Embracing a new information generation

Highlights from the Information and Records Management Society’s Annual Conference 2023

As official IRMS event partners, Objective was delighted to once again support the annual go-to conference for information management professionals.

This year marked the 40th anniversary of the sold-out event and was all about 'Embracing a New Information Generation’, focusing on the new people, new skills, new ways of working and, of course, the new technologies all playing a key role in the world of information management.

Here are just some of our highlights:

It all starts with ‘why’

In an inspiring opening keynote, Emma Martins, Data Protection Commissioner at Baliwick of Guernsey, emphasised the increasing importance of data in our lives, and the significant role of information management professionals in managing this.

Emma stressed the need to understand why information management matters, and how highly-skilled professionals in this field are needed to ensure compliance and positive outcomes for citizens, communities and countries during a time of constant change.

With the explosion and expansion of both data and digital technologies, she called for the community to recognise its value, communicate that within the profession and beyond, and nurture future talent and skills to ensure success.

The adaptability of the information management profession was a hot topic throughout the 400-strong conference, with new tech trends such as AI, as well as common challenges such as data proliferation, dominating much of the programme

Do you know where you’re going with digital transformation?

Recognised digital transformation leader, Dux Raymond Sy, captured the audience’s attention with his Day 2 keynote: #ShiftHappens: How To Accelerate Purpose-Driven Digital Transformation.

In his words: “Digital transformation is a journey, not a destination… Do you know where you’re going?”.

To achieve successful transformation, Dux argues that we need to be clear on our purpose. “Take what you’re good at and put it into action to help others. That’s being purpose driven”. If we leverage our purpose and use it to enhance our company culture – “live and breathe it internally and externally” – then we can use it as a driving force behind digital transformation.

Dux’s guidance included four steps to accelerating purpose-driven transformation:

  1. Meet people in their ‘onlyness’ – value every stakeholder’s unique needs, ideas and perspectives to shape your digital transformation. One size doesn’t fit all; the power of technology is often in its flexibility to achieve tailored solutions.
  2. Empower people with relevant tools – empowered and engaged employees are productive employees. Equip teams with the relevant resources, systems and technologies to do their jobs.
  3. Make it easy to do the right thing – implement measures that allow people to thrive in a positive ecosystem. Encouraging accountability, trust and ethical values promotes success and drives positive outcomes.
  4. Facilitate sustainable adoption of new technologies – digital transformation requires tech adoption (taking 18 months on average) and change. To minimise impact and maximise benefits, focus on long-term integration and look at the behaviour of your digital workplace.

Unlocking the power of AI

Objective’s own Mark Macrae and Carl Feltham delivered a session observing the challenges and benefits of creating a federated data fabric to power AI/ML programmes for government organisations.

One of the main challenges faced is the presence of disparate data, spread across different departments and systems, with no standardisation or integration between them. This results in inconsistencies, errors, and data quality issues that can impact the accuracy and effectiveness of AI/ML models.

Mark and Carl stressed the importance of creating a federated data fabric to address these challenges – that is, a network of interconnected data sources that can be accessed and used by different departments and systems, without compromising data privacy or security. It allows for standardisation, integration, and optimisation of data for AI/ML, resulting in more accurate and effective models.

To hear more, watch our Chief Product Officer, Jon Palin, deliver this session in full here.

Community comes first

A key theme throughout the conference was observing the value of information management in the wider community. Jaana Pinnick, IRMS Vice-Chair asked attendees to consider “what is the ethical heart of your organisation?”, noting that their work “is all about the community outcomes”.

Meanwhile, Eilidh McLaughlin, Head of the Digital Citizen Unit at Scottish Government, considered what embracing a new information generation means for those who are digitally excluded, and the impact of this exclusion on information management practice. She discussed the need for openness, transparency and integrity, coupled with effective collaboration and performance orientation, in order to achieve good governance. Linking back to Dux’s presentation, Eilidh noted that people should consider their purpose and how they can help people that need it most, linking this back to the Scottish Government’s aim of creating a Scotland that’s fairer, happier and healthier and recent Covid-19 inquiries.

Get in touch

We were delighted to be a part of another successful IRMS conference and look forward to an exciting future with the professional information management community.

If you’d like to learn more about how our approach to federated information governance and how it can empower your organisation, take a look at Objective 3Sixty or get in touch today.