Why Corporate Records Need to Be Carefully Managed and How to Do That

December 15, 2016

Open data

Corporate information, knowledge, and expertise in today’s business world is rapidly moving into the digital world, but the assumption that everything is digital is to critically ignore two other important and often critical aspects of corporate information, knowledge, and expertise:  (1) much of this continues to reside in traditional, non-digital forms, often paper records but many other non-digital forms and (2) much resides tacitly only in the heads of the corporation’s leadership and its employees.  To effectively manage all the corporate information, knowledge, and expertise, one must take all these three forms of information, knowledge, and expertise into account and manage according to the best methods for each particular type – digital or otherwise.

An important downside to being digital and social is that it is much less personal than other forms of connection, such as face-to-face conversations.  On the plus side, however, in a digitally connected world, the need for efficiency pales in comparison to the need for speed, innovation, and change.  Further digital leadership has many benefits, the most important of which is faster and more direct connection to employees, customers, suppliers, and all other stakeholders.

Attorneys and other professionals responsible for managing the content of corporate records need to achieve various levels of understanding and responsibility about the quality of the content of those records in order to be extraordinarily capable in his or her field.  He or she needs to have the professional ability, expertise, and experience to:

  • Access the quality of the information, knowledge, and expertise in those records
  • Know how to classify – determine what is the type of information, knowledge, and expertise is in the record content
  • Organize the records so that their information, knowledge, and expertise can be quickly and easily found when needed
  • Detect problems in the information, knowledge, and expertise content
  • Develop solutions for the problems found in the information, knowledge, and expertise content
  • Implement effective solutions to the problems found in the information, knowledge, and expertise content
  • Assure that problems found in the information, knowledge, and expertise content do not reoccur
  • Educate firm members throughout the organization so problems found in record content are not repeated
  • Know what and when corporate information, knowledge, and expertise needs to be recorded and maintained in corporate records, especially when that information, knowledge, and expertise resides only tacitly
  • Design and manage an effective corporate records program that accomplishes all of these objectives

The points to take away from all of the above is that (1) effective management of corporate information, knowledge, and expertise is a critically important function, (2) needs to be taken very seriously by the top leaders and all other members of the firm, (3) is not a matter to be assigned to someone who only thinks mechanically and not creatively and professionally, and (4) it is a responsibility that is not easily, quickly, or unthinkingly performed.

(Adapted from the Preface to the 2016 edition of Designing an Effective Corporate information, Knowledge Management, and Records Retention Compliance Program, a Thomson Reuters publication.)

Readers of this blog are again invited and welcome to submit ideas that are not yet but need to be covered in my volume Designing an Effective Corporate Information, Knowledge Management, and Records Retention Compliance Program and also are invited and welcome to submit their proposed solutions to those ideas.