Records management. You can’t get away from it, no matter how hard you try. So how does an organisation adopt a records management solution that fits the business, grows with the business and helps the business succeed?
Colleen Alber, product evangelist at Hyland, creator of OnBase, advises companies to start with what they know.
“Records management allows a company to meet legal retention requirements with regard to its corporate documents and records, thereby avoiding fines, jail time, unsuccessful audits and all sorts of other problems, from simple record organisation to legal discovery,” she says. “It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. If you’ve got an HR department, then you’ve got records requirements.”
For companies testing the waters before deploying a records management solution across the enterprise, Alber suggests choosing a department where retention requirements are already established. Smart records management solutions are easily configurable and provide customers with the ability to meet compliance or records retention requirements at a fraction of the time, cost and risk of manual methods.
If retention requirements are not established, Alber suggests working with a single department to define content types and associated retention schedules.
“I think sometimes records managers think that they have to have everything ‘sorted out’ across the entire organisation before they can begin using a software tool. This just isn’t true,” says Alber. “Pick a department or business unit and grow from there. Once the content is managed, the rest is history,” Alber says.
How a records management solution works
Hyland Software’s OnBase records management solution uses pre-defined rules to “fully automate” the process, from record declaration through final disposition. In other words, documents are automatically declared as records, events and holds are automatically placed on records, and records are automatically destroyed or purged from the system – all as a result of normal user or system activity.
“The beauty of OnBase is that one system is used for both document management and records management – meaning that a single copy of the document is both the transactional content and the business record,” explains Alber. “So, when something in the business affects the status of the record – the ‘change’ happens automatically behind the scenes.”
For example, when an insurance claim is closed, the records management solution locks users from editing the files. The loan officer can still view the documents, but he cannot make modifications.
As a bonus, it doesn’t matter how the user interacts with the document – from OnBase, to Microsoft Office to E-mail – users can continue to work in the interface that works best for them. (For users that live in Microsoft Outlook, we keep them there - providing OnBase content and features in the user’s preferred interface!)
“Since so much of the records management function is invisible,” says Alber, “business users can focus on their primary job, not retention requirements. For example, an HR generalist doesn’t have to remember how long to keep an employment form after an employee has been separated. He can focus on finding and retaining talent.”
The records manager wins because she can focus on the overall process, not the pieces. She’s not managing individual records or nagging employees, but instead working to consistently provide visibility and improve records retention enterprise wide.
“Administrators receive elevated privileges and reports that detail record activity and status,” says Alber. “For example, the records manager can easily verify record completeness, facilitate approval, report on record status and prove destruction on a single item or across the entire repository. Think of it like a departmental manager who no longer has to micro-manage his employees, but can instead focus on strategic departmental initiatives.”
And folks in the C-suite benefit because the organisation remains compliant. Records are securely organised, appropriately discoverable and then destroyed accordingly, allowing executives to avoid all kinds of organisational headaches.
“There’s just something about knowing that records are properly managed that helps everyone sleep better at night,” says Alber.