Making the case for: merging document control and records management: Part 2.
Information management (Evaluation)
Databases (Management)
Beck, Vera
Dionne, Mimi
Koti, Ilona
Loriss, Teri
McLain, Wendy
Veal, Sue
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Name: Information Management Journal Publisher: Association of Records Managers & Administrators (ARMA) Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Business; Computers and office automation industries; Library and information science Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 Association of Records Managers & Administrators (ARMA) ISSN: 1535-2897
Date: July-August, 2011 Source Volume: 45 Source Issue: 4
Event Code: 200 Management dynamics Computer Subject: Information accessibility; CD-ROM catalog; CD-ROM database; Database; Company business management
Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States

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Although document control and records and information management (RIM) employees share a custodial responsibility that includes identifying, protecting, and presenting their identity's records as assets, they do not share the same focus on managing information throughout the entire records life cycle--from creation to distribution and use, storage and maintenance, retention, and disposition or archival preservation.

Indeed, the line of custody between these two groups often confuses upper management, prompting either a more intense focus than necessary or complete disregard for the subject. A plan to educate the senior level, driven by the records manager, is recommended to integrate the two groups into a single working function. This was addressed in Part 1 of this series, which was published in the November-December issue of Information Management. Part 2 will expand on the idea of document control as a subset of RIM.

Using a Proven Plan

At a time when the economy is weak, there may be little money for any new initiatives. As a result, integrating document control and records management will require a strong case to demonstrate to the organization the better management of risk, what the changes will mean to the organization, what the new process will look like, and how to train and motivate employees to make good use of the combined functions.

A project management approach is the right vehicle for accomplishing this objective. Projects have goals and objectives, a beginning and ending, and the work to merge the two groups should have a short duration with a definite and unique outcome. The following sequence has been tested with a significant level of success.

Define the project scope and establish communications. Whether the corporate headquarters or a regional office, RIM employees can make a difference by establishing vitally important relationships. Understand colleagues' challenges by asking questions and proposing answers. Keep in mind that grassroots success is often reported upward, so it is critical to identify strategic partners and gain their trust.

Conduct a feasibility study. First, identify any existing RIM policy and procedure documents. If a policy is not in place, create a draft policy that is agreeable by all colleagues. Then, team with the project program manager and draft the policy based on best practices from the records and legal perspectives. Once the new policy is adopted and implemented at the local level, share success upward to influence policy at higher levels. At this stage, align with the policy owners to raise local awareness and implement the policies.

Develop the work breakdown structure (WBS) and kick off the project. Document and communicate the project as soon as possible to identify team participants to make the project legitimate. At a minimum, compose problem statements that outline why the project should be implemented, and include the project charter for upper management.

Evaluate the current system. Curtail the flow of paper copies into the official electronic document management system (EDMS). Evaluate how much information is deposited into the current system (if it exists) by measuring three statistics:

1. Qualification rate (expressed as the percentage of total e-mails/documents per user): How many users are correctly, appropriately, and consistently identifying information that are corporate records and should be placed under records control?

2. Declaration rate (expressed as the percentage of the known qualified records physically stored in the EDMS): How many of the qualified e-mails/documents (qualified records) that have been identified are being stored (declared) into the EDMS?

3. Classification accuracy (expressed as the percentage of the total EMS records that are known to have the proper retention rule applied): Of the records stored within the EDMS, how many have the correct retention rule applied?

From the three measurements, identify the flow rate into the EDMS and prepare baseline statistics to measure against at the end of the project. Also, create an early prediction of monetary investment (risks and costs) in the electronic records management system (ERMS) and the project as a whole.

Establish a relationship with procurement management. Partner with the procurement manager to develop a strategy that achieves compliance with the records retention schedule (RRS). This relationship is essential; not only do procurement managers have the power to spend the monies on destruction, they are well aware of the monthly fees for storage. Calculate in tons and dollars the cost to store versus to destroy to overcome the initial reluctance to incur shredding fees and convince management to proceed.

Implement the WBS. Stop the flow of new paper copies to offsite storage by turning attention to the existing inventory and consistently applying the RRS. Now is a good time to begin an automated and manual inventory of newly qualified items and initiate the migration of items from the EDMS system into the ERMS.

* First, purge the inconsequential and temporary records, identify critical documents for scanning, label them, and set up an e-filing system for them on the system of choice.

* Second, send the records offsite for scanning, or train contractors to scan onsite, or train the staff to search records, create scans, and develop day-forward procedures.

* Third, require version and revision control as part of the project, and use the ERMS tool for tracking (e.g., superseded revisions can be locked down, and RRSs may be enabled to destroy them in a timely, legal, and compliant manner).

Make quality and audit staff your allies. Partner with the quality management staff and internal auditors because they are likely already auditing against ISO 9001:2008 Quality management systems--Requirements. Demonstrate how ISO 15489-1:2001 Information and documentation-Records management- Part I: General extends document control into a comprehensive approach for managing all records.

Document savings. Report return on investment to internal staff and senior management by presenting the following equations:

* Production statistics translated into actual dollar savings, including reductions and/or elimination of current expenses

* Intangible savings, such as saving time and avoiding costs, including reduction and/or elimination of future expenses

Gaining Support for the Plan

Project management is an integral component of a strong information governance program.

Similar to records management, project management utilizes theories, standards, and best practices to ensure quality and completeness are adhered to. It also adds the dimensions of coalescing to a predefined scope, budget, and timeframe. It is essentially records management on steroids, as it acknowledges that:

* Moving to a project methodology in conjunction with a records management/document control approach can significantly increase productivity and accuracy within the records group.

* Supplying specifically what is needed to the customer and identifying a budget can help information professionals accept accountability for their work and give specific performance metrics to gauge the group's performance.

* Providing metrics to executive management on the types of projects, lessons learned, and success factors can justify resources for the records group. It also gives concrete results for why document control and records management should be a part of senior leadership teams to help steer the organization in strategic decisions regarding information governance.

Integrating document control and records management will require a strong case to demonstrate to the organization the better management of risk, what the changes will mean to the organization, what the new process will look like, and how to train and motivate employees to make good use of the combined functions. Many other departments, which should be included in the evaluation and planning phases to make sure their needs are met, will also be impacted by the change to integrate document control and RM functionality. (See sidebar on page 41 for an initial shared project suggestion.)

Using Standards to Seal the Deal

ISO 9001 is the governing standard for document control, while ISO 15489 contains the lifecycle and characteristics of a record. Many organizations that either are in compliance with or certify to the ISO 9001 standard focus on the control of documents. Their procedures detail how active documents should be controlled and managed. Records management also addresses where documents are placed once they are inactive and need to be stored or disposed.

The RIM manager's best approach is to illustrate to quality management auditors how a program is a complex mix of objectives, policies, priorities, strategic and operational plans, task assignments, resources to be employed, performance measures, and other elements necessary to achieve a major organizational outcome. A RIM program implemented organization-wide provides the basis for the management of records, recordkeeping activities, and recordkeeping systems.

If a new system must be purchased to combine the document control and records management functions, preparing a comprehensive return on investment provides management with the right justifications. If existing systems can be used as is or slightly modified to accommodate the combined programs, a more simple type of cost benefit analysis may be constructed to convince management.

The investment needed to merge document control and records management into a single function will provide a great return. The organization will be more profitable because better management of all documents throughout their lifecycle will give it a distinct competitive advantage. Developing and executing a comprehensive project management plan is the best way for RIM managers to work with senior management to ensure a smooth merger and transition. END

Using Discovery as an Initial Shared Project

E-discovery is a great candidate for an ERMS project treatment. A legal discovery request is a prime example of a macro-project to share between document control and records management, since a definite beginning and end exist for the discovery process, and because it encompasses active and inactive records and documents. The discovery request is initiated, a plan is created on how to find the records, the records are delivered, any necessary follow-up or searches are conducted, and, eventually, the litigation request is closed and retained for the appropriate retention period.

Records and project tools create, maintain, protect, retrieve, store, and eventually dispose of any business information that shows evidence of activity or decision. These documents created are captured (often later, when their usability is expired) into a storage system that allows the documents to be retained unchanged or either archived or disposed of at the end of their lifecycle. A robust records management program is often more important than controlling active documents, especially when litigation may be brought against the organization.

For example, the close phase and lessons learned collection can be neglected at the end of a project lifecycle because funds are not properly built into the contract. Lessons learned are vital because investment in knowledge management yields long-term intangible value.

Also, today's retention schedule doesn't mimic the schedule of yesteryear. The purpose of today's retention schedule is to integrate the best of system and information architectures. Within the schedule, a natural information path is built:

* The project's records lifecycle ends.

* The business retention begins.

* The archives, disposition, or knowledge management status is chosen.

Where retention schedules once had "legal, fiscal, historical, vital" columns, today they have "legal citations" and "best practices" columns with records custodian and location column (almost a data map hybrid) with particular emphasis on creation date and project completion date, which are especially important in electronic records management.

Vera Beck can be contacted at Vera.

Mimi Dionne, CRM, CA, PMP, CDIA, can be contacted at

Ilona Koti, CRM, PMP, CDIA+, can be contacted at

Teri Loriss can be contacted at

Wendy McLain, CRM, can be contacted at

Sue Veal, CM, can be contacted at sue.

See authors' bios on page 46.

Vera Beck; Mimi Dionne, CRM, CA, PMP, CDIA+; Ilona Koti, CRM, PMP, CDIA+; Ted Loriss; Wend, McLain, CRM; and Sue Veal, CM Part 2
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Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.