According to a recent study from the Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM), 36 percent of smaller organizations, 43 percent of mid-sized and 52 percent of large organizations reported a data breach in 2016 alone.[1] As technology continues to evolve and the amount of data companies need to manage grows at a rapid pace, businesses that don’t put processes in place for managing their information open themselves up to increased security risks.

These surprising numbers highlight the importance of a strong records and information management (RIM) program — one that ensures security, compliance and efficiency organization-wide.

To maintain an effective RIM program, business leaders must conduct regular assessments to determine what is working and what isn’t. Setting up a measurement system that identifies and consistently tracks strengths, weaknesses and potential problems is the first step.

Here are 8 RIM metrics your business should be analyzing:

  1. Return on Investment

Is the cost of RIM justified? This is the main question on the minds of management across small, midsize and large-scale companies.

To determine records and information management ROI, business leaders should develop a system for quantifying their RIM program’s benefits. This may include looking closely at productivity levels, tracking client satisfaction or measuring overall operating costs. If your program’s cost exceeds its value, improvements must be made to right the balance.

Additionally, the costs of investing in record management systems and processes are far less than hefty legal fines related to non-compliance issues or the long-term financial fallout that can happen following a data breach. If your company doesn’t have a RIM program in place, the financial stability of your business is at risk.  

  1. Security

Data protection and security is one of the most important issues affecting your company’s reputation. You must assess whether your organization’s RIM program is following secure procedures and protocols and identify weak points that could lead to a breach. If any files are insufficiently protected, this is a sign that your RIM program is not doing its job.

  1. Utility and Efficiency

Utility and efficiency go hand-in-hand when it comes to records management. Does your records management program accomplish what it was put in place to accomplish? Are stakeholders able to locate, access, manage, track or dispose of files securely and easily? Have employees reported difficulties in navigating the system? These questions will help you track the utility of your RIM program, so you can make adjustments if they’re needed.

Efficiency is critical.

Stakeholders should be able to retrieve and track records and information quickly by following simple protocols, without hassles or backlogs. If your RIM program is not making your business more efficient, it needs to be reevaluated.  

  1. Quality

This metric takes into account the quality of organization and preservation maintained under your RIM program. Are paper records being properly stored and organized with metadata, and are digital files being promptly and correctly indexed? Quality is imperative for short-term issues like efficiency as well as long-term record keeping concerns.

  1. Compliance

Your organization’s RIM program must also ensure compliance with Federal Records Management laws. If not, you could face fines or other legal consequences. Stay informed on new legislation and update your stakeholders and procedures accordingly. A RIM partner is especially useful in navigating the law and guaranteeing compliance.

  1. Employee Engagement

A records management program can only be successful if the people in your organization are actually comfortable using it. Employee training is a crucial ingredient in getting the most out of your RIM program. Assess whether staff members are engaging with procedures and protocols. If not, take a step back and evaluate why engagement is low. Make sure all employees have been adequately trained and understand their responsibilities.

  1. Accountability

In large organizations, accountability can be an issue. Your RIM program needs a human face—staff that can be counted on to promptly solve problems and provide training. Make it clear to stakeholders who is in charge of your program and who they can contact for assistance with records management issues. Once your team is in place, make sure they have the resources they need to do their jobs effectively.

  1. Progress

To keep up with the challenges of today’s business world, records management systems must be able to adapt to organizational changes. Does your program ultimately support company goals? Are problems addressed and improvements made in a timely fashion? Looking critically at your progress will help you assess your program’s effectiveness and help you make changes along the way.

[1] http://info.aiim.org/digital-landfill/the-32-scariest-information-management-data-points-and-zombies

Ian Robert Moran, former ARMA New Jersey board member, has been an executive leader in the records and information management industry for over 15 years. Moran has been responsible for helping companies create and maintain information governance programs and retention policies for national and regional operations including, but not limited to, secure shredding and record center operations, on-site staffing solutions, large-scale document conversion, and more. As an executive at Access, a company whose mission is to improve the way the world manages information, he leads a team and works with clients to implement solutions that lower expense, increase revenue, protect brand and improve business processes, compliance and security.