This past week I was speaking and running a workshop at the annual ARMA event, this year held in the home of country music, Nashville, TN. As the sound of Dolly, Brad & Patsy echoed across the Gaylord Opryland, gathered together here were the best and the brightest in the world of Records Management.
It has been a long time since I attended or spoke at an ARMA event; much has changed in that period. From a decade ago, where archive boxes and their relative merits dominated the show floor, today the talk is more likely to be about the future impact of AI and Blockchain. in my sessions, the attendees were all well informed, tech-savvy and engaged, which makes sense, as these Information Governance professionals are all dealing with incredibility tough situations and are eagerly looking for solutions.
To be specific, they are looking for Machine learning and AI tools to:
- Undertake automated classification of records
- Perform audits across multiple repositories and file stores
- Improve search capabilities
- Ensure adherence to complex regulations
- To identify and enforce privacy requirements
There are many AI products on the markets that do most the above. There is no shortage of choice if those products are pointed at a unified repository or set of data.
But every attendee I spoke with is currently dealing with a patchwork quilt of content stores, multiple (in some cases thousands) of legacy SharePoint installations, ECM (Enterprise Content Management) systems, File Servers, and countless different EFSS (Enterprise File Sync and Share) systems. One utility company I spoke with has identified over 20,000 different locations for content in their organizations. Layer onto this patchwork quilt an environment that is now adding GDPR and GDPR like regulations to an already toxic compliance mix. The only feasible means of taking at least some control of these ever-growing eco-systems of content is through the potential use of ML & AI. At the same time, the only thing we know for sure is, there will never be a single repository, it will always be a patchwork quilt of silos, that will not change if anything it will get worse. In turn, that represents a massive challenge, and an enormous opportunity, for buyers, users, and vendors alike. So who wants to take the challenge on?
In Nashville, we dished out advice and guidance aplenty, we will be staying in touch with some of these firms over the coming years. A few at least are determined to overcome this situation, they know it will be a long haul, but that AI holds real promise. What’s lacking right now are clear roadmaps to success, technology vendors that accept the patchwork status quo and are prepared to work with it. Along with case studies that prove its possible and more skilled individuals willing to dive in and find personal, career and corporate success in transforming the world of Information Governance with the help of AI.