Overview:  SEQ water was South East Queensland’s bulk water provider.  WaterSecure was responsible for supplying new sources of pure water to the region through desalination and water recycling. In 2011, they merged to form a single business providing bulk water supply to South East Queensland. For the records management team, the merger meant the amalgamation of two totally different recordkeeping systems, each with its own classification scheme, into a single Electronic Document and Records Management System (eDRMS).

The team had already implemented a successful eDRMS into WaterSecure and they set about replicating this work in the merged organisation.  In WaterSecure a.k.a.® 2 was used to build two taxonomies – a business classification scheme (BCS) for recordkeeping classification and a folksonomy for business users to classify their documents.  The two taxonomies were mapped to one another within the eDRMS.

The challenge: To develop both a folksonomy and formal BCS to enable users to classify information in the manner in which they work, instead of forcing them into using the BCS – essentially an artificial language used and understood by information management professionals, but few others.  Says Trish Wichmann, former Manager Records & Information at both WaterSecure and Seqwater:  “Anecdotally, the single greatest cause of failure for eDRMS implementations is imposing a BCS on end-users. They will go to the most amazing lengths to avoid using it, opting out of the system resulting in a growing disconnect between records in the eDRMS and records outside of it.  The outcome is loss of information, incomplete and inaccurate records and the consequent exposure to information governance risks.”

The solution:  a.k.a.® 3 was used for the development of the new information governance structures.  The folksonomy was developed in collaboration with business users, creating a folder structure which not only reflected the way users work, but also one in which they were willing and happy to work.  The folksonomy was deployed into a new shared drive prior to implementation of the eDRM solution, to enable familiarisation and testing and then to facilitate a major clean-up and migration of documents from other shared drives into the new folder structure. following the DIRKS methodology the team then redeveloped the formal BCS and linked retention and disposal authority. When both were finalised, the folksonomy terms were linked to the functions and activities in the BCS enabling comprehensive mapping between all structures.

The use of a.k.a.® 3 enabled development of all of the structures, folksonomy, BCS and retention schedule, within the same database. Terms were imported from legacy sources including the Water Secure database from a.k.a.® 2 into a common repository in a.k.a.® 3.  The creation of multiple structures within the same database from the same source of terms saved significant time and prevented duplicated data entry. And the ability to map terms in the folksonomy and BCS  provided a solution which met both users’ and records management needs.

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