Farmers Insurance Wins Industry’s Highest Award For Records And Information Governance

Earlier this month, Farmers Insurance Group, Inc. was honored with the highest award for Records Management and Information Governance, “Excellence for an Organization,” by ARMA International. The award recognized the achievements that our organization has made in the implementation and enhancement of our Records and Information Governance program as defined by the Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles® and the ARMA Maturity Model®. ARMA announced the award in InfoPro Magazine and at the ARMA Live Conference in Orlando.

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Farmers recognized an opportunity to modernize its overarching Information Governance strategy. The organization invested in research, eDiscovery tools and policy development based on a holistic approach to Records and Information Management.

Key takeaways from our approach:             

1 – Less Is More – In a world where employees are being bombarded with information in both their personal and professional lives, less is often more. An Information Governance framework should aim to mitigate risks related to records retention, legal holds, privacy and other challenges with clear, digestible policies and well defined initiatives.

2-  Gaps Are Opportunities – Treat gaps, vulnerabilities and risks on the horizon like shared opportunities for all stakeholders.  Help reshape the optics around a problem by encouraging colleagues to help build a better future state instead of harping on old pain points and finger pointing.

3-  Relationships Are Key – Success at relationship building requires the right cadence and can’t be taught in school. Don’t be perceived as demanding executive support for IG and trying to force it on your colleagues.  Focus on facilitating environments and spirited organic discussions that support IG dialogue and help determine consensus.  Build your case carefully by developing relationships with peers across the enterprise and synthesizing that expertise and collaboration into a real solution everyone can stand behind.

Information Governance,  when properly introduced and deployed can help organizations make effective decisions that both protect their assets and reputation while reducing costs associated with records, data security, knowledge management and litigation support. To lead and become successful at these efforts you must remain an evangelist for the very process and approach.  In order to conquer indecisiveness and achieve you must coral the best independent minds around you, agree on your common goals and then address them methodically and professionally.

-Rafael Moscatel

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June 2016 Member Spotlight: Rafael Moscatel, IGP, CRM

Very proud to be featured by ARMA’s Info Pro publication this month!

Jun 15, 2016

ARMA received the following nomination from April Dmytrenko, CRM, FAI, for the Member Spotlight:

Meet Rafael Moscatel, IGP, CRM

Rafael Moscatel is a Certified Records Manager (CRM) and Information Governance Professional (IGP) with more than 20 years of experience implementing world-class records retention, data governance, and compliance programs for large enterprises. He designed process transformations, led team-building efforts, and spearheaded change management initiatives in a variety of complex and highly regulated industries. His expertise includes developing document management strategies, decommissioning legacy systems, performing risk assessments, and performing audit remediation.

Rafael truly understands his field and specifically IG and technology. He was instrumental in rolling out the enterprise-wide program at Paramount Pictures. Now he is working for Farmers Group, where he has established an outstanding IG framework from which to continue to support an effective program. He is proactive, strategic, and not only a talented RIM professional but an excellent business professional. He develops outstanding collaborative relationships, understands the value of senior management support and involving the business units, and is a strategic risk taker.

Moscatel lives and works in Los Angeles. He serves as the director of information governance for Farmers Group, Inc. He has been an ARMA member for 12 years.

As you can tell, Rafael is a great fit for the Member Spotlight, an honor meant to recognize members’ involvement within the profession and the association. If you would like to network with him, you can contact him through LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/rafaelmoscatel or at rafaelmoscatelcrm.wordpress.com

Read More Here….

The Paperless Office

By Rafael Moscatel

The extent to which any organization can reduce its dependency on paper is largely determined by laws and the industry regulations it faces, the technology available to it and how well its leaders manage change, internally as well as for customers.

Here are some thoughts on how to begin solving the paper problem around your office:

Understand the affordances of paper  One of the most thorough examinations of the issue of paper and its role in our lives and workplaces came in 2002 when MIT press published The Myth of the Paperless Office.  The book’s findings make a case for the “affordances of paper” and stress that to reduce paper production and consumption we must understand the underlying habits and processes driving how our clients and colleagues work.

Attorneys for example often require a contextual or “case at a glance” perspective that a chronological or issue focused file offers… a “story telling” approach to presenting information which can’t always be matched even with the best software. Similarly, auditors or project managers will often work with and create aggregated records which serve a specific purpose for which imaging might be overkill or too costly. And contrary to popular belief, there still exist quite a few scenarios where it remains more affordable, practical and efficient to even store information in paper form. Conversion costs and risks required to maintain the digital lifecycle of infrequently referenced documents and avoid bitrot* can often exceed those associated with retaining the same materials in paper form.

Make the right policy changes with executive level support  Every Records or Information Governance policy initiative or project your business undertakes should have senior level executive support and reflect the best practices within your industry.

Here are some policy and procedural ideas to consider that can act as catalysts for change.

  • Get a Retention Policy / Schedule, implement it and regularly enforce it -A Retention Schedule (often in line with a data map) is the most effective tool for properly managing records and information and its necessity cannot be understated.  It not only protects an organization and keeps paper and electronic storage costs low, it gives executives a tool for understanding and navigating the massive network of silos and records their businesses create.
  • Institute an E-signature Policy for all contracts under a specified financial threshold
  • De-duplicate emails and all other electronic content repositories systematically
  • Identify where duplicates are created, determine why and what can be done to prevent them going forward
  • Take a “final draft and / or executed version” approach to your document lifecycle rules Continue reading

Lead by example, forget about the credit…

We’re all well aware that labor intense records management projects, those in which repetitive, mundane grunt work is required, are avoided like the plague by employees and management alike. When a project does happen to spark interest and garner support, once it moves past the planning stages it can begin to feel like nobody on the team wants to be bothered with the actual logistics. Suddenly everybody is a “thought leader” and “focused on strategy” and that’s okay… but maybe that’s where some of our productivity issues actually originate. 

Ironically, what can emerge from these projects are new leaders, because these are also opportunities for individuals willing to actually roll up their sleeves. These are people who drive initiatives and projects forward because they’re more interested in getting the job done and learning something than getting (or taking) the credit.

It’s amazing what you can accomplish with pride and unselfishness—where you have people who don’t care who gets the credit. – Harry Truman

As knowledge workers we are supposed to naturally evolve and graduate into more sophisticated roles but more and more of us are also becoming out of touch with basic business operations, assuming technology will ultimately address all of the tedious processes we’re responsible for.  Many employees, even in the public sector, have simply become used to expecting management to throw more money at the problem or to bring in consultants (who will probably just hire temps) to catch everybody up… instead of addressing the real issues. Perhaps, it’s as John Steinbeck once remarked, that we’re all “temporarily embarrassed millionaires,” and that in the same vein, by performing grunt work, we are negatively impacting the way we’re viewed by both our superiors and those who report to us. That may be partly true. As Records and Information Management leaders and executives we don’t want to take a step backward, but there is a lot to be said for staying familiar with, remaining involved in and practicing the discipline which you claim to have expertise.

There is a lot to be said for staying familiar with, remaining involved in and practicing the discipline which you claim to have expertise.

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