The Business Side - Overview of RM Policy and Implementation Challenges

Creating a successful Records Management system starts with mapping out your organization’s RM goals, anticipating the challenges that you will face in making that vision a reality within your organization, and developing a policy and implementation that fits these needs. Since planning is key to both the policy development and solution implementation phases, it is important to outline the challenges faced at each stage so these can be kept top of mind when working out both your policy plan and your implementation strategy.

At the policy planning stage, the major challenge is to devise a system that encompasses your current records-keeping needs: content types, media types, storage requirements, business processes, and policies. It also needs to meet present legal and audit requirements, and be extensible and flexible enough to accommodate future content types and retention requirements. Another important goal is to enhance information retrieval, which will help employees do their jobs more efficiently and give your organization a competitive advantage.

In developing the policy for your organization, the challenge is to create an overarching policy document that is comprehensive but short, easy to read, and accompanied by actionable retention schedules that can then be put into practical use. Furthermore the policy needs to be integrated with the organization’s other enterprise content management policies, and be able to absorb and integrate previous record keeping efforts.

At the implementation stage, the major challenge is to create a system that suits your organization’s workflow, one that will actually be adopted by users and integrated into their daily activities. The implementation must be simple enough for employees to grasp quickly, easy enough to require only few extra steps (or clicks), but rigorous enough to meet the policy’s overall need for records keeping within the organization. Furthermore, any technology rollout must be manageable for the organization as a whole – not bring the business to its knees.

An RM solution that is scalable, easy to use, integrated and interoperable with existing applications ultimately has the best chance of succeeding. Ideally, the right records management system should also integrate with the organization’s overall electronic content management (ECM) system and be accessible and usable from within the employees day-to-day work space – whether this is Outlook, SharePoint or a custom work portal.

Key to a Successful RM Policy : If you’re going to ask your organization to stick to a records management policy, you want to make sure that it’s a policy worth sticking to from the start.

Tina Torres, Corporate Records Manager