ISO standard 15489 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 information about business activities and transactions in the form of records.
It’s so “simple” as managing the records of your organization throughout their lifecycle, from the time they are created to their eventual disposal. This includes identifying, classifying, storing, securing, retrieving, tracking and destroying or permanently preserving records.
The key word in RM is “evidence”: managing the evidence of activities as well as the reduction or mitigation of risk associated with it.
What is a record?
A record is something that represents proof of existence. It´s an evidence that a particular event took place, regardless of the medium, format or characteristics. It is either created or received by an organization in pursuance of or in compliance with legal obligations, or in the transaction of business. Records can be either tangible objects, such as paper documents like birth certificates, citizen cards, and x-rays, or digital information, such as electronic documents, databases, website content, and email.
How to efficiently manage organization’s records?
Considering the existence of thousands of records, which continuously grow every day, it’s absolutely critical that your organization has the ones it really needs, in the moment they are really needed, while considering compliance, security and auditing issues. And that’s the role of a Records Management solution. Manage records lifecycle in an automated and dematerialized way so that you can easily:
- Create and capture records to meet requirements for evidence of business activity.
- Take appropriate action to protect the records authenticity, reliability, integrity, and usability as their business context and requirements for management change over time.
According to an AIIM study underwritten in part by Papersoft, Paper-free processes: measuring outcomes, Records Management is one of the main “paper-free processes candidates”. We asked respondents to judge where paper is continuing to increase (in red), and then to tell where they have made the most progress in reducing paper (in blue). As you can see, Records Management is the second one.
The efficient practice of Records Management should involve several activities. Check what have you done so far:
- Planning the information needs of the organization.
- Identifying information requiring capture.
- Creating, approving and enforcing policies and practices regarding records, including their organization and disposal.
- Developing a records storage plan, which includes the short and long-term housing of physical records and digital information.
- Identifying, classifying and storing records.
- Coordinating access to records internally and outside of the organization, balancing the requirements of business confidentiality, data privacy, and public access.
- Identification and maintenance of records for a specified retention period – according to organizational policies, statutory requirements, and other regulations this may involve either their destruction or permanent preservation in an archive.
- Designing, implementing and administering specialized systems for managing records (Records Management Solution).
- Integrating Records Management into business systems and processes.
Records Management benefits
As stated by ISO 15489, approaches to the creation, capture, and management of records ensure that authoritative evidence of business is created, captured, managed and made accessible to those who need it, for as long as it is required. This enables the following:
- Improved transparency and accountability.
- Effective policy formation.
- Informed decision-making.
- Management of business risks.
- Continuity in case of disaster or catastrophe.
- The protection of rights and obligations of organizations and individuals.
- Protection and support in litigation.
- Compliance with legislation and regulations.
- Improved ability to demonstrate corporate responsibility, including meeting sustainability goals.
- Reduction of costs through greater business efficiency.
- Protection of intellectual property.
- Evidence-based research and development activities.
- The formation of business, personal and cultural identity.
- The protection of corporate, personal and collective memory.
RMS (Records Management Solution) – the software you need to manage your records
A Records Management Solution (RMS) is an electronic archive tool that allows users to manage and control their records, through a secure and restricted access (by user profile), for both electronic and physical formats. It enables to search, track, store, organize, share and manage documents and relevant information for multiple business purposes.
If you are considering the implementation of a new RMS (digital and physical), ensure it covers the following main features:
- Secure access to documents and facilities based on user profile.
- Documents search by Metadata, by Free search or by Tags, or by georeferentiation (physical records).
- Document classification by multiple metadata fields (departments, entities, process, year, document type, subject, etc.).
- Retention schedules management per document type. Notifications control (alerts) for scheduled document destruction.
- Reporting status and monitoring per document/process.
- Metadata editing / deleting (depending on user profile).
- Image availability for downloading and sharing, or to be printed.
- Easy and secure online search.
- Online document storage.
- Files uploading (by document type and process type).
- User profiles / access conditions management.
- Status per document.
- Integration with the Document Management System and third-party applications.
Retention periods are critical to ensuring compliance with existing regulations. An automated monitoring service streamlines all the process and can be configured for each document type that alerts users on destruction dates and proceeds as per document retention policies. This allows an efficient document retention management policy for both physical and electronic records.
Records Management and process dematerialization
An RMS is thus a core piece of an overall Record and/or Document Management strategy. If you need any assistance in process dematerialization and automation just let us know. Our portfolio goes from the start of the process, with mobile capture, distributed capture, electronic signatures, automated data extraction, to the end, with Records Management, and also includes Digital Mailroom and Electronic Case Management. Whilst our focus is on efficiency, simplicity, and automation, we also know that most of our customers live in highly regulated industries, with strict compliance rules. Our solutions, therefore, have embedded controls, standards, and automation, to ensure compliance (process wise).
– Would you like to see a Records Management solution in action? Ask us for a demo!
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