In my previous post I mentioned that I was heading to Switzerland to attend the first meeting of the Swiss Chapter of ARMA.
Here’s a run-down of that event…
The conference was held at Hotel Victoria, and there were 50 seats arranged. Thanks to the kindness of the organisers, another seat was found for me.
Before the conference started, I had the opportunity to chat with Jürg Hagemann (the President of the chapter), and Jürg Meier (Vice-President) and asked them how the formation of the Swiss Chapter came about.
It turns out that the idea was talked about over a few beers with Gavin Siggers, the Director of the ARMA Europe. (Gavin used to work at the same place that Jürg Hagemann works at, and now works at the same place that Jürg Meier works at.)
(Note - Jürg Hagemann has written a good post on this event also. Click here to read it.)
Then, after an official welcome, Gavin Siggers gave a presentation on ARMA. ARMA is a predominantly American organisation, but about 2 years ago, a region was set up in Europe. Normally individual chapters are formed, and then a region is formed to encapsulate the chapters. However, in this case, ARMA formed a region first (Europe).
What dictates the forming of a chapter is the number of members. Apparently, in the Europe region, 32% of the members are in the UK, 23% in Switzerland, 6% France, 5% in the Netherlands, and 4% in Germany. But, I was to discover, this was not only the inaugural meeting of the Swiss Chapter, but also of the first Chapter in the Europe region! (Even though the UK had more members, a Chapter had not yet been formed).
Jürg Hagemann also explained that, in Switzerland, professional associations are focused predominately on the public sector, and are strongly linked to archiving . The “Swiss Association of Archivists” (SAA) is the main association that covers this. In contrast, ARMA Switzerland is mainly a forum for members from the private sector where the main goal is to offer networking opportunities, as well as event and activities that encourage a better understanding of Enterprise Information Management (EIM) along with establishing information governance standards. However, the SAA & Swiss ARMA will coördinate their activities to the most benefit (it doesn’t make sense if SAA holds a vendor fair one week, and then Swiss ARMA does the same the week after).
On a personal note, I encourage any activity that leads to a better understanding of information governance, and it seemed that the people at this inaugural meeting really had the right idea!
After a few other “housekeeping” tasks, the “public” part of the Conference started. Oracle are the sponsors, and Peter Gobonya (WebCenter Territory Account Manager) gave a bit of a spiel on Oracle’s solution to records management of content on disparate systems.
Then…the keynote speaker (Christian Walker) swooped in with his Xoom tablet under his arms, and a grin on his face. Chris’ keynote speech was on “Unstructured Data” (there’s a link to this at the end of the post). It was based on several blog posts he had written (links at the end of this post), and which had caught Jürg Hagemann’s attention.
Chris went through his presentation relatively quickly as he wanted to leave a lot of room for discussion afterwards. And there were a lot of questions. Which Chris answered with aplomb, adding oodles of useful advice, and many jewels of wisdom (which I have captured and will share at a later stage).
After a coffee break, Uli Zipfel (from a pharma company), shared with us his presentation on Governance for unstructured electronic information – a streamlined approach.
This was a fascinating look into how the challenge of exponential growth in information, combined with increasing regulatory, and other legal, standards, was tackled so that every employee could share information, and the regulations were complied with.
From the sea of unstructured information that was scattered across multiple locations (hard drives, etc), a governance framework was put into place. This involved, first, categorising information as records – either official records (critical to business continuance), or convenience records (reference records, etc). Further to this, the location of the electronic information was taken into account – convenience documents were generally found on file shares, and hard drives. Official documents were found in Enterprise Content Management Systems. Depending on the type of record, and the location, retention policies & schedules were put into place. After the specified retention period, the records would be disposed of. (Prior to that, lists would be circulated to check whether the records were still required.)
Uli’s presentation also generated a lot of discussion. Clearly something that was relevant to the people present.
And this brought us to the end of the meeting.
One thing that was really clear to me, was that, here, in this Chapter of ARMA were a group of really smart people. And the Chapter had some excellent plans. In fact, the members were presented with a 6 page document containing topics (including Policy Management, Litigation, education, archiving, etc, etc) with related questions, that they could choose for interesting workshops.
Overall I was very impressed, and wish them well.I’ll try and stay in touch with them and see how they progress.
Chris’s blog post that were the basis for his presentation