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An effective records management program is an integral part of an organization’s effective business operations. Organizations must consider records management requirements when implementing the system management strategies or whenever they design and augment an electronic information system. Organizations are required by law to “make and preserve records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the organization.” This legal requirement applies to electronic records kept by the organizations as well. Organizations that do not consistently adhere to standard records management practices run the risk of not having records that can be depended upon in the course of subsequent business transactions or activities. This paper focuses on the various methodologies that organizations can implement in order to develop ECM/ERM strategies that are backed with electronic signature systems. It also gives an insight into the various ways through which organizations can implement good IT practices to complement or parallel existing records management practices. In systems implemented in line with ECM/ERM guidelines, developing the most efficient systems will form the core of organizational success. This will be achieved by making electronically signed records the core of organizational IT systems. The organizational IT professionals will come to terms with the fact that signatures are an integral part of the records they keep. If the records need to be preserved, whether for a short duration of time or permanently, then the organization is required to promote integrity of its records by electronically signing them in scheduled series. Additionally, this paper discusses the general principles that govern application of electronic signature technology in organizations. Organizations can accomplish electronic signatures through the use of different technologies such as Personal Identification Number (PIN), smart cards and biometrics. However, some organizations can decide to apply additional technology specific-record management systems.
Records Life Cycle vs. System Development Life Cycle
According to Adam (2008), the terms “records life cycle” and “system development life cycle” are significant concepts that are often confused in information technology and records management discussions. Records life cycle: The records life cycle refers to the life span of a record from the time it is created or received to its eventual disposition. The process is usually carried out in three main stages: creation, maintenance and use, and eventual disposition (Sampson, 2002). Majorly, this paper focuses on information creation stage since the electronic signature record is created at the initial stage of the records life cycle. The second stage, maintenance and use, is the part in the records life cycle in which the record is maintained at the organizational level while in active use, or is maintained when not in frequent use. The final stage of the records life cycle is disposition, which marks the ultimate fate finish to the record. Most organizational records are categorized as having either a “temporary” or “permanent” disposition status (Addey, 2002). Temporary records are held by organizations for stated periods before they are destroyed or deleted. On the other hand, permanent records are initially held by organizations before they are eventually transferred to state and other involved agencies. The eventual disposition of the electronically-signed records is subject to debate between the involved agency and the statutory bodies, in which some organizations may be authorized to dispose some of the records. System development life cycle: The “system development life cycle” gives a description of the...