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Record Management Strategies: Plotting the Changes

Messy deskAs a professional member of, I have access to valuable resources that empower my clients to leverage their strategic knowledge to positively affect their bottom line. Recently, I downloaded an AIIM market intelligence report entitled “Records Management Strategies – Plotting the Changes”.  It is a must read for anyone implementing or revisiting an RM/DM/ECM strategy.

The days of strictly paper records are over, yet many organizations still follow the principles of managing paper records in an age when most records are now electronic.  Enterprise-wide sharing of electronic records is a game changer, but only if there is universal, one-stop access via a common classification system, with a single security model and universal retention policies.

The key findings below point to weak links in an RM system as well as potential solutions and best practices.

The volume of paper records is finally decreasing. Paper records are decreasing in 41% of organizations, compared to 31% where it is still increasing. This is the first time AIIM has measured a net decrease across all sizes of organization.

Access to records across the enterprise is still poor: 28% of respondents consider the accessibility of records to employees across their business to be poor or very poor. Only 4% consider it to be excellent – for example, being able to search an enterprise records system for records from many sources.

The goal of an enterprise-wide ERM system is still popular but is proving hard to achieve: A single enterprise records management model underlying all content systems is the goal for 58% of respondents. Only 9% have achieved this, although a further 12% have RM integration across organizational units or subsidiaries. 28% have no RM systems.

Support is needed at the highest level: Lack of commitment at board-level or C-level is given as the biggest reason for non-adoption of ERM systems, and the difficulty of securing agreement across departments is also frequently cited.

Key policies are not in place: Only 16% of organizations have a documented and effective information management strategy. A further 15% have such a policy but it is largely unreferenced. Less than half of even the largest organizations have a risk management plan that includes records management.

Reduced storage cost joins compliance as the biggest driver: Statutory and industry compliance combine to be the strongest drivers, ahead of reduced storage costs. Sharing and exploiting knowledge comes next.

Legal costs could be reduced by a quarter: Most respondents feel that audit costs, legal costs, court costs, fines and damages could be reduced by 25% with best practice records management.

Poor records practice can severely harm your reputation: 28% have had their records management and security practices criticized or exposed by an auditor in the last three years. 6% have been criticized by a regulator, 5% by lawyers and 4% (1 in 25) in the press.

Dealing with emails and agreeing taxonomies are still front of mind: Managing emails as records and agreeing corporate classification systems are the biggest current issues. Social, mobile and cloud are the least pressing.

Search and automated classification are taking some of the heavy-lifting: Many organizations (37%) are focusing on search to improve e-discovery and knowledge-sharing. Others (28%) are making increasing use of automated classification.

Resources for RM are being increased: A net 36% of organizations are planning increased RM budgets (50% increasing, 14% reducing) and a net 20% are adding dedicated staff resource.

Spending on system software is set for biggest increase: Spending intentions for dedicated RM systems, RM modules for ECM, e-discovery tools, and email management are high, whereas spend on outsourcing for both physical and electronic records is set to fall.

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