Previously we explored the difference between a record and a document and discussed some overarching concepts regarding the benefits that a records management program (RM) can provide for SMBs. This post will detail the numerous payoffs of implementing records management within your business.
Considering the volume and velocity of information that comes into your company, there may be only a small percentage that will be deemed a record out of all of that information. Moreover, handling records — especially the paper — demands considerable time and money due to locating adequate storage space and printing or filing all your physical forms. Fortunately, with a formal records management scheme, your business gains control over the growth of records and ensures the retention of the most relevant data.
Digital records management offers significant cost savings by reducing your storage fees and improving your team's efficiency (search is quicker, and the likelihood of lost documents goes way down). Plus, staff members can be retasked to more strategic duties.
Information is only useful when it can be found; if you cannot access your files when you need them, there’s almost no point in creating a filing plan or storing them. But with effective search and retrieval enterprise content management (ECM) systems, your company can make informed decisions in real-time. ECM not only makes document retrieval more streamlined but using templates, metadata, and automation functionalities, only your most important data can be utilized unencumbered.
Plus, if you are interested in using a records management system such as Laserfiche, data can be shared and updated remotely rather than solely on-premises. This functionality can be implemented both on-premises and in the cloud. This level of retrieval capability allows management to have all the information they need right at their fingertips with secure 24/7/365 access.
By implementing records management, your business can readily reduce litigation risks and the potential cost of non-compliance with regulatory mandates. A well-designed records management strategy can minimize the liabilities associated with document disposal or retention past its destruction date. Essentially records management mitigates these risks in much the same way legal counsel or an insurance policy might — protecting against unwanted or unforeseen future events.
As mentioned above, while most compliance risk comes from documents that are destroyed prematurely, there is an equal risk in storing documents for too long; records can and should be destroyed after a certain number of years, depending on the file type. If a file is retained beyond its disposition and should have been destroyed, it can still be used against an organization in legal proceedings. Most often, this occurs with emails and employee records.
Institutional knowledge share
An organization’s records can be considered a database that holds the contents for planning and decision-making. Every record created within a given business day could be used or referenced in the future for pivotal decisions, policy updates, etc. Since records document the ongoing activities at your place of business, they’re an excellent resource for fact-checking or confirming information related to one or more team members or for general institutional knowledge sharing.
This preservation of crucial knowledge assets is essential to your agency's continued success within your department in both the short and long term.
If you work or own an SMB and want to discuss how records management is critical for your organization, don't hesitate to contact us. If you are up for more reading, here’s an article on ECM strategy for SMBs and how to be strategic with automation.