Every day businesses and organisations create records as part of their commercial, operational and administrative activities. Managing these records is of paramount importance. This process involves identifying documents that are of historical and archival value, as well as keeping any critical records for as long as necessary, and the timely destruction of particular records. The records management process is not only pivotal to ensure you adhere to any regulatory and statutory requirements, but it is imperative for quality control and efficiency.
There are several different records management solutions companies can opt to use. Nowadays, most businesses are embracing some form of an electronic document management system. This is ideal for reducing space and allows companies to store all of their files on the internet. Aside from this, businesses may opt to keep physical records in filing cabinets within their own premises. This will be managed by select employees and ensures immediate access to data. Finally, a lot of companies opt for offsite data storage. They agree a service level with a third party service provider. What option is the best to go for? The truth is, there is no right or wrong answer. In fact, most companies opt for at least a combination of two options, with some even embracing all three. Nonetheless, simply opting for onsite data storage is extremely risky. Not only will you eventually run out of space, but your disaster recovery plan will be seriously lacking. How are you supposed to retrieve your data if a fire was to occur for example?
In essence, records management processes are embedded into companies with the primary purpose of managing cost and risk. It doesn’t matter whether you are purchasing a diesel generator to ensure your business is never unable to run or you are updating your software, all costs need to be assessed and tracked. However, the benefits run a lot deeper than this. Efficiency improves greatly as you will have much easier and quicker access to particular records in response to legal discovery issues, external audits, and any regulatory enquiries. This also rings true for access to intellectual property and company information. As just touched upon, managing your records effectively will also result in cost benefits. You can reap the rewards of cost efficiency in relation to office accommodation, records storage, and electronic records storage and retrieval. This is especially the case when you consider how many bespoke options are available nowadays.
Furthermore, you ensure you comply with regulatory and statutory records requirements, which is obviously of paramount importance. Another way in which you improve efficiency is through better strategic decision making because of your improved management of information. You will also notice a reduction in the retention of ephemeral and duplicate records. Perhaps, most importantly of all, you give yourself the perfect platform for continuity and growth. This is because the risk of critical records being misplaced or mismanaged is reduced significantly and you can effectively plan by identifying and managing crucial data.
Hopefully, you now know all you need to in regards to records management processes. The importance of having an effective system in place is something that clearly cannot be underestimated. Nonetheless, all companies are different, and thus it is all about finding a method that works best for you.