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During an ARMA meeting, held after hours at a newly renovated local museum, the docent on the tour told a story of the architect expressing his extreme displeasure at the sight of papers stacked on the museum staff’s desks. He reportedly said “There should be no paper!  It is not in my aesthetic! Use your computers!”

Designs of new office spaces are missing one element that once defined “the office” – filing cabinets and file rooms as companies downsize space in reaction to hybrid processes. Historically, companies have seized the opportunity of a relocation as a time to refresh the corporate image, and that has not changed in the wake of COVID.  It’s critical to the functionality of the final plan to think about how your business is going to get work done in a way that protects the company from electronic chaos with lost documents, mislabeled documents and inaccessible records. It’s important to identify all the places records can now be stored, from Teams meeting chats to text messages to chat bots. Any or all of them could be considered responsive during litigation or an audit.

 

Consider the following precedent from 2009: 

“Failure to adopt a compliant records retention and destruction protocol that permits cost effective access to relevant records and create an audit trail subjects the non-compliant litigant to sanctions and constitutes spoliation.”

(E.g., Starbucks Corp. v. ADT Security Services, Inc., 2009 WL 4730798 (W.D. Wash. 2009); Maggette v. BL Develop. Corp., 2009 WL 4346062 (N.D. Miss. 2009); Covad Communications Co. v. Revonet, Inc., 258 F.R.D. 5 (D. D.C. 2009).)

“A party’s failure to have compliant, cost-effective document management system won’t excuse duty to produce ESI because the burden is self-imposed.”

Starbucks Corp. v. ADT Security Services, Inc., 2009

 

Day-to-day productivity improves when an employee can find and retrieve what they need when they need it.  IT costs are contained when business records that are no longer needed, and, which have met their defined retention periods, are deleted from the system(s) of record.

The benefits of a well-thought out and managed electronic records repository are many and should be considered in the relocation budget in order to achieve the goal of “no paper” over the long term.

If your organization is downsizing office space, has run into challenges locating documents and records, if you are paying high rates for off site storage and retrieval, or if your content storage volume is growing exponentially because everyone is saving everything “just in case”, reach out to WIS!  We have the solutions to meet the challenge!

Our engineers have more than 15 years of experience with document management and digitization experience, and our records management practice is lead by industry expert Cheryl Young.  Cheryl’s decades of successful client engagements are backed by her high regard in the document management industry and her impressive certifications. Cheryl currently holds CSM, CSPO, IGP, CTT+, ermM, and ecmP certifications. 

Do you have a paperless initiative for your enterprise? Find out how our WIS team can help you wade through the legal and financial maze to becoming a paperless organization.