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HP Software's community for IT leaders // February 2012
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Five steps to record management mastery

Where are you on the road to fully understanding and leveraging data assets? Chart yourself on the five stages of records management competency.

Information and business records are the lifeblood of any organization, and leveraging this critical corporate asset can lead to better business decisions—and reduce legal, financial and operational risk. A classification system of records management competency helps organizations evaluate their current capabilities and justify investments that will take them to the next competency stage.

Stage 1: Unaware/unmanaged
Business is highly vulnerable to operational, financial and legal risk.

State: With no formal process in place for the management of physical and electronic information, organizations at this stage have no policies, corporate file plans, or systems for managing records.

Risks: Businesses at this stage are mostly operationally inefficient and highly vulnerable to financial, operational and legal risk. Vital corporate records can be at risk of loss and inappropriate use.

Stage 2: Aware/formative
Electronic records pose operational risk and create considerable inefficiencies.

State: Organizations at this stage will have retention and disposal schedules applied for all vital paper records such as HR, financial and legal documents. Most electronic records are unmanaged.

Risks: With only vital paper records being managed, businesses at this stage experience slow and difficult search and retrieval of information. The organization remains at financial and operational risk with poor information sharing, no relationship between iterative documents and the final record, duplication of work, and decisions made on incomplete information.

Stage 3: Aware/developing
Disjointed user access constrains productivity.

State: Organizations in this stage will manage vital paper and some electronic records according to the corporate classification scheme, including application of retention and disposition policies. These businesses are likely to share information effectively and have lower e-discovery costs.

Risks: Systems for managing electronic documents and emails may be departmental or managed in a disjointed way. Decisions may be made on incomplete information. Organizations may incur costs and spend significant time to comply with audits and litigation.

Stage 4: Aware/competent
Records are maintained efficiently, but full system potential is not achieved.

State: At this stage, all vital paper and most electronic records are automatically classified in accordance with the corporate classification scheme. Records management is being increasingly automated, and collaboration and document-centric workflow processes are managed in a unified way.

Risks: Business-application-generated correspondence, notes and workflow audit trails still remain in separate silos. The full productivity benefits of best practices records management have not been met.

Stage 5: Focused/sophisticated
Records are leveraged for greater business value.

State: At this stage, the organization manages all vital records under a corporate classification scheme, applying security, retention, disposal and archive rules. Information sharing is simple, duplication of work is uncommon, and decision making is highly informed.

Risks: Organizations at this stage have taken steps to mitigate legal, financial and organizational risk and are well-positioned to take advantage of their information assets for better business outcomes.

Moving forward
Regardless of your organization’s current level of records management mastery, incremental improvements promise significant benefits. These benefits include savings in storage costs for paper and electronic records, reduced risk, greater productivity, improved ability to find and share information and make better decisions, ultimately increasing business process efficiency and reducing the burden of regulatory compliance.

For more on the path to a best-practices records management policy, read the white paper, “Progressing through the stages of record management competency,” and learn more about how HP TRIM can help you increase compliance and improve productivity and efficiency.


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