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
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
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
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
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. Beck@ATCOElectric.com.
Mimi Dionne, CRM, CA, PMP, CDIA, can be contacted at
Ilona Koti, CRM, PMP, CDIA+, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teri Loriss can be contacted at email@example.com.
Wendy McLain, CRM, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue Veal, CM, can be contacted at sue. email@example.com.
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