What is the Value of Records and Information Management?
What is the value of Records and Information Management? To help answer that, take a quick mental inventory of all the technologies your organization utilizes that interact in some way with organizational information. Think about technology like email, personal computers, the web, smart phones, social media, etc. Think about all of the information captured, stored, and created using those technologies.
Now ask yourself – who is in charge of managing all of that information?
In many cases, Records Management tasks are being done by people with little to no Records Management Training. That is, because of the variety, volume, and velocity of information and information‐centric processes and activities, we expect users to identify, declare, and manage their own digital records.
The Dream: "Who better to manage my email, after all, than me?
The Reality: "But I have a job. I don’t have time to sort through the 100+ emails I receive on an average day – and if I go on vacation for two weeks, it will take me another week just to clean out my inbox."
And if the users haven’t been trained, or were trained maybe 30 minutes one time several years ago after a very expensive lesson in information management courtesy of an e‐discovery process, it’s difficult to expect them to do the right thing the right way.
All of these technological developments have had profound impact on how we create, manage, store, and access information today. Every organization in every industry and every jurisdiction is impacted by at least some of these, and most organizations face having to deal with all of them – if not today, in the not‐too‐distant future.
We must recognize the impact of these technologies and understand the information related to these technologies has value or the potential to create value, and therefore require strategic management.
The Role of Records and Information Management
Now that we've taken a look at a common business scenario without a Records Management program, let's really dig into the value of what Records Management can bring to the table.
Let's start with a definition:
ISO standard 15489: 2001 defines Records Management (RM) as the field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use, and disposition of records, including the processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of and information about business activities and transactions in the form of records. (Learn more in AIIM's Glossary Page)
Traditionally, organizations and professionals have viewed Records Management in terms of compliance. Compliance is important – but it’s not what keeps the CEO up at night. Rather, we need to position Records Management as a business enabler with benefits that extend beyond compliance to open up a world of new business potential.
How can Records Management bring value to your organization? Let's explore the key benefits:
- Enable Innovation: Digital transformation enables innovation in several ways. By moving from a paper‐ based way of working to one that moves at the speed of digital, products and services can be updated more quickly and more frequently, and new products and services can be introduced to the marketplace more quickly as well.
- Enrich Customer Experiences: This can range from providing more personalized experiences, to providing streamlined and faster ones, to enabling customers to access and receive your goods and services through a self service portal or website.
- Execute Processes Nimbly and On‐Demand: Move from a focus on total control of information and processes to a focus on ensuring flexibility when required.
- Engage the Next Generation of Employees: Helping to identify the types of information employees need to do their jobs and ensuring that it is available any time, any where, through any device.
- Minimize Risk: No matter how innovative an organization is, how engaged it is with customers and employees, or how nimbly it executes processes, it still has to identify and minimize risks, be they legal, operational, or reputational.
The bottom line is that there are numerous drivers for an effective Modern Records Management Program that can support and enable the business. We’ve identified a few in this post. These certainly include minimizing risk, ensuring compliance to legal requirements, and so forth, but a Modern Records Manager needs to also focus on actively contributing to and supporting the mission of the organization.
Think about your Records Management program (or lack of one). Can you identify a couple of specific ways in which it supports your organization's goals and objectives? If so, have you shared those with your senior management yet?