Are You Using Your Records Retention Schedule?

By Helen Streck posted 09-17-2010 14:45


This blog is the first part of a series that asks the questions, raises some issues and maybe answers a few questions about the use of a Records Retention Schedule.

When your senior management said “we must have a Records Retention Schedule (RRS)” did you feel a sigh of relief?  Did you jump for joy and say, “they are finally listening to me”?  I am sure some of the Records and Information Management (RIM) professionals were jumping for joy.  Now they can really get the RIM program off the ground, because the RRS is the cornerstone for what our program is all about, right?  You really needed the guidance that a RRS offers, that set of rules to help the organization manage its information. We cannot function as RIM professionals without a RRS, right?  So why are so many Records and Information Management Professionals and their organizations not using that cornerstone document to help them manage their electronic records?

Now that several years have passed, I wonder if that earlier victory of having management support the development of a RRS was just a fleeting fantasy.  Are you really getting the full impact value of a RRS or does it sit on the shelf/file on the server collecting dust, or worse serving as a door stop?  What is the value today that you receive from your past RIM victories?

We, the RIM professionals, have said for years that the RRS applies to both paper and electronic  records and information, yet, in 2010, less than 50% of the companies that said they have a RRS are actually realizing the fullest value of that single-now-simplified document.  Why?

Have we as RIM professional done our jobs with continuing to market the value of that important cornerstone?  Do we, the information professionals, know how to use that very document in electronic environments?  If you don’t, then it will be hard for you to be invited to the teams that are selecting, designing and/or developing the electronic information solutions. 

And yet, RIM professionals, have the knowledge needed by your companies to develop systems that manage electronic information effectively right in that cornerstone document.  You can use it in aiding IT in designing and developing classifications and taxonomies and the controls that manage electronic information.  That simple document, the RRS, if applied to the electronic systems, begins to show the “extreme” value of the RRS.

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