In a day and age of technology, redundancy processes, terabytes, gigabytes and duplicate copies of information, record management is a mundane yet critical practice all organizations should have nailed down. More and more often, the approach to maintaining data files is becoming the bread and butter of good business decision-making.
What Record Management Involves
Records management involves multiple areas of data collection, storage, and eventually proper destruction. The science is broken into multiple categories: input and collection, storage, redundancy and backup, and reduction. The input and collection establishes protocols for employees to follow on how data is created and the filing system it should follow for easy retrieval later. It also specifies what should be kept and what should not. Storage can involve both hardcopy and electronic files and establishes parameters on what storage means are allowed and what are not (i.e. hard drives versus paper folders versus networks or flash drives). Redundancy and backup involve maintaining safety copies of important information in case of disaster. And finally reduction specifies the allowable methods for data destruction and elimination from the business systems.
Statistical Assistance to Decision-Making
Records management allows easy collection of statistics. Much of business decision-making is based on trend analysis. Trend-analysis is developed and built based on finding patterns in information and data and making conclusions about the behavior of those patterns. The better the information management, the better trend-analysis and related business knowledge tends to be.
Avoiding Information Loss
Another key component of records management is preventing data loss. It can happen very easily: a file is deleted, the wrong folder is shredded, a bad employee walks out of the building with sensitive data.
Records management makes sure that there are preventative processes in place to organize and file information in a protected manner. Then redundancies are put into play such as backup systems and multiple copy repositories so if one file system is destroyed it can be quickly replaced by a recent copy. Finally, security measures help catch records that are being tampered with which can jeopardize a company’s wellbeing and interests.
Record management improves efficiency. Data is found faster, easier, and decision-making is improved by immediate analysis and information retrieval. Improved record-keeping reduces resource waste. Less paper and storage system space is used when proper protocols are followed. Accidental destruction and permanent loss is avoided when proper records management ensures recent backup copies exist. Records management also maintains a paper trail to help defend the company’s actions during litigation. Finally, records management helps maintain good organization when dealing with, responding to, and serving clients or projects. By keeping an organized information collection system, valuable data and information can be retrieved when needed specific to a customer or project.
Outsourcing as an Option
Many companies want to remain dedicated to their core specialties and don’t want to be so bothered with maintaining data systems. In such instances, it can be very beneficial to use a partner or vendor to maintain and design records management so the client company can just focus on their core business. The administration just boils down to paying for a service that insures the stored information is collected and maintained as the client needs it for decision-making. Many larger companies have moved towards this direction to be more efficient, sometimes outsourcing just backup services and others turning over entire record systems to vendors for better management.