How to demonstrate ROI for records management programs – Part 2

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In last week’s blog post we started to look at how records managers can demonstrate ROI for their records management programs.

To start our discussion we looked at one of the biggest drivers of ROI in RM programs: cost savings. We showed that our programs will deliver greater ROI when we look for opportunities to apply RM best practices whenever we can. These cost-savings practices include:

  • purging of non-records material
  • optimizing records retention and disposition programs
  • reviewing offsite storage arrangements
  • improving filing and storage techniques.

In this week’s post we will look at more ways to create and demonstrate ROI in RM programs.

Increased business efficiency: doing more.

Records management programs create operational efficiencies in a number of ways. The first is that they streamline processes relating to physical records. In paper-heavy environments, workers can spend a lot of their time searching for, retrieving and re-filing records. If you can save a few minutes, or even a few seconds, the overall savings can be massive when you take into account the number of workers and the number of file retrievals over any given period.

Another way RM programs create efficiencies is by making information more reliable and accessible. This helps speed up decision making, which in turn helps the wheels of business to turn more smoothly. Other efficiencies could include the streamlining of communications and the reduction of errors during the entry and use of data.

When you tally up the various efficiencies, they all mean one thing: more of the employees’ time is free to be spent on revenue generating activities.

Avoid risk and you avoid unnecessary costs and inefficiencies.

Risk management has been a growing driver of RM initiatives in the wake of major legislative developments such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of the United States.

Everyone would agree that minimizing risk is good, but how exactly does that contribute to ROI?

It does so in two key ways. The first is the avoidance of additional costs and expenses. For example, a financial services firm was recently slapped with a $2.6 million fine for improper records management practices. If your RM program helps you avoid just one of those over a 10 year period, that’s a lot of money saved.

Minimizing risk also helps increase operational efficiency. When something goes wrong, it’s not just going to cost the organization in terms of hard dollars – it could also have a significant cost in wasted worker hours. For example, if you are found guilty of improper records management practices, it will take a lot of time to diagnose and resolve the issues with regulatory bodies. All this is time is lost from an ROI standpoint.

Go forth and maximize ROI

Every RM program will have its benefits, but as we have discussed, the extent of the impact is often up to us. It is important that within each RM initiative we look for ways to maximize the business benefit and ROI of the program. The good news is that this is often a simple matter of applying records management fundamentals and best practices.

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