In the current era of digitisation, managing records has become an essential aspect of every business organisation. Whether paper documents or digital files, proper record-keeping ensures that important information is readily accessible, accurate, and secure.
According to an IDC report, data professionals spend up to 30% of their work time each week on tasks related to data management, such as searching, preparing, and governing data. This becomes a significant issue when managing records, essential documents, and information organisations must store for regulatory, compliance, and governance purposes.
It is necessary to establish a systematic and efficient records management process for creating, using, and disposing of records to manage records effectively. This includes setting policies for maintaining different types of content throughout the entire records management life cycle. An effective records management process is essential for identifying and preserving organisational records of significant historical, fiscal, and legal value while also ensuring that non-essential records are promptly disposed of according to established guidelines and relevant legislation.
This article will discuss records management, its importance, and how it can benefit your organisation.
What is a record?
To define what records management means, it is necessary first to establish a clear understanding of what is meant by the term “record.”
Any information you generate, transmit, or receive as part of your job responsibilities is a record. These records serve as evidence of your company’s business operations and functions. Whether a document qualifies as a Sales record or Personnel record depends on its content and the circumstances surrounding its creation.
Records can take various forms, such as paper, digital, or other formats. However, the world relies increasingly on electronic records, the current standard for preserving essential documents in an organisation.
So in that context, some examples of records include:
- Social media sites
- Text messages
- Policy and briefing papers
- Research data etc.
What is records management?
Records management is the systematic control of records throughout their life cycle. It is the process of creating, classifying, storing, maintaining, and disposing of records in an organised and efficient manner.
And as discussed above, records can be in physical documents, electronic files, emails, photographs, or any other medium containing information. The primary goal of records management is to ensure that the organisation’s records are accurate, reliable, and accessible when needed.
A well-designed records management process serves four important purposes:
1. Create and classify records based on their importance and relevance to the organisation.
2. Store the records in such a way that is secure and easily accessible.
3. Maintain the records over time, ensuring their accuracy and reliability.
4. When no longer needed, dispose of the record and securely destroy sensitive information.
Challenges when it comes to records management
Effective records management is critical for organisations to ensure proper handling and maintenance, especially when considering the need to follow suit throughout the entire records management life cycle. Managing records comes with challenges, impacting the organisation’s efficiency, security, and compliance. Some of them are as follows:
1. Data Capture
One of the biggest challenges of records management is data capture. Thanks to the ever-growing data volume, ensuring that all business records are correctly identified and classified has become increasingly challenging. Additionally, data protection is crucial to meeting ongoing security and compliance protocols, which require organisations to ensure the safety of records from unauthorised access, accidental destruction, and other potential cyber threats.
2. Data protection
To meet various security and compliance protocols, organisations must ensure their records’ integrity, authenticity, and confidentiality. They should control security risks and protect records from unauthorised access, accidental destruction, and other potential cyber threats. Moreover, organisations need to preserve the authenticity and integrity of records while storing them to comply with data privacy regulations like GDPR or CCPA.
3. Data Storage
Another critical record management process is data storage. Storing records for many years, sometimes decades, is often necessary. Servers require replacement every three or four years, compared to the lifespan of records stored on them. Organisations must ensure reliable and scalable storage solutions to meet their long-term needs.
Therefore, ensuring the IT infrastructure used to keep records is fit for purpose, secure, and accessible for all necessary stakeholders throughout the entire records management life cycle is a significant challenge. Businesses also need to ensure that they have appropriate backup and disaster recovery measures to mitigate data loss or corruption risks.
Understanding records management life cycle
To overcome the various challenges of managing records, businesses must follow a clear and consistent records management process. Records, after all, progress through multiple stages collectively known as the records life cycle during their time in a records management system. These stages are as follows:
The creation of a record marks the beginning of its lifecycle, regardless of its type or form. It must be centrally stored, classified, and augmented with metadata for easy retrieval in the future. This stage also involves the classification of the record against retention schedules, which define how it’s managed and who can access or edit it based on specific rules and regulations.
In addition, organisations increasingly rely on computers to create records by extracting information from third-party systems.
The platform that bears various records management processes is primarily responsible for ensuring that the records are easily discoverable and shareable for stakeholders to access and utilise. Therefore, establishing proper permission levels is necessary to prevent unauthorised access and editing of records. It is crucial to maintain an accurate record status and, therefore, be able to distinguish between active and inactive records.
Companies must manage and store records for a specific period, which requires careful attention even for the shortest retention period. IT systems must ensure access permissions are regularly updated and integrated with the organisation’s authorisation systems. They must maintain the integrity of records by ensuring they store records in the correct file type for customers or vendors. The company must ensure that the records are searchable in multiple locations to provide users with relevant information regardless of location.
To achieve this level of maintenance, organisations must maintain constant monitoring, proactive governance, and a dedicated focus on delivering the necessary level of compliance and security.
The disposal process is a crucial step in the records management life cycle. It ensures that the systems destroy or transfer the records when they reach the end of their retention period, as mandated by legal and regulatory requirements.
The disposition process generally involves the following steps:
a) Identifying: To ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, records managers must identify and flag records approaching the end of their retention period. Performing this process is possible either manually or automatically.
b) Selection: Once identified, one can either transfer records to archives for long-term preservation or defensibly dispose of them by legal and regulatory requirements.
c) Disposition: Records managers are responsible for physically destroying or transferring records to the archives. Organisations must document the disposition process to comply with legal and regulatory requirements.
Archiving is moving essential records to an organisation or retaining them for future reference or regulatory compliance reasons. Automated digital archiving can ensure that retention schedules are consistently met, minimise filing errors, and enable data protection according to GDPR and other privacy laws.
Archived content usually remains immutable but still readable and compliant with legal requirements and standards, such as EU, GDPR and ISO:16175-2.
Benefits of Records Management
Records management processes play a crucial role in the smooth operation of any organisation, and there are several reasons why it is so important.
Every organisation has to comply with various laws, regulations, and industry standards regarding the storage and management of records. Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to legal penalties, fines, or other sanctions. Proper records management ensures that an organisation complies with these regulations and demonstrates that they are taking steps to protect sensitive information.
2. Reduce Costs
Effective records management can reduce costs associated with storing, retrieving and managing records. By adequately organising records, businesses can avoid duplication of records (and efforts), reducing the need for physical storage space. Moreover, having an organised records management system can help improve efficiency and productivity, reducing the time and resources required to search for records.
3. Risk Management
Businesses must manage the risks associated with records, including data breaches, loss of records, or unauthorised access to sensitive information. By adequately managing records, an organisation can reduce the risk of such incidents and quickly identify and respond to any potential threats.
4. Improved Decision-Making
An effective records management system can enable an organisation to access accurate and reliable information that they can use to make informed decisions. This can help improve productivity, efficiency, and overall performance, leading to better outcomes and increased profitability.
5. Historical Record Keeping
Records management is crucial in preserving a company’s history and legacy. By maintaining accurate records, a business entity can document its accomplishments, milestones, and other vital events in a structured manner. An organisation can use this information for future decision-making processes and, at the same time, gain insight into its past.
Records management, simplified with Doxis.
Several platforms are available for records management, but Doxis by SER is one of the best. Powered by AI, the Doxis Intelligent Content Automation platform assists in comprehending emails, invoices, contracts, reports, job applications, and other documents effortlessly. It can automate the information flow across the enterprise regarding various records management processes.
Here are some of the reasons why Doxis by SER is considered the best platform for records management:
1. Comprehensive Solution
Doxis is a comprehensive solution for records management, offering a range of features and functionalities that cover all aspects of the records management process, from creation to disposal. It provides a centralised repository for all records, enabling easy access and management of information.
It is a highly secure platform that offers advanced security features, including encryption, user authentication, and access controls. It also provides compliance with industry standards and regulations, including HIPAA, SOX, and GDPR.
As a highly scalable platform, Doxis can accommodate the growing needs of any organisation. It offers the flexibility to add new users, departments, and workflows, making it a highly adaptable platform that can meet the changing needs of any business entity.
4. Ease of Use
Doxis is an easy-to-use platform that offers an intuitive user interface, making it easy for users to navigate and manage records. It also offers customisable dashboards and reports, enabling users to view and analyse data to suit their business requirements.
Doxis offers seamless integration with other business applications, including ERP, CRM, and third-party applications. This enables organisations to leverage their existing systems and data to improve their records management processes.
The platform offers collaboration tools that enable users to share information, communicate, and collaborate on projects. It offers features such as version control, check-in/check-out, and audit trails, allowing users to work together on documents and records securely and efficiently.
Managing records and archives is crucial for businesses worldwide as it ensures compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, safeguards against data loss and facilitates efficient document retrieval.
Different industries have unique data retention policies and schedules, dictating record-keeping’s proper storage and duration. With ever-changing laws and regulations, maintaining accurate and compliant records poses a challenge to organisations dealing with a massive volume of information in diverse formats.
Doxis by SER is a highly comprehensive and secure platform for records management, offering a range of features and functionalities that find utility across the records management life cycle. It provides scalability, ease of use, seamless integration, collaboration tools, and excellent customer support, making it an ideal platform for organisations looking to enhance their records management processes.
Neologix is SER Group’s official partner in the Middle East. Our partnership enables us to utilise their flagship Doxis4 suite to build and implement innovative solutions for public and private enterprises in the Middle East. With over 20 years of experience, Neologix has all the resources you need to transform your organisation by improving efficiency, compliance, and, most importantly, driving business growth.
Start your digital transformation journey with us today. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or +971-521043226, and our team will contact you and help you build a custom records management solution that meets your business needs.