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Models for Action: Developing Practical Approaches to Electronic Records Management and Preservation

Theoretical Foundations

The Models for Action Project integrates and builds upon three existing bodies of knowledge: business process improvement, information systems development and electronic records management and archival requirements. The project originally intended to focus on integrating records management and archival requirements into system development methodologies in the networked environment. However, given that most effective system development is done in conjunction with business process improvement and that records management issues are fundamentally related to business process issues, not technology issues, project staff expanded the project focus to include the methodologies used by organizations to support business process improvement.

System development methodologies are primarily concerned with the implementation of new technologies, whereas business process improvement is concerned with the efficient flow of information. In order to maximize the benefit from information system implementations, it is critical that organizations develop an understanding of current business processes and information needs and flows, so that steps that add no value to the process can be eliminated and those that do can be redesigned if necessary. These efforts should be conducted with an awareness of the technologies that can support a new process, but should not be inextricably linked to any given technology solution. Recognizing the importance of this distinction, the Models for Action focus was shifted from improving or expanding system development methodologies to the development of practical tools that integrate the identification and examination of records management activities into business process improvement models.