A recent AIIM survey on electronic records management tells a story that's all too familiar: in most organizations, managing electronic records still lags far behind paper records management.
That companies generally fail to adequately address e-mail and electronic document retention
is news neither to us nor to AIIM. Sponsored by Xerox Global Services, the report indicates most users feel they've done a good job of implementing programs that efficiently manage information on paper. Structure is wanting on the electronic end, which ironically may have something to do with the fluid flow of electronic information and the ease of duplication and deletion. These factors tend to relax concerns over developing an organized information management structure.
"Many records management programs just cover the tip of the iceberg," states AIIM President John F. Mancini. "As the survey pushed participants for more granularities with regards to their records and information management program, it became apparent that many end users have yet to address important elements in a truly comprehensive program."
The survey also reported most end users are quick to see holes in existing records management programs, but are slow to address means of improving them. They did, however, stress three basic components to creating the ideal record-keeping solution. The three critical factors included improved efficiency and productivity, risk management and business continuity, and compliance.
The recent changes surrounding e-Discovery
create critical vulnerabilities for businesses across the board, increasing the pressure on IT by upper management to develop a management program for electronic communications and data almost overnight.
Some safe harbor exists for inadvertent deletions because of the fluid nature of electronically-stored information, but the AIIM survey reports it is the expectation surrounding the rules, that enterprises not merely tighten but wholly control their electronic information, that creates complications.
Because of concerns over e-Discovery and the historical lag on the enterprise end to implement strict electronic records management solutions, businesses are increasingly considering outsourced possibilities for getting the job handled as expediently as possible. Whether outsourcing -- now a common solution for many technical and logistical enterprise concerns -- is quite the right answer remains open to question.
A task as intimate as tightening grips on sensitive electronic business records is presumably best addressed in-house. Technology implemented by outside consultants can take an organization a long way forwards. And as the content services move deeper into the electronic infrastructure and as vendors such as Open Text
, and EMC
move to federate retention policies more successfully, we are certainly going to see more robust, accessible, and standardized software solutions.
The the task of setting priorities and empowering the Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) managers, however, is still one that lays much closer to home. And changing those factors is where the challenge remains.
Stay tuned here as the Records Management
struggle continues to unfold in 2007.