Information has always been an organization’s central resource. Without it, the modern company would not function. But why records? And why records management?
Business records at their core are operational and sometimes strategic assets. Much like financial assets, if they are not correctly managed, they can be in effect become “weaponized” over time to become organizational liabilities.
So how and when does information become a liability? And in what ways? Here are three quick examples:
1. Spiraling Costs – Drowning in Data
The volume of active files in an organization grows 25 to 50 percent per year. Uncapped and managed, this means organizational data storage and management costs can double year over year.
“So, what?” I hear you say – when data really becomes a problem, we’ll just delete some.
Ok then, so how does that work?
How do you know what data are you going to delete? Where is it? How are you going to know that data is ok to delete? And how you are going to record, justify and defend your selection?
These are the questions you will ask before you delete content. How are you then going to physically perform that selection and deletion activity over your entire information estate of twenty or more on-premises and cloud systems?
Put simply, having no records strategy means drowning in a blob of unknown and growing data, with no way out other than throwing the good data out with the bad – not to mention the organizational game of compliance roulette that entails!
2. Productivity – The Impact of Yesterday and Finding the Needle Today
Sure, records are central to the work of all organized entities and they record and sustain the work of the organization. But they are, to an extent, a drain on its resources as well.
What is often not well understood is that records can be as much a resource intense feature of operations as our employees, facilities, and equipment.
Some estimate that about 90 percent of all knowledge worker activities focus on information-related activities, e.g., creating, storing, retrieving and distributing records.
And by not dealing with both sides of the coin for discoverability – making search easy and reducing the amount to search – the productivity impacts are enormous. The larger your data set, the harder it is to find stuff. Then multiply this problem by the number of people in your organization to get an idea of the impact!
Managers alone spend an average four weeks a year searching for or waiting on misfiled, untracked or “lost” information, while information workers recreate lost information at an average of $180 per page. This clearly is not a great situation for organizational productivity and agility.
3. Compliance and Legal Risk – The Clear and Present Danger of Keep Everything
Now let’s really cut to the chase around risk. Fundamentally, an organization is compelled by law, by the risk of potential litigation, by audit requirements and by plain old best practice to produce evidence of its operations.
If the organization cannot produce the right information in a timely manner, there are real and quantifiable risks, costs and penalties attached.
These include excessive legal discovery costs across an unnecessarily large footprint of unorganized data, the considerable legal risk of producing information for which the organization is under no obligation to hold, as well as holding information such as personal data that it should not keep.
This is even before considering the compliance risk related to requirements for public and private regulatory obligations such as GDPR, HIPAA, SOC, and others.
Anyone who has been involved in a legal case will be able to tell you the difference between performing discovery on 1 terabyte of data versus 10. It runs into the millions!
So, what can I do about it?
It’s not all gloom and doom. In fact, it’s easy to begin addressing these problems and to get going with records and information management. Here are three straightforward steps:
- Educate, communicate and advocate. Become the change that you seek in your organization. Spell out the situation and the risks with your organization’s current approach to records and information management. Assemble a working group. Write an email. Schedule a meeting. Take small concrete steps.
- Don’t boil the ocean. Just start. Having a generic seven-year retention policy across everything is miles better than having none and goes some way to addressing many of the key risks and impacts.
- Get some advice and software to help. Productivity suites like Office 365 now have basic retention built in. And if you need more, like records across on-premises and cloud, physical records and an enterprise file plan – consider us!
Properly implemented records management has a bunch of benefits for the organization, better cost management, improved productivity and avoidance of compliance and legal risk.
It’s also easy to get going with what you already have!
RecordPoint is easy to use and is a trusted partner to reduce cost and risks associated with maintaining compliance and performing records management tasks.
We understand the challenge faced by highly regulated, government, and large organizations when running a records management program. Request a demo or schedule a time to speak with one of our records management experts to learn more about how RecordPoint can help your organization.