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What is the True Value of Effective Records Management?

Sometimes when I tell people what I do for a living – marketing for a records management company in Louisville, Ky. – they cock their head and look at me as if I’ve begun speaking Chinese.

Not only do some people not even realize that companies like The Data Vault exist, they don’t even stop to consider just how time consuming managing records for a business can be — which isprecisely why companies like ours exist. And not only are these data management efforts time drains, they are a critical part of any company that can’t be neglected.

Lest businesses find themselves immersed in piles of random documents, they must effectively organize them, which doesn’t just mean making sure they are in the proper folder — they also must know which documents to keep and which to destroy, which documents are most critical, which ones will be the most frequently accessed and much more.

ARMA International offers a book in its bookstore titled Records and Information Management Fundamentals of Professional Practice, by William Saffady, PhD. An excerpt from the book also can be found on the ARMA International website. But I’ve decided to offer a quick records management overview by trying my best to put it into layman’s terms.

According to Saffady, the true value of records management essentially is three-fold. A proper records and information management (RIM) system can help your business to:

  • Reduce Operating Costs
  • Minimize Risk
  • Increase Revenue

Finding the right records management solution isn’t easy, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. But here are a few quick examples of what you may be missing and what you can potentially achieve by better managing your company’s records.

Reduce Operating Costs

Records management is often an overlooked operating cost. It takes significant human resources to manage company data, and the bigger the company, the higher the cost.

While this records management cost is what can be considered a “necessary evil,” doing it properly can actually help add to the bottom line. As they say, a penny saved is a penny earned, and efficient record-keeping contributes to lowering the cost of running your company.

For example, if you retain records you no longer need, it wastes storage space, creates risk (especially if there is sensitive data involved) and increases the amount of manpower needed to find the documents that are necessary and critical. But an efficient RIM system can reduce on-site storage requirements and costs by identifying and discarding/destroying such obsolete records.

For records that are critical and must be retained, your business can call on the help of a company like The Data Vault to store physical records and/or convert them to digital files. Think about it: Your hundreds of boxes of files can be safely and securely stored off-site, and when you need to access a specific file, that file can be located and delivered to you, often the same day.

Sometimes, you may only need one page of a certain file. What if that file can be located, scanned and made available to you for download for a low price, without burdening your staff? How much time and productivity (and, by association, money) does that save your company over the long haul?

Minimize Risk

Record retention, especially when dealing with critical company information, or legal or health records, can be a risk when done on-site. What if a box of critical data accidentally gets discarded in a dumpster by an employee? Sure, that employee probably thought he or she was simply disposing of files that were no longer needed, but what if there were company financial records involved? Or social security numbers? Or private credit information?

And if those files fall under HIPAA or other federal guidelines, your company could be fined for not properly destroying them. What would that do to your bottom line?

A data management company such as The Data Vault can not only store your files securely, but can dispose of them safely – and for good. A records management company also can send reminders regarding files that may or may not be ready for destruction, further saving your company money and potential risk.

Think about how long it may take an employee to shred documents and then dispose of them – that is another human resources expense, and if the documents aren’t shredded and disposed of properly, the risk may still be there.

But a company such as The Data Vault will shred, pulp and recycle those files, ensuring security and removing that risk. Best of all, it also saves your company money.

Increase Revenues

It’s fair to ask how records management can increase your company revenues. And here are a couple of examples of how that can happen:

For one, records of past customers can be used for marketing purposes when business sags. If you keep those records at the ready, you can not only save money on marketing (it costs less to keep an existing customer than to recruit a new one) but you can market new products to the customers on these lists.

Secondly, effectively maintaining records of past successes – from marketing to proprietary technology to trade secrets – can mean not having to “reinvent the wheel.” Utilizing best practices that have already been put into place through previous business endeavors can not only save time, but increase the likelihood of future success.

Conclusion

Again, this is simply a bird’s-eye overview of why records management is so important to any company, including  yours. To get more, check out the book via the links above.

To find out how The Data Vault can help you more efficiently manage your critical data – and even help you increase your bottom line in the process – give us a call at 502.244.1151, or fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

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