Tuesday, January 7, 2014

This thing called records & information management

Some people may wonder about why we do this thing called "records & information management". What is they wonder? Why is it so important? What's in it for me (or your company)? Doesn't it just add to the overhead cost? So why records management?
What is it: What is records & information management--it is the practice of identifying, classifying, prioritizing, storing, securing, archiving, preserving, retrieving, tracking and destroying of records. This is done by creating a records schedule which identifies the records and the retention.
Why is it important: Records management helps to ensure integrity, authenticity and reliability of the records of a company or individual.  This slideshare by Omwoma Jacksongives top 10 reasons that records management helps the organization.
  1. To control growth and creation of records
  2. To reduce operating costs
  3. To improve efficiency and productivity
  4. To assimilate new records management technology
  5. To minimize risk to the firm
  6. To safeguard vital information
  7. To support better management decision making
  8. To preserve the corporate memory
  9. To foster professionalism in running the company
What's in it for me (or my company)? --Records management protects our reputation. Records management helps to reduce or avoid fines for non-compliance (see the FINRA's fine on Barclay press release). Records management also offers the opportunity to keep our records lean, so we don't spend a lot of time and effort searching for what is needed.
So what does success look like?
Records management is successful when we can find what the information that is needed. Can you imagine, having the right information, at the right time to make an important decision. Its successful, when there is an audit and everything for the audit checks out to be in good order. It is successful, when we prove in litigation cases that we have a program and that we do follow it. It is successful when operating costs go down and efficiency and productivity go up due to ease of access to information.
So why records management?  Hopefully by expanding on the questions above, I've answered this question. However, as pointed out in the Barclay press release:
"Ensuring the integrity, accuracy and accessibility of electronic books and records is essential to a firm's ability to meet its compliance obligations."