Records Management is experiencing quite the boom in activity recently with regulatory compliance (SOX and others) attempts to thwart the criminal activity of coporate executives. At the hart of this compliance is reporting and the protection of records.
Electronic Records Management (ERM) has other merits such as the saving of realestate, chemical permits and the labor required to operate an onsite facility based on legacy filming, microfiche and diazo technologies. Other merits include self service although some view this as an additional burden that will infringe on their daily work activities and coffee breaks.
Completing a lengthy ERM project recently, I have compiled a listing of best practices that I hope will heelp you with your ERM project:
  • Organization must be ready for change – obtain executive level support.
  • Executive management must establish communications and measurement process – task them with communicating the project mandate on regular intervals.
  • Legal counsel must be available to advise on FOIP and regulatory compliance – especially in the case of regulatory compliance and freedom of information acts, have legal validate the project is on track regularly.
  • The client must have a dedicated team to: 1) Deal with additional business process work load, 2) Allow staff to participate in project effectively and 3) Facilitate adoption of new role(s). Don’t under estimate the importance of a dedicated and experienced team.
  • The team roles must include records mgmt, legal, knowledge mgmt, communications, project mgmt and technology staff.
  • Migration of existing unstructured data requires an approach that distributes responsibilities to business units, provides a structured process and staff training and measures progress regularly.
  • Don’t under estimate organization push back and resistance to change – establish staff performance metrics based on their contribution to the project and communicate regularly.
  • Deploy a pilot for the purposes of testing systems, staff support services and business process changes – use the pilot for testing processes, tools and validating the impacts and changes to the business.
  • Microfiche image quality requires business decisions regarding the amount of cleanup vs. liability for damaged and/or aging records – expect to cleanup microfiche and expect some to be unreadable. Have a backup strategy for offsite storage and retrieval of old records.
  • Don’t undersize the technology platform since future retrofitting introduces risk.
  • Leverage provincial record and information mgmt guidelines to save time (ARDA) – most provinces/states have established guidelines for RM.
  • Plan to run parallel business processes and staff accordingly to handle increased work load – the amount of work required to capture, tag and file information typically doubles staff work load. Plan to have a dedicated project team and backup staff to support day to day operations.

Have an ERM project under? I’d like to hear from you.