It’s often hard to make a business case for centralized records management because the nature of the benefits can be difficult to quantify.
Let’s first look at why we perform records management at all. At its core, we do it because data and content are strategic assets that make a direct contribution to organizational objectives, efficiency, and effectiveness.
The need for record-keeping is indisputable. In most cases, laws and regulatory requirements specify that certain records should be created and kept for specific periods of time. In fact, records are critical to helping organizations:
- Undertake and continue their business functions
- Make good decisions
- Service their customers and clients
- Maintain or enhance reputation
- Respond to legal issues, investigations, inquiries, and audits
Let’s examine some of the benefits of data, content, and records management.
Benefit 1: Reduced Cost
For many organizations, cost reduction remains the primary driver for records management and effective records management enables profitability by lowering the cost of doing business.
Effective data management addresses the challenge of storage growth within an organization. For example, if an organization stores 400 TB of electronic information and can eliminate 30% of this volume by managing the content life cycle more effectively, they save on 120 TB of storage.
As an example, if an organization stores 400TB of electronic information and they are able to eliminate 30% of this by managing the content lifecycle more effectively they save on 120TB storage ongoing.
In this scenario, a company saves $198,120.00 1 based on infrastructure costs alone, even before applying the 28% 2 of a single IT FTE’s time that would otherwise be spent managing this additional data. This is how effective management reduces costs.
A systematic and automated records management process can reduce the cost of these obsolete records and at the same time reduce the inherent risk present in keeping information for longer than required.
One of the core elements of Records365 is our connector framework, which makes it easy to connect cloud-based and on-premise content sources in a matter of minutes.
Benefit 2: Reduced Risk
The recent introduction of broad-based compliance and information privacy laws such as the EU GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 makes the need for effective records management more quantifiable and critical for decision makers charged with managing organizational risks.
Records exist regardless of whether they are recognized as such by the organization. For instance, consider vital records such as lease agreements, signed contracts, articles of incorporation, patents, and intellectual property. These one-of-a-kind records are critical to an organization’s operations in the event of disaster and require specialized tracking and preservation measures to effectively manage risk.
An effective overall corporate risk management strategy includes a systematic retention program to minimize risk related to legal matters and regulatory compliance. Risks to records fall into two categories:
1) Risks related to the security of the record or the information that it contains
- Unauthorized disclosure (for example, a staff member downloads and emails a confidential document to the press)
- Unauthorized modification, such as someone editing final versions of records
- Unauthorized destruction, such as someone deleting documents without approval
2) Risks to the record continuing to be available, readable, and usable for the duration of its lifetime (or retention period)
- Malicious damage and theft
- Environmental damage and acts of God
- Improper storage
- Failure to back up information
A well-designed records management system provides process and application safeguards against these types of risk across both electronic and physical content.
By ensuring appropriate information retention, systematic records management also reduces the organization’s exposure during civil litigation and investigation. Records provide a critical role as evidence in public liability, personal injury, breach of contract, and wrongful dismissal suits.
Benefit 3: Increased Revenues
When managed effectively, recorded information has a quantifiable value that is marketable and sale-able. Customer profiles and mailing lists are obvious examples, but this benefit also applies to broader business intelligence information, such as intellectual property or data about customer or client purchasing habits, preferences, and behaviors.
Consider the organizational value of intellectual property, such as proprietary technologies or processes, trade secrets, patents, product formulations and blueprints, trademarks, and copyrights. When correctly managed, these information repositories can create new business opportunities for the organization. One example is extracting intellectual property to market a new product, production method, or service.
Because the efficient management of these types of information also enables easy discoverability and retrieval, it delivers a distinct competitive advantage to the organization.
How to get started?
Understand your costs (and savings)
Knowing your cost base and the potential savings from investing in a records management solution is key to getting started. This requires a thorough analysis of IT infrastructure and data storage costs, and related costs such as IT personnel and soft costs. Be sure to also add the impact on productivity brought by managing high volumes of obsolete records.
Prepare for implementation
Before getting started, assess your records management readiness:
- Have you designated a formal records management role in your organization?
- Do you have a network of designated liaisons for records management in each organizational unit?
- Have you established a formal records management program within the organization?
- Have you instituted policies and procedures for records management and implemented an automated records management system?
- Have you identified and mapped the applicable laws and regulations that apply to your organization and industry sector? (for example, FINRA, HIPAA, SOX, GLBA, US 36 CFR, GDPR, DoD)
To ensure successful implementation of a solution, you have to be able to answer yes to each of those questions.
Next, identify the high-value records within the organization that are at high risk. Value can normally be determined by two main factors:
- Permanent value: generally one-of-a-kind records such as articles of incorporation, trademarks, and IP.
- Business value: records that enable organizations to undertake and continue their business functions, make good decisions, service their customers and clients, and keep their legal and regulatory obligations.
Once you’ve made these assessments, you’re ready to implement a records management solution.
The benefits of centralized records management illustrate why so many enterprises are implementing a content and records management solution for their businesses. At RecordPoint, our transparent layer of intelligence connects data, content, and platforms for complete security and compliance, and seamless information management. We can help your organization reduce risk, drive collaboration, boost efficiencies, and bring structure to data—no matter where it resides.
Ready to take a deeper dive into records and information management? Let’s keep the conversation going. Tell us your biggest challenge to getting started with content and records management. We’re here to help.
- Based on a 2017 average annual storage cost per raw TB of $1,651 (Gartner, 2018)
- The 2017 average number of raw TBs supported per storage FTE is 419TB (Gartner, 2018)