Monday, August 20, 2007

The Alignment of Information Management, Knowledge Management and Records Management

Sally Gonzalez, Director of Navigant Consulting
John Szerkes, Director of Knowledge Management-Business Systems of Cleary Gottlieb
Peter Krakaur, Chief Knowledge Office of Orrick, Herrrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Sally kicked off with the "drawn and quartered" slide, with information in the middle being pulled in multiple directions.
You need to recognize and harmonize the treatment of electronic information. First step is to determine if something is a business record. If so, it should be classified, preserved and eventually destroyed with the rest of the paper records.
If it is not business record, the next step is the determine if it has business value. She pointed out that much of the records in the systems are not business records and do not have business value.
John's perspective started off with the dramatic impact Sept.11 had on his firm. Being so close to Ground Zero, Cleary was locked out of their offices for three months. They, dramatically, realized they needed a different approach.
When sending an email at Cleary, they need to check a box to send to a virtual file room (or not). When sending to a virtual file room, you need to add a client matter designation. The initial reaction was "you ruined my life!" After a week the furor dissipated. He now considers it a very successful project. They have lots of compliance on filing into the system.
However, the tools for retrieving the information had not been as successful. The issue was that retrieval relied on the Interwoven search. They overcame the obstacle by using Recommind to index and search the repository.
The records department examines all the items added to the virtual file room. Records will revise labels and categorization. They are planning to roll out Recommind's new auto-categorization tool for email.
The benefit of having the KM team involved in the process was the holistic approach they brought to the process. The biggest repository of knowledge are the items in the records management system.
1. What are the competing interests between IM, KM and RM?
IM is looking at the "plumbing." They are concerned with how they store it, how they back-it up, how do they maintain the database, etc. They also have to respond to litigation holds.
KM wants to retain as much as possible. It may have value at some time (the "long tail effect"). KM is focused more on how to retrieve and categorize the information. KM may want to use the business record in a different way. They want to redact a document or categorize it differently.
RM has more local issues than the other two. What do with records in China is different that what you do in New York. The goal (and they often fail) is to eliminate and destroy records after certain period of time. They records are in too many systems and in too many forms. RM want to preserve the sanctity of the record.
Peter has shifted to categorizing the matter rather than document classification. He advocates imputing the matter metadata onto the document.
2. What to you see happening at the firm that is impacting the relationships between KM, IM, and RM?
Peter brings up the changes in structure and growth. Adding practice area, laterals and changes in personnel creates a lot of work to keep them integrated.
John brings up the increasing flow of documents, as more and more documents and email are created, there is a bigger and bigger problem with trying to categorize and maintain them.
Sally brings up the need to design an information architecture so that the systems can communicate with each other.
Peter also points out the challenge of managing external information in things like extranets.
Sally brought up the situation of a client waving the attorney-client privilege, where the client asks the law firm to return all of the records on a particular subject.
She also pointed out how clients are starting to develop their own records management system. She expects clients to start imposing their records management policy on their law firms.
3. How is KM helping RM or IM?
Peter advocates the needs of communication and collaboration.
John brings the perspective of the needs of the attorney and the overall information achitecture to records management.
Sally points out the need for unified classification. Business needs and demands can demand some of the classification of information.
I found it interesting that at Orrick and Cleary, the records groups are folded into the knowledge management group.


  1. An most interesting post, particularly given my background in all three of these areas.

    I've not ever made a distinction between these disciplines and its good to see that, as knowledge is seen by more people as both flow and artefact, that they will (hopefully) converge for many other people one day soon.

    M :)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Thanks. I updated my link on similar post on KM, IM, DM - Survival of the Fittest.


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