Records Management for SMEs – The Truth about Records Management
Not everything you know about Records Management is the whole truth.
In today’s information age we are surrounded and bombarded with information and data daily. Some information is true some is not, some is valuable and some is not.
Time is money and none of us has time to waste on information that has little or no value. So today we decided to separate fact from fiction when it comes to Records Management for SMEs and share with you a few insights that will help your Records Management efforts.
Records Management is More than Just Filing
For some people, Records Management is all about filing. Some decades ago, this may have been true, when all Records were paper Records and computers were in their infancy.
Today, there are probably more Records in electronic format that paper format, which makes paper filing only a small part of Records Management.
In fact, Records Management is perhaps more rightly termed Records and Information Management or Information Governance. This is because, more than any time before, Information has become the lifeblood of businesses and organisations from SMEs to Governments to Large Multi-National Corporates.
Sorting Records from other documents, categorising them, storing them, backing them up and finally disposing of them is no simple task. It certainly is not a task that is all about filing.
That said, filing is still a part of Records Management and probably will be for some time to come. However, electronic filing and paper/digital hybrid filing is today the norm rather than the exception.
Records Management is Not a Luxury but a Necessity
Many businesses large and small see Records Management as an optional extra or a luxury to be indulged in when the business is bigger or more profitable or has reached some or other benchmark.
Records Management is a daily action whether it has been recognised or formalised or not. Even the most basic filing is Records Management. Many businesses however, fail to formalise and create guidelines for Records Management and they sometimes see this as not necessary or needed or something that can be put off until later.
The reality is, the longer you wait to formalise Records Management and create procedures to be followed the harder and more work will be required down the line to get your Records properly managed.
Yes, Records Management requires time, effort and investment. But it is not a luxury. It is a necessity. If you cannot or will not control the flow of information and especially your Records, within your business you will find it hard to grow.
The effective management of Records and information unlocks many benefits including time saving benefits and even money saving benefits. More time and more money can go a long way to helping you grow your SME.
Records Management is Not the Responsibility of an IT Department
Since today’s businesses are so reliant on computers and digitally created documents and Records, many people have come to believe that Records Management is a task for the IT Department.
This is false. For a small business with limited personnel, an IT Manager may also have to wear the hat of the Records Manager. For a micro enterprise the businesses owner may even have to wear this hat.
Nonetheless, Records Management is very much its own subject and could easily have its own department within larger organisations.
IT is very much about the hardware and software infrastructures that allow information to be created and flow within an organisation. Records Management is concerned with the information itself and how it is created, managed, and ultimately disposed of.
Whether yours is a large or small business, it is important to think of Records Management as a separate yet complementary function to IT. Both have to work together but both have differing goals and overall responsibilities.
Read more SME related articles: “Records Management for SMEs – Disaster Recovery Guide”
Read the previous articles: “Records Management for SMEs – Solutions for Effective Records Management”