Choosing the right records management system for your organization

Posted by TAB on

Picking the right tool for the job – it’s something that so many records managers struggle with. The goal of course is to settle on a single, comprehensive software solution that helps you track, locate and otherwise manage your organization’s records, whether they exist in paper or electronic formats.

Why is this difficult? Part of the problem stems from confusion about the capabilities of the different software tools that relate to enterprise document and records management. Generally, these software tools fall into two groups: Records Management Software (RMS) and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems.

RMS and ECM: similar but different.

Records management software systems are purpose-built to enable the many facets of enterprise records management. This includes access control, record tracking, and automated retention and disposition of records – for both physical and electronic formats.

On the other hand, according to the AIIM website, Electronic Content Management systems are designed to help “capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes. ECM tools and strategies allow the management of an organization’s unstructured information, wherever that information exists.”

Clearly there is some overlap in those definitions, but there are several key differences between RMS and ECM that are worth noting, primarily the capacity of each to enable records retention and disposition programs. In this area, RMS systems invariably come out on top.

Cutting through confusion

Adding to the potential confusion over the two systems – and which is right for your organization – are the conflicting messages delivered by vendors vs. the records management community. Some ECM providers claim to offer true records management capabilities under the umbrella of content management, but the experiences of records managers suggest otherwise. For a great example of this, CMS Wire published a provocative blog post detailing vast experience to show that a leading ECM system does not support true records management – counter to the claims of the vendor.

Here at TAB, we have also seen first-hand the limitations of ECM as a records management solution. If you are currently working with an ECM solution like Microsoft SharePoint and require all the features of a true RM software solution, the good news is that you can achieve this via add-on RM software, such as TAB’s own FusionRMS.

As you weigh your options and evaluate tools to facilitate your organization’s records management function, our guide to choosing the right RM system can also help. This free white paper clarifies the alternatives and provides a process for evaluating records management solutions and enterprise content management systems in order to help you make the best choice.

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