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The Evolution of Records Management

by | Nov 27, 2023

The Evolution of Records Management – Successful Records Management Initiatives Don’t Happen Overnight!

Filing cabinets. File boxes. Mainframe servers. Tape drives. PCs. C-drives. Shared drives. Laptops. USB sticks. External hard drives. Mobile devices. Remote access. Cloud repositories.

Native format documents. TIFFs. Emails. PDFs. Video files.  Audio files. Recordings. Text and Chat files.

Rendering. Renditions. Versions.

Hacking. Inadvertent data breaches. Malicious internal disclosure. Denial of Service. Ransomware.

Intelligent Document Recognition. Process Automation. Smart Learning. Robotic Process Automation. Artificial Intelligence.

In the 42 years of its existence, WIS has seen the evolution of technology lead to the revolution in managing an organization’s records, beginning with the creation or receipt of a document through its disposition of preservation or destruction.

They evolve over time, typically three to five years, and are living programs, requiring constant, consistent updates as technology evolves. It’s not “one and done”!

For example, financial services firms started their retention initiatives with message archiving to meet the specific needs for SEC compliance back in the early 2000’s when Blackberries were introduced. It’s seeing an uptick in SEC fines as the firms haven’t kept up with all the various platforms available to message in enforcement of their policies. As technology evolves, the management of the content has to evolve too.

Do you have one system of record (SOR) for the enterprise or department-level silos?

Is there an ingestion process that standardizes indexing before the document is filed in the SOR?

Are records managed based on content and not on format? Are you limiting email box sizes? If you’re limiting size, you are using format to manage your records, not the content of the email!

Are you treating records as a business asset? Is your Records Policy “Employees will use common sense”? (Really a company’s policy!) If that is your Policy, you’re not treating records as an asset!

If you have a comprehensive records management program with a records retention schedule, the tools exist to manage your records.

Intelligent document recognition takes paper-based documents and extracts information off of the page and compares the information against verified data, like in an ERP or CRM. Robotic process automation ferrets out messages that should be in your SOR, invoices in an individual’s email box that should be in AP’s, and, tags emails with retention periods based on the content. Artificial Intelligence can reduce the ROT (redundant, obsolete, transitory) in information silos, shared drives and C-drives. When it finds a record that is not in the SOR, it can refile it, with a notice to the “owner” that it is now being managed in the SOR. (This last one is a huge change management issue! Many employees see records as “theirs”, not the organizations.

If it has been more than two years since your Records Program and Retention Schedule have been reviewed for both regulatory requirements and internal compliance, reach out to WIS! In our 42 years, we’ve seen it all and have developed our solutions to address most of them! (We couldn’t do much with the paper pulped by a broken fire sprinkler system!)

Written by Cheryl Young

Cheryl Young (Senior Project Manager, CSM, CSPO, IGP, CTT+, ermM, ecmP) has been active in the records and information management field for over 30 years as a business process consultant, trainer, records manager, information analyst, contracts manager and project manager with specific expertise in RIM projects trusted systems and Lean process analysis. Cheryl is a frequent speaker with AIIM and ARMA.



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