LISA MOLSEED REPORTS ON ARMA INTERNATIONAL'S RECENT CONFERENCE
The word of the day is TECHNOLOGY!! Seek, and ye shall find a whiz-bang solution for a more efficient way to conquer the Information Monster! This was unmistakable at the 2004 ARMA Conference and Vendor Expo in Long Beach, California. The emphasis was not just managing records, but content and information management throughout a company. One of this year’s presenters commented that at past ARMA Expos (e.g. 1990-2000 or so), at least 75-85% of the vendors supported mostly paper-based records management systems (binders, boxes and shelving options). The pendulum has swung to the opposite side, where the majority of vendors currently offer software and computer-based systems to handle records and information management.
The driving theme force behind most Conference sessions was dealing with electronic records. Topics ran the gamut from exploring emerging technologies, imminent security issues, understanding retention requirements, to handling legal discovery requests. I liked the strategy of justifying records and information management expenditures to your company’s management by posing the question of what it would “cost” if they didn’t spend the funds on software and the energy on training its staff. Challenges to track information increase exponentially every year, no matter how it is captured (i.e. paper or electronic media). It was evident that paper storage in boxes is still crucial; however, both hard-copy and electronic information is integrated into the whole system. You not only can locate what is inside an off-site box (via the software), but can request delivery via the computer, without using the telephone! It is truly impressive how the right application, administered in the most efficient manner can free up time to face the next hurdle. It was quite worthwhile to attend the ARMA Conference and Vendor Expo, not only to hear the technical papers, but as a forum in which to exchange ideas with colleagues from a wide spectrum of industries and experience.
I gratefully thank the Scholarship Committee for providing the chance to attend a day of sessions at this year’s ARMA Conference, and look forward to attending next year’s event in Chicago. One year seems to vanish in a heartbeat; put it on your calendar – make a valuable investment in yourself!