What is Records Management Consulting?
Records management, often referred to as Records Information Management (RIM), is a complex and constantly evolving discipline that essentially governs what documents an organization keeps, how long they keep them, and when they can be properly disposed of. In other words, records management governs the lifecycle of an organization’s documents.
While some organizations have a records manager on staff, records management is often delegated to other staff members who may or may not be well versed in the risks associated with mishandling documents. A single paper document or digital record can open the door to risk and litigation if not handled in accordance with compliance regulations and statutes.
A dedicated records management consultant can help remedy many of the risks associated with RIM, while making your organization more efficient now and into the future.
Why Hire a Records Management Consultant?
Since compliance regulations and statutes change frequently, an experienced records manager can not only prevent potential litigation and audits—but can also reduce storage costs, decrease data overload and improve filing and retrieval processes.
Only a small percentage of organizational records are actually important, but those that are, carry significant weight in regards to risk. The remainder are often just excess weight, as organizations often store records that don’t pose any legal threat and are simply taking up space.
Some organizations even have large offsite storage operations in an attempt to save everything (just in case), but could significantly reduce costs by deploying a more effective records management system. Today, many records management systems are digital, allowing for even more drastic space savings.
What Will a Records Management Consultant Evaluate?
Aside from constructing an efficient taxonomy for records organization, a records management consultant will also diagnose a variety of other potential pitfalls that can cause certain records to be a liability.
- Is there a records manager on staff? This indicates a value is placed on your records as an asset within the company.
- Does records management start when folders are placed in a box? This indicates that the asset value is limited to paper records.
- How many times has the data been migrated? Data that has been through multiple migrations may have been truncated or corrupted.
- How many business units touch the data during its lifecycle? Various units will have different interests and ways of naming information, particularly in a Customer Relationship Management system.
- Are there written procedures available? Screenshots with handwritten notes don’t count—records management consultants are looking for a document with revision history, approvals and step-by-step narratives, desktop instructions, and/or storyboards.
- How was obsolete data removed? If it was archived, will it come forward in the new initiative? What is the impact? Will a particular set of data look like a false duplicate? If it was scrambled, were all fields scrambled or just the unique fields?
These are just a few of the areas of records management a consultant will look into. For a full list of important questions our records management consultants will ask, check out our blog post where our lead consultant lends more than 35 years of experience.
How Western Can Help
For more than 35 years, our lead consultant Cheryl Young has been immersed in the records management industry. She has served as a business process consultant, records manager, trainer, information analyst, and project/contracts manager.
Her depth of experience is an asset to any organization, helping establish effective records management, records retention schedules, repositories, and disposition strategies. Additionally, Cheryl has extensive experience auditing and overseeing records keeping for organizations both large and small.
Don’t have the time or bandwidth to scan and catalogue the mountain of records your organization has accumulated? We can do that too. Contact Western Integrated Systems today and we will create a roadmap that will streamline your records management and help your organization remain compliant in a constantly evolving industry.