Today we welcome guest blogger Daniel Lieber, President of Innovative Ideas Unlimited, Inc (IIUI). IIUI is a DOCOVA business partner, and developer of IIUI Records Manager Express, a fully-featured records management application that exceeds the U.S. Department of Defense 5015.02 certification requirements.

Records Management, Compliance, Governance, Risk Management, and several other terms are used to describe to know when content is no longer necessary to keep in its primary repository. The purpose of having records management boils down to this: 1) Knowing what you have, 2) Knowing where it is, 3) Knowing when it is no longer necessary to retain. If content exists, it is discoverable and should be known.

There are many different discussions on “What is a record?” and “Is records management actually an important imperative for organizations?” Without rehashing all of the various discussions, the most common definition for a record is generally “information used to make a business decision.” This is intentionally broad and does not get into the subsequent classification of types of records. From here, records can get classified and retentions applied. Some retention periods are short, e.g. 30 days after last use, and some are long, e.g. 75 years after a facility is opened. A few records are even “permanent.”

This begs the question, “isn’t this really just archiving?” The answer is simple: No.

Records management is much more than archiving. It is an integral part of a business process which includes valuing information based upon its content and taking action based upon realistic events. Most often, records retention schedules have timers based upon real-world events that are independent of the systematic events computers are inherently used to processing. The act of receiving a message is not usually important and thus having a timer based upon that fact alone is not often significant. The act of reading and/or processing a message based upon its meaning is much more relevant. Let’s take a look at an engineering drawing about a utility building. The drawing may have been completed on Sept. 21, 2008, and approved Feb. 21, 2009 for a building that was opened Jan. 15, 2012. The document was added to DOCOVA on June 30, 2010. Should the retention period be started in 2008, 2009, 2010 or 2012? The systematic date has the least relevance and the most relevant date in this case is likely the building opening date if the retention rule is based upon “retain for 75 years after a facility is opened.”

A good records management solution like Records Manager Express can handle this process with ease, managing much of the records management requirements and rules for workers (and enabling them to focus on their tasks, not record retention rules).

Having effective records management is important to any content management project. We can help you with determining appropriate records management practices and methodologies in your organization even if records schedules are outdated or non-existent.

Are your records management practices consistent? Discuss below!