managing your information assets really is?
- Do you really know if information is being managed effectively and efficiently and if meets legal requirements?
- Does it measure up against similar organizations and against best practices?
- Are you at risk for losing critical and irreplaceable information or of not being able to meet legal obligations?
The Information Professionals can conduct a systematic audit of your current environment and practices and provide a summary report of your present state. We then develop recommendations for program improvement and a roadmap that will move you towards an affordable program that will ensure that information is available, usable and can be relied upon to be authentic, reliable and have a high degree of integrity. Our strategic plans are based on your unique situation, our experience in conducting hundreds of similar projects and the availability of resources to design and implement the program.
Records Retention Services
One of the most difficult requirements to deal with when developing and maintaining an effective program for managing information assets is determining which pieces of legislation that are applicable to your company identify a requirement to retain records for a specific period of time. There are literally thousands of such Acts and/or Regulations but how can one even locate them in a reasonable time frame let alone keep track of them once the initial research has been completed?
The Information Professionals has been conducting this type of research for almost 25 years. We provide a wealth of research in identifying the legislation that may be applicable to you and in determining to which specific record types they should be applied. We are not, however, lawyers so our service is restricted to research and application to your types of records. Should you desire to have a legal opinion on the recommended retention periods, the costs will be reduced substantially because all of the research will have been conducted and assigned directly to the specific type or types of records.
We also offer reviews on an annual or biannual basis to ensure that your retention requirements remain current. We have more than 140 clients for whom we provide this service annually.
Ontario Municipal and Boards of Education Retention Updates
The Information Professionals offers annual updates to retention schedules for both municipalities and school boards in Ontario. The municipal update is based on The Ontario Municipal Records Management System (TOMRMS). The one for boards of education is based on the Boards of Education Records Management System (BOERMS). Both of these records management methodologies were developed by us in 1990 and we have been maintaining them since that time.
The annual update service consists of a complete review of applicable legislation, the provision of a completely updated retention schedule and a detailed explanation of the net effect of all of the legislative changes. You can obtain more information by writing to Michael O’Shea .
Classification Scheme Development
The development of a functional classification scheme that covers all of your records, regardless of storage media is truly the cornerstone of any program that hopes to manage the corporation’s information assets with any degree of efficiency. Other program components such as the development of retention schedules, assigning security and access levels to records and business continuity planning cannot be accomplished unless and until all staff members at all levels are “talking the same language”. If it is developed and implemented properly a uniform classification scheme promotes the sharing of corporate information in a very unobtrusive manner that actually promotes the flow of information rather than impeding business processes.
The Information Professionals will develop a classification scheme that reflects the way in which you actually work. It is based on the functions that you perform such as administration of the corporation, management of financial and human resource assets, and legal activities. Then we identify the various activities involved in each function (accounts payable, accounts receivable, policies, contracts, etc) and the types of documents used in each of these activities. The end result is a hierarchical scheme that can be easily applied to all paper and electronic documents wherever they reside.
Once the classification scheme has been developed the “common language” exists that makes it possible to assign retention periods, share information and to ensure that critical records are identified and protected.
Functional Requirements for Records & Information Management Software
A vendor cannot meet your requirements; they can only meet your specifications. It’s up to you to define your requirements in a manner that can not only be used by the vendors to provide quotations but also by you during implementation as a yardstick against which you can measure the vendor’s deliverables.
Requirements for managing information include both governance and access components. Governance means ensuring that you are doing the right things in the right way as dictated by statutes and regulations, industry guidelines and best practices. Access covers ensuring that staff can locate the information that they need to do their assigned tasks and that what they retrieve is accurate, complete and appropriate to the task.
Developing sets of user requirements is critical in ensuring that the solution that you purchase and implement meets your objectives and is usable. It must cover the management of both physical and electronic records including the ubiquitous emails. The requirements must cover conversion of storage media (from paper), security in terms of who can see certain records as well as ensuring that critical records are available in the event of a disaster. The requirements should also use your classification scheme and retention schedule as its key foundational components. Once the features have been delineated they must be put in a format that will make their meaning clear to prospective respondents and that will facilitate your evaluation and comparison of the responses.
The Information Professionals have worked with many clients to develop the detailed requirements and to convert them to detailed specifications that can be included in a Request for Proposals. We can also provide assistance in evaluating the responses and product demonstrations. Over the years we have developed the tools necessary to make this process relatively easy and to gather and interpret the data to make the best decision. Don’t end up in a situation where, at the end of the project you are saying “I know that’s what I asked for but it’s not what I wanted”.
Implementation of Information Management in SharePoint
SharePoint 2010 and 2013 have unparalleled capabilities to manage electronic information on a corporate-wide basis. If configured properly, SharePoint can automatically apply all governance data to any corporate document as part of a routine business function. When it is coupled with one of many third-party add-ons it can extend its capabilities to email and physical records thus providing a corporate repository that includes all documents, regardless of their format.
Rather than providing all of the services necessary to maximize your SharePoint implementation, The Information Professionals focuses on developing the content types (documents) and their associated metadata using your classification structure as a base. We then develop the Site columns and Term Store necessary to maintain the Content Hub and the Managed Metadata Service. We also develop the Baseline Security Model necessary to ensure that documents are apparent and accessible only to those who should have access based on their job function and security levels.
We work with your technology experts to ensure that SharePoint provides the type of data structure and document availability that you are expecting and we accomplish this without impeding the business processes; in fact we improve them.