Defining Success for Records Management

By James Watson posted 08-31-2010 17:45


This week a client asked about the key factors we look for that are indicative of a “healthy” records and compliance program.  How does an organization monitor the success (or lack) of changes implemented throughout the year? 

Over the past 5 years, Doculabs has been conducting benchmark assessments of records programs on a enterprise level. Looking specifically at the data, the first three aspects of the study look at policies and procedures and the information architecture/taxonomy. Not surprisingly, we find that policy definition is generally well addressed in the market. Yet procedures are much less mature, with the definition of a robust information architecture and taxonomy the weakest. Combined, these three findings suggest that organizations start with the easiest, i.e. establishing policies, but fail to translate these into a more dynamic procedural direction. Then, seemingly more tactical but just as important, they don’t get around to developing a robust meta-data model or taxonomy to support the policies and procedures.

The next three facets are the records management program, the supporting architecture, and the supporting organizational structure. Here we find records management programs to be fairly mature, many of them established more than a decade ago. However, we find many firms now struggling to adapt their records management architectures to address electronic resources – both content and data. Much more disappointing from a maturity level are the supporting organizational structures needed to provide direction, oversee implementation, and enforce the policies, procedures, and records management program. Organizations continue to remain siloed in their approaches to records management, with loosely aligned contingents from Legal, IT, Compliance, and the business units.

The next criteria are the enabling ECM technologies. These include document archival, search, email management, records classification, and workflow (for both the classification and ingestion of content as well as for eDiscovery).

A majority of the firms participating in the study to date have robust document archival capabilities. And for many, we see email management capabilities improving as well. Yet beyond those criteria, maturity levels begin to drop quickly, with most organizations having rudimentary levels of automation for records classification, only very coarse (and labor-intensive) search capabilities, with little or no programmatic workflow managing these processes.

#records #ElectronicRecordsManagement #electronic #Management