What’s the greatest advantage of records management?

Posted by TAB on

At TAB we’re constantly expounding on the benefits of an advanced records management program: the ability to easily locate and share information; realizing efficiencies through reduced storage costs; minimizing compliance risk with a solid retention schedule…but does one benefit stand out over others?

According to Greg Bieri, manager, new records development for Océ Business Services, the answer is yes and the winner is risk management.

Bieri argues that a company’s records management program can be compared to legal advice and insurance: When things are going well, they seem like an unnecessary expense, but when things go wrong, organizations are glad to have made the investment. For records management programs to be seen this way, all employees need to buy into the fact that the procedures are more than “a technicality.”

That’s because organizations that don’t enact a thorough records management program risk severe penalties for not producing information when requested and failure to maintain substantive records management procedures can also lead to heavy fines.

According to Bieri, it’s CEOs and CFOs who need to educate employees about their company’s records-retention strategy. Here’s why: If an employee accidentally fails to retain an important document, the employee isn’t liable—senior management will be held responsible and possibly prosecuted.

Bieri uses two examples to build and prove his case. The first: a large food manufacturer with no records management policy in place. The second: Enron. Bieri explains how advanced records management programs could have made a difference to the organizations’ bottom line—and, in the case of Enron, their legal proceedings.

Disaster recovery is another area where a records management program offers protection. Bieri acknowledges there has been a lot of discussion about virtual storage solutions, but he suggests a conversation around the security of paper-based documents—which can be stolen, lost or destroyed in any number of ways—is what’s needed.

In the end, Bieri says, a records management program is a business imperative, since “a company is only as good as the proprietary information it owns, and that information is only as secure as the records-management solution that an organization has deployed,” he says.

It’s a solid argument, but what do you think—is risk management the greatest benefit of your records management program? Let us know at @TABonRecord or on our Facebook page.

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