How to Handle a Records & Information Merger for a Smooth Transition
How to make Records & Information mergers smooth and efficient.
Merging companies after an acquisition is no walk in the park, especially when it comes to a Records & Information merger. Company Records Management may vary significantly between your merging companies. Besides all the other issues and headaches mergers can produce, trying to manage data and information from both companies, when approached hastily, can become a nightmare.
The Importance of a Smooth Records & Information Merger
Having acquired another company, which no doubt has data and information that is valuable, you will want to make sure such information capital remains intact so that it can be used.
Your own company’s data and information are just as important and its value protected.
The only way to bring both sets of records, data and other information together under a single Records Management Programme, is to carry out the necessary due diligence.
Failure to carry out due diligence in an invitation for more risk and can lead to regulatory, compliance, efficiency and investment risks. Then there is the cost factor, without careful analysis and planning, a poorly managed Records Management merger may end up costing a lot more to fix.
Tackling the Records & Information Merger Process
The first thing to remember is that responsibility for a smooth process is shared. Both senior management and those responsible for the merger share responsibility with your Records Management Team to make sure the merger process is a smooth one.
It should be noted at this point that bringing in a Records Management Specialist partner is a good idea as their experience with records and their management as well as their knowledge of RIM solutions can go a long way to making the process smooth and hassle-free.
Broad RIM Merger Actions
Records & Information Audit – perhaps the best place to start is with a thorough audit of the acquired companies records and data and their Records Management process. This will give you real insights into the current state of their records as well as what was working and what was not.
Procedures & Processes Comparison – another valuable action is to uncover the acquired company’s procedures and processes in handling records and data. When compared to your own you will be able to see inconsistencies and probably gain insights that will help you add greater control and efficiency going forward.
Retention Schedule Evaluation – this should be an absolutely non-negotiable step. Learning about the records and any data that may be under legal hold or relevant to legal matters is a must. Additionally, you need to identify or confirm the retention schedules of all records to avoid future compliance and regulatory risk.
Avoid Data Hoarding – to avoid runaway data and document storage costs it is well worth taking the time to evaluate the acquired company’s records, documents and data and determine what is valuable and what is not. Anything that does not need to be kept as a record or has no real value in terms of managing the business or allowing for insights for use in marketing, business development etc. should be destroyed. Besides having paper documents securely shredded, it is important that any redundant media such as hard drives or flash disks or also securely destroyed. Deleting their contents is not sufficient to rendering the data unrecoverable and avoiding a data breach.
Partner Service Level Agreements – now would also be a good time to review Partner SLAs. This way you can ensure both company’s partners are up to delivering the service you need during and after the merger.
Records Management Education – once the merger process has been completed it is vital that all staff from both entities are fully briefed on your new Records Management Programme and Policies. This means introducing RIM awareness programmes, training workshops as well as ongoing compliance monitoring.
A Records & Information merger is a daunting task. Merging the records and data from two companies can, however, be seen as an opportunity to unlock many benefits. These benefits may include costs savings, greater efficiency, valuable insights through big data and enhanced compliance and regulatory risk mitigation.