Records and information managers (RIMs) are central to an organization's information management strategy, but priorities, and therefore required skills, are also evolving, according to survey of 900 senior business executives and records and information professionals by information management specialist Iron Mountain.
Nearly half (48 percent) of North American information managers believe their roles and responsibilities have changed significantly in the last five years.
The survey found that both business leaders and RIMs agree that the ability to add value, insight and analysis around the information they manage, beyond simple reporting, is the most critical skill for RIMs to master in the digital information age, with more than a third (37 percent) of U.S. business decision makers and a 25 percent of RIMs agreeing.
While business leaders cited a strategic outlook and awareness of business goals as the second highest priority, at 23 percent of the respondents, RIMs ranked this fourth highest at only 13 percent of respondents.
"The best thing that an organization can do to help reduce the level of disconnect is to create and foster a culture across the organization with an open—and active—line of communication between different departments and key stakeholders," Sue Trombley, managing director of thought leadership for Iron Mountain, told eWEEK. "This will allow business leaders to better understand their record managers and what they need while record managers can better understand what their business leaders are looking for [and] how their role can add value in the organization and help achieve top results."
According to the records and information managers surveyed, the second most critical skill set is compliance and security capabilities, with 21 percent naming it as a priority compared to just 12 percent of decision makers. Information professionals rank the understanding of digital transformation in third place with 17 percent, compared to a mere 4 percent of business leaders.
The survey also indicated both the records and information managers and their business leaders are confident that information professionals have the ability to meet these emerging needs, although information managers rate themselves higher across all areas of expertise.
"We're living in a data-driven world, with more information coming from more sources in more formats than ever before, but only recently have analytics begun to play a larger role in this industry," Trombley said. "While some organizations are already adding value to their information through insight and analysis, this will be an even bigger priority for IT and RIMs to master and for decision makers to understand more clearly in the near future."
She noted organizations can use information and data to support activity such as new product development or enhancing old products, new customer acquisition, data breach prediction and detection, and improving efficiencies across the organization.
"Because of their respective roles, responsibilities and relative ability to drive change within an organization, it is crucial that RIM professionals and business leaders work together to ensure that the insight and analysis of the information is tailored to their specific audience's key business results," she explained.