The role of virtual folders in developing an electronic document and records management system Meeting user and records management needs
Staffordshire County Council, Stafford, UK
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the favoured and almost ingrained way of managing groups of documents in systems, speciﬁcally in electronic document and records management systems (EDRMS), namely the folder, considered by many users as a sine qua non to any information system. Design/methodology/approach – The most signiﬁcant barrier to successful implementation of EDRMS is “culture” rather than cost. Implicit is a willingness of users to employ EDRM as their method of choice to achieve such an end. Anecdotal evidence and a real case example are shared to explore the approach to developing virtual folders to meet user requirements and organisational needs. Findings – Staffordshire County Council’s EDRMS does not employ folders. To save a document, users associate it with a level in the Council’s functional business classiﬁcation scheme (BCS); this is achieved through a series of “saved searches”. Metadata requirements are embedded within the BCS levels and the user chooses a title and functional association for the record. Practical implications/limitations – This is a way of adopting what exists as standard technology within EDRM systems to satisfy a user need. The vital part is to ﬁrstly recognise why the barrier existed in the deployment of a functional classiﬁcation scheme and further to move beyond the “face value” of why the users performed a particular methodology. More controlled and detailed research is required beyond the work that has been completed. Originality/value – This paper aims to provoke thought around the need to understand perceptions around documents, records and the systems, in particular EDRM systems, that manage them. Keywords Records management, Document management, Information systems, Public sector organizations Paper type Research paper
The role of virtual folders
Context There are many organisations, both public and private sector, which are either in the process of implementing or actively considering the use of Electronic Document and Records Management (EDRM) software, either as a product in its own right or as part of a larger enterprise system. It is certainly true that the deployment of such technology has enormous potential in addressing many challenges related to the management of electronic records and documents although the costs of implementation of such systems can be ﬁnancially onerous and protagonists often struggle to justify the costs against the organisational requirement of a short term return on investment. However, commentators have identiﬁed the most signiﬁcant barrier to successful
Records Management Journal Vol. 18 No. 1, 2008 pp. 53-60 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0956-5698 DOI 10.1108/09565690810858514
implementation as one of “culture” rather than cost; the acceptance of the system by the individuals and teams in an organisation who create, retrieve and use electronic documents and records and will be the principal users of such systems. EDRM success factors It is not always easy to identify what constitutes a successful implementation of an EDRM project or system. At one end of the spectrum it could be argued, and often is, that the physical existence of a working system available to users is in itself a successful implementation. However, this may be a sufﬁcient deﬁnition to satisfy an install of a standard software package but perhaps not an EDRM system, which can only start to realise beneﬁts for the organisation and those, which have been identiﬁed in the business case which justiﬁed the initial ﬁnancial investment by the organisation. A better deﬁnition of success may lie in the applied use of...