Many organisations struggle to manage their records effectively, the consequence of which is that those records and the information that they contain are no longer a valuable asset but a costly liability.
Poor records management increases costs:
- for records storage (for paper and electronic records);
- in wasted labour spent searching for poorly organised records (“records safaris”);
- through non-compliance with legal and regulatory requirements;
- in terms of operational efficiencies; and
- potentially even by loss of reputation.
Good records management practice requires organisation’s to manage records throughout the records life-cycle (“from cradle to grave”). This applies even to records considered to be of ephemeral nature and particularly to e-mail.
Life-cycle management is only possible through the development of a logical, stable and durable file classification scheme (or metadata) that reflects the organisation’s functions, activities, and operational needs and facilitates the systematic and consistent capture of records into a managed repository such as an electronic records management system.