Records and information managers, the traditional guardians of corporate records, face pressure to reinvent themselves as analytical, security-conscious content professionals with an ability to think creatively and manage change, according to a new study by Iron Mountain and global information industry association, AIIM .
By 2020, employers expect their records and information managers to be competent in risk management – with security and data privacy skills a priority for 50 per cent; content and information management across a wide range of formats and platforms (47 per cent), and data analytics (44 per cent). These findings echo the results of an in-depth study conducted in 2015 and suggest the profession is becoming more technical and more closely aligned with data analysts and colleagues in the IT department. However, the report also reveals that these skills may not be enough on their own; employers want records and information professionals to identify new opportunities in organisational information and to be able to support colleagues through disruptive times of change, such as a merger, acquisition or divestiture.
The concern is that the study uncovers a marked mismatch between what employers expect and what their information professionals currently deliver.
In terms of softer skills, the greatest gap is seen in the ability to manage change. This is regarded as highly important by 70 per cent of employers, yet only half of records and information managers are confident that they possess this skill today.
Instead, information professionals value their expertise in training, with 56 per cent listing it as one of their key skills, corporate communications (47 per cent) and mentoring (52 per cent). Unfortunately, these matter significantly less to their employers. Just 21 per cent of leaders are concerned about communications skills, and a mere 12 per cent give any weight to mentoring capabilities.
On a positive note, there is near agreement on the most critical soft skill: the ability to think innovatively. This is desired by 72 per cent of employers and is offered by 62 per cent of records and information managers. Further, they both rank ‘relationship-building’ ability as equally important: 57 per cent of employers and 62 per cent of records and information managers consider this to be a priority skill.
“Organisations the world over share common goals when it comes to managing information in an increasingly digital universe: they want to keep it secure and compliant while being able to analyse and extract its full value for business competitiveness and growth,” said Sue Trombley, managing director of thought leadership at Iron Mountain. “For the records and information managers at the heart of this, it’s no longer enough to be a competent records manager. It’s time for them to evolve into next-generation information professionals with stronger technical, analytical and management skills and the confidence to think, mediate and guide.”
“The more we talk to customers, our members and others the more we realise that current record and information management roles and responsibilities may not be enough for what lies ahead,” said John Mancini, president and CEO of AIIM. “The profession needs to adapt or face the risk of becoming obsolete, replaced by automated software or other roles such as data analysts and IT. We need to embrace change with high quality training and professional development, helping records and information managers to travel towards a deeper, richer and more varied career as an information professional.”
For more information read AIIM’s report: What will it take to be a NextGen InfoPro?
About Iron Mountain
Iron Mountain Incorporated (NYSE: IRM) is a leading provider of storage and information management solutions. The company's real estate network of over 64 million square feet across more than 1,000 facilities in 36 countries allows it to serve customers around the world. And its solutions for records management, data backup and recovery, document management and secure shredding help organizations to lower storage costs, comply with regulations, recover from disaster, and better use their information for business advantage. Founded in 1951, Iron Mountain stores and protects billions of information assets, including business documents, backup tapes, electronic files and medical data. Visit www.ironmountain.co.uk for more information.
i Next Generation Information Management Professional, AIIM and Iron Mountain, February 2016
ii Coleman Parkes for Iron Mountain. Coleman Parkes surveyed business decision makers and records and information managers at 900 organisations with between 250 and 999 employees, within the healthcare, public sector, retail, legal, financial services/insurance, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and energy sectors, in the UK, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany and in the US. Research was undertaken online in January/February 2015.