How can CIOs set up their teams to be able respond to the requirements and challenges issued by open government and, specifically, the goals set out in the Open Government Action Plan?
Quick and easy is the key. Additional positions are not within scope. However, CIOs can still respond to the Action Plan within their current infrastructure by realigning and forging new internal partnerships, and by fostering new working relationships between their data and information communities. Collectively, these two groups are well positioned as both are focused on the best ways and means to manage the content of all systems.
Articles in the January and March issues of CGE proposed a model to help a CIO’s team align the work of those managing content (Information Management, IM) with those who can make it happen (Information Technology, IT). The Business Information Model (BIM) emphasizes a new view which advocates a synergy among a department’s data and IM needs assessment, policy, management and end user education activities – while deleting the old siloed data and information management lifecycle approaches.
The BIM model is a pragmatic approach to align the work of the Data and Information Management shops under the purview of the CIO. Open government is not a trend that will eventually disappear. It is a game changer.
Time is of the essence. The timelines to institute the various projects defined within the commitments of the three Activity Streams are aggressive.
Within the Open Information stream, work has already begun to enable technologies that foster sharing – collaboration among departments and between departments and citizens.
Going forward, the BIM method can help achieve the goals of the Action Plan in two ways. First, by ensuring data and information follow the same path of being managed via a government-wide record keeping regime, rather than separate regimes. Second, by fostering a corporate culture where being open is the default approach to information and data sets.
Records keeping (RK) is about knowing the location of all data and information and ensuring both are reusable, until they reach the end of their lifespan. Further, RK is about disposing of information assets properly, as opposed to the costly approach of stockpiling data until the servers are too full to function.
The essence of the BIM is to ensure Records Keeping is built into all work affiliated with new technologies. The work of information management professionals is to create taxonomies that are usable by employees who create, use and make decisions with data sets; taxonomies must also be usable by the organisation that must report globally on where records of enduring value reside. Our archival records must not be allowed to sit and gather moss. They should be transferred to Library and Archives Canada – the very essence of accountability and availability from one of the key commitments in the Action Plan’s Stream 1.
Employees will play a key role in the BIM process: they are responsible for providing context and labeling their data outputs. They will ensure the needs of “open” information are accounted for at the design phase of projects they commission.
Using the Business Information Model to engage in a dialogue with employees ensures a structured approach that allows for easy explanation of information handling practices and business requirements to achieve the Action Plan. BIM is a non-complicated way to present how best to handle information or data with an eye to design, integrity, usability and manageability. BIM explains what considerations must be factored into the design of any future data set, ensures employees know what directives must be followed, explains how best to manage change of data infrastructure when necessary, and how and where to go when searching for data and information.
ARMA National Capital Region is a member of ARMA International, a non-profit whose aim is to educate, advocate and provide resources to the community of records and information management. To encourage further discussion on BIM, ARMA NRC brokers conversations among IM professionals from all sub disciplines on how best to align the work of business analysts and records professionals in order to breathe new life into the information management spectrum. IM is a business line that will foster success for the Open Government Action Plan.
Author: Trevor Banks, president of ARMA NCR Chapter. Visit www.armancr.ca. ARMA NCR is a member of ARMA International, a non-profit whose aim is to educate, advocate and provide resources to the community of records and information management. ARMA NCR hosts IM Days each fall in the National Capital Region. Participate in defining the BIM further.