Managing information is a complex and ongoing issue—and it’s vital to your business. Not only do you need to make sure that data is available to the right people at the right time, competitive pressures demand that data be leveraged to help you identify trends, respond more quickly to customers and to optimise day-to-day operations wherever information is used within your business.
Customer expectations are very high and grow higher with each interaction, so you must continue to improve the customer experience by making historical and transactional information readily accessible to your sales, service and marketing teams. Critical business information is needed at the CEO’s fingertips at all times to help make more informed business decisions.
Beyond day-to-day operations, today’s business environment is one of increasing regulations as well as more stringent internal corporate governance. Under these regulations and policies, information must be accessible and secure, and stored for long periods of time—for decades in some cases.
It is becoming increasingly important to capitalise on business information—transforming data into relevant, accessible information that creates business value. You must also find ways to sustain compliance and support governance mandates while controlling costs.
Why Records Management is Important
Documents are the by-product of captured business transactions and describe how organisations process and record their daily activities. Records are the official version of those business documents and become corporate assets used to document actions, decisions, and outcomes . Official document versions are records that must meet legal and regulatory laws as well as corporate operational obligations.
Today’s businesses are creating and receiving records at an astonishing rate. The volume of records is not only staggering but the records also come in a variety of formats such as :
•word processing documents
•digital images – scanned paper documents
•new media types such as blogs and wikis
•and these documents may reside on a variety of media:
•personal hard drives
•CDs and DVDs
...and some documents may also be created and reside temporarily on remotely attached devices like personal digital assistants (PDAs) or memory sticks.
Given the volumes of documents, combined with the diverse number of formats, companies are finding it nearly impossible to effectively manage their documents and records without an electronic records management system.
Data growth continues to accelerate beyond levels that can be easily managed – indeed, the overall quantity of data stored in electronic format is estimated to be doubling at a rate of less than every six months . A large proportion of this is driven by consumer storage of digital pictures, music and videos; but organisations are also seeing rapid growth in volumes of commercial data. This corporate data growth, often complicated by the need for internal and legal compliance, remains a major concern and has driven organisations to consider information storage and lifecycle management from a business point of view, rather than from a purely technical one.
For small to mid-sized organisations, this growth in data and information volumes runs the risk of being uncontrolled – not only will there be corporate information that needs managing, but also a mix of personal data, such as letters, photos and mp3s that may be being saved to central shared drives by end users. This blurring between the personal and the business is something that is difficult for a small to mid-sized organisation to effectively manage – a highly proscriptive approach can rapidly lead to employee demoralisation and to ineffective and inefficient work processes.