Whether your company is a small start-up or a large corporation, it’s crucial to systematically store and effectively manage documents and files created in the course of business.
These can include anything from digital and physical files, tax returns, financial reports and employment contracts. This is where document and records management comes in.
The main goal of this function is to efficiently manage and store recorded information, provide faster retrieval of files and comply with legislated recordkeeping requirements.
Several types of record management systems exist to fulfil this requirement, each with distinctive characteristics.
What is the records management system?
A records management system (RMS) is a system that captures, manages and provides access to records throughout time.
An RMS is designed to manage records and provides controls to manage retention schedules for the record’s lifecycle.
It provides the functionality to manage social media records, paper and electronic records and maintains an audit trail of who has accessed and taken actions on records.
An effective RMS will manage records across varying repositories (i.e. network drives, computer drives, email, SharePoint, OneDrive etc.), and enable classification of content through classification schemes and metadata.
Types of records management systems
Cloud-based RMS is hosted on the vendor’s servers, accessed through a web browser and are generally available on an as-needed basis.
A benefit of this type of RMS is that it’s ‘zero-footprint’, meaning it doesn’t take up space on a company’s server or computers and can be accessed from anywhere since its browser-based.
An on-premises RMS is hosted on the respective company’s own server and the infrastructure is maintained by them.
The software is installed onto each machine and takes a more RAM and memory to run than a web-accessed cloud-based records management solution. This type of software can often only be accessed from the office.
Why do organisations need records management software?
There are many reasons why having a records management systems is important, including the following;
- Often it’s a legislated requirement (government organisations)
- Improves business efficiency by making it easier to find and access records
- Provides functionality to manage the lifecycle of records to ensure compliance, and the defensible deletion of information when the appropriate time arrives
- Provides a further level of protection to data, helping to prevent data breaches and lost information
- Promotes business continuity in the event of an emergency or natural disaster by keeping data safe and secure
Selecting the right records management solution
There are numerous records management systems on the market, and sometimes it can be overwhelming when assessing and researching options.
Many organisations choose to enlist the assistance of records and information management specialist to help choose the right software for their business. If you plan to go it alone, here’s the functionality you should look for;
- Simple and easy to use with very little requirement for training
- Enables classification of information through taxonomy and metadata
- Allows for records to be captured in various locations
- Captures social records, digital and physical records
- Government-grade security to protect your records
- Provides an audit trail of who has access to what, and what they’ve done with those files
Records management is a crucial function for all businesses, even more so in government organisations.
Like any other solution, having the right tool for the job can make the task quick, easy and efficient, or lengthy, inefficient and difficult.
Organisations should consider whether an on-premises or cloud solution is right for them, and begin their evaluation of suitable solutions by determining a list of their needs to aid in the decision-making process.