What is a Records and Information Management Programme?
Records and Information Management is an essential part of business but how does one use it effectively?
A Records and Information Management Programme is the answer to effective RIM but to understand why you need to know what a RIM Programme really is.
A Records and Information Management Programme is not software that magically manages all your records and company information. That said, there is a wide range of software programmes involved in both the creation and management of your records and information.
In reality, a Records and Information Management Programme has more to do with planning and execution.
The Purpose of a Records and Information Management Programme
All successful ventures, whether business or personal, start with planning and working out the steps to be taken in order to reach your goals.
A records and information management programme is the blueprint for effectively managing your organisation’s records and information. A good RIM Programme will outline everything you need to ensure your paper and electronic documents are managed throughout their lifecycle, from creation to destruction and everything in between.
The difference between Records and Information Management Programmes and Policy
Every good RIM Programme will have as its foundation, a clear, well thought out RIM Policy. The latter creates a framework in which your programme can be structured in order to be effective.
If records and information management were a game, then think of your records and information management policy as the means to delineate your field of play and the rules by which the game can be played.
Your programme then would be your strategy, plans, and tactical actions that you would take in order to win the game and successfully control your organisation’s records and information.
The Broad Components of a RIM Programme
In order to win the game, you are going to need to cover a number of key sectors. Among the first things, you will need to establish is your team.
- Who is in overall charge or your records management?
- Who is responsible for carrying out programme actions?
- How many people are involved and how do their actions fit together?
Once you have put your team together you need to understand what they need to be doing. Defining the ‘what’ part of your programme should be covered under headings such as:
- Retention Schedules
- Document and Data Storage
- Document Destruction
You will also need to outline how your team will carry out and co-ordinate their actions. The ‘how’ part of your programme will come under the following:
- Filing Systems & Procedures
- Document/Data Storage Procedures
- Document Destruction Procedures
- Access Control Procedures
- Reporting & Performance Evaluation
In general, the components of a Records and Information Management Programme will not differ all that much from organisation to organisation. The scope and size of the programme, however, will.
Larger organisations will naturally require more comprehensive programmes to manage records and information across departments and perhaps even across offices that are located around the country if not the globe.
Creating an effective programme for a smaller organisation can be no less daunting. While fewer personal and departments may mean a less extensive policy is required, the smaller size can often mean added workload as fewer people have to now handle more.
No matter the challenges, effective programmes are nonetheless required to preserve your organisation’s records and information as well is to be compliant with the country’s laws.
Rather than giving your programme the ‘lick and a promise’ treatment and hoping for the best, you should take the time to find out more about programmes and policy and get it done right. Doing a job right the first time is the best way to ensure you don’t have to waste time redoing it later on.