How to manage records during a corporate move – part 1

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Corporate moves are the kind of thing that send a shiver down the spine of most records managers. As far as RIM challenges go, corporate moves are on the scale of “seismic” events – full of major upheavals and plenty of risks.

If your organization is planning a move, the only way to ensure success is to take a proven, methodical approach. In a two-part blog post we will outline the best practices you can use to minimize risk and keep records accessible before, during and after the move.

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Here are the key steps to take in the planning stage of the move.

1. Audit and analyze individual records collections

File collections are as diverse as the business activities they support, so during the planning stages, collections needs to be addressed on a case-by-case basis. The kinds of things to find out include:

  • Are there any records in the collection that have passed their retention period and can be destroyed?
  • Will records need to be accessed during the move? Which kinds?
  • How confidential is the information in the collection?
  • What legal requirements or compliance guidelines must be met when moving files of this type?
  • What kind of growth is expected for this collection after the move?
  • Are there any existing challenges relating to access and retrieval that we can address in the new facility?

2. Revisit and refresh your records governance policies

The maintenance, handling and use of records are subject to a host of requirements, ranging from everyday business needs to detailed statutory and regulatory rules. Before moving to or expanding in a new location, you must thoroughly research the specific requirements of the new legal jurisdiction. With that information in hand, you can revisit your existing governance policies, including classification and retention schedules, vital records policies and disaster recovery procedures. Where do your existing policies require updating? Where do you have gaps? It is critical to resolve these questions and take any necessary steps before the actual move begins.

3. File clean up and purge

If you have been putting off a “spring clean” of your records collections, a corporate move will bring it right to the top of the priority list. There are many reasons for this. The first and most pressing reason to clean up and purge your files is that it can dramatically reduce the cost of the move. Most collections will include many non-records that can be destroyed, as well as inactive records that don’t actually need to be moved into the new facility. In the latter case, you can consider moving these to a local records storage provider to save on the costs of moving the files and storing them in your new facility. The other reason to purge your files is that it will shorten the time required to install records into the new location and get them ready for use.

Together, these steps will ensure that you have a good handle on the records being moved – and which records don’t require moving at all. In next week’s post we’ll look at how to manage records during and after the move to ensure that records are secure and accessible.

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