4 Ways to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Records Management System

October 30, 2017

Effective records management systems ensure organizations get the most value out of its records and reduces the cost and risk associated with keeping obsolete or outdated records. Here are four ways records and information management professionals can measure the effectiveness of their programs – and in so doing, extract insights for future improvement.

1. Are your records managed according to your retention schedule policy? 

One of the most important ways to measure the effectiveness of a records management system is the proper implementation and execution of your organization’s record retention schedules. It’s important to be able to know the answers to the following:

  • Are records being destroyed based on documented retention schedules?
  • Does your retention schedule management strategy account for records that need to be placed on legal hold, or are of historical significance?
  • If there are records that have not been destroyed according to their retention schedule, do they expose your organization to any regulatory or legal risk?
2. Are your records easy to locate and retrieve?

If records are filed incorrectly, not at all or even duplicated, the entire records management program is at risk. Be sure to consider the following:

  • Are all records filed according to your organization’s file plan?
  • Is there any redundant, outdated or trivial information stored in your records management system?
  • Can you retrieve records in a timely and efficient manner?
3. Is there a permanent audit trail of record activity?

It is vital to be able to show, beyond a reasonable doubt, who within your organization has had access to certain records and where those records have been stored. A key metric for RIM professionals is accounting for the location of a record at any time. It’s important to be able to be to show:

  • How many records are currently checked out vs. in their home locations?
  • Are there any records that are checked out longer than they should be?
  • Are records, regardless of format, stored in a secure location?
4. How committed is your leadership to records and information management?

Leadership is a critical component to the success of any process, but it is especially important with records management policies that must be implemented across multiple business units and locations. Strong leadership ensures that effective records management is integrated throughout the organization, from the top down, creating a more compliance-driven environment. Consider the following items to understand to what extent leadership or on-boarding can affect your records management program.

  • Is there a defined resource at the executive level that oversees and enforces your organization’s records management polices?
  • Are employees leveraging the records management system or software?
  • Is there an easy-to-understand guide for employees on how to declare and classify various types of records?
  • Which corporate records remain undeclared and/or unclassified?