Records Management… More Than Just Document Storage
By Sherman Pereira Crown Relocations, Regional Director – Central and Eastern Europe
In the past when companies were looking for solutions to remove or reduce costs from their business, the first thing they did was to remove old files from their expensive office space and put it into storage in a remote warehouse where the price was low and access was minimal. This type of service tended to be used for inactive archival documents, as a low cost method of keeping them safe until the end of their statutory retention period when they could be destroyed. This is the origin of Document Storage.
As legislation came into place requiring businesses and organizations to keep documents as evidence and technology has developed, the need has moved to that of managing information. This sort of active management, so an organization can quickly and easily locate & retrieve the information it seeks, has proven to offer such organizations competitive a advantage in addition to the more obvious benefit of regulatory compliance.
Nothing like the threat of litigation, fines, or even, in extreme cases, imprisonment for CEO’s, has focused business minds to ensuring that companies meet all of the statutory requirements issued via various Russian government repartments and regulatory bodies.
Corporate compliance is driving through a standardization of approach to the whole subject. Everything from referencing items, implementing retention policies, retrieval methodology and certified destruction is being standardized across multiple offices and across country boundaries. The drive for standardization of approach is resulting in many major multinational organizations reducing the number of suppliers they use in order to impose a single methodology throughout their business.
The key to designing a successful records management system is to incorporate the following characteristics: firstly, one needs to be consistent in the manner in which records are captured, managed and maintained irrespective of whether they are electronic or paper records.
Secondly they must be accessible to authorized people. One of the fears that people have when outsourcing records is whether their records will be accessible. A good records management company should be able to guarantee that records will be physically or digitally delivered within 24 hours.
Information must be held in a secure environment to protect against floods, fire and intruders.
Finally, retention policies should reflect the requirements of law. It is a pre-requisite to be able to provide a full audit trial of any item at any time and where appropriate a ‘Certificate of Destruction’ to prove that the document was destroyed in accordance with government laws.
To meet this need, the industry is developing ever more sophisticated solutions to automate the program as much as possible. Smaller companies are benefiting directly as a result of the investment that is being made into systems for multinational organizations, which makes managing everyone’s documents easier going forwards.
For questions relating to the topic above or any other questions relating to relocations please write to me at spereira@ crownrelo.com. I will be writing more about moving and relocation in next month’s column and hopefully also answering some of your questions.