New year, new resolutions…but is it the same old information management game…?
If 2020 and 2021 taught us anything, it’s that expecting the unexpected should be standard operating procedure.
This week, we’ve compiled 22 ways to keep your information management program ahead of those unknowns as well as provided a few resource ideas to help get you started:
1. Level Set with the State of Your Information Management Program
If you haven’t recently, take a look at benchmarking your program. Check out ARMA International’s Information Governance Implementation Model (IGIM) for a powerful standardized tool that can help you gauge your program’s performance across seven key areas.
2. Move Those Inactive Files Offsite
Commercial real estate can be an extremely expensive line item in your budget. Sublet some of it or maximize your existing footprint by repurposing it for revenue-generating activities. There’s no need to keep a records storage room and hold onto boxes of paper that may only need to be accessed once a year if not less.
3. Consider Moving Active Files Offsite Too
Wherever your organization is on the “return-to-the-office” spectrum, you can get an immediate productivity boost by giving your remote employees access to physical files without the need for someone in your organization to spend time tracking down the correct files, then scanning, and sending them. For more information on how this works for other organizations successfully, check out our guide to Active File Management.
4. Invest (Carefully) in New IM Technology
The key word here is carefully. After you’ve done some level setting in your organization, you should have an idea of where you could use a boost from a technology-enabled information management tool like CartaHR, Access’ centralized document management platform.
5. Update your Records Retention Schedule
With so many regulatory changes happening in privacy, retention and disposition laws, annual and biannual updates don’t really cut it any more. Moreover, it’s nearly impossible for a person or team to keep up with these changes. Consider whether a Records Retention Schedule software like Virgo by Access would be right for your organization.
6. Start an Information Governance Center of Excellence
The real power of an information management program can only be unlocked by involving stakeholders from across the organization. If you haven’t already, consider starting a cross-functional group focused on Information Governance or Information Management to help drive adoption across all departments.
7. Digitize Where You Can
Don’t just scan every piece of paper you find. You should first carefully consider the retention schedule, disposition dates, and how often the file may need to be accessed. You may find that more records than you think can be moved off-site with a partner like Access.
8. Review Your Policies and Procedures
Many of the respondents in ARMA’s 2021 annual survey said that consistency in their information management programs was the biggest thing they struggled with last year. There’s no time like the new year for a review of what you’ve got documented in your organization’s information management policies and procedures.
9. Connect With Your Peers
In this work-from-anywhere world, many of us are left feeling disconnected. That’s why events like Out of the Box Live exist to facilitate interaction with your peers and ask questions. Who knows, a problem you may be having could be the same as everyone else’s and you could find a quick and logical solution!
10. Update Your Training Plans
Whether it’s your onboarding plan, refresher courses, or simply a change that you’re rolling out in the organization, be sure your training plans are solid. Training should never be cut out of the equation because it can help reinforce adoption and engagement.
11. Do a Privacy Program Check-Up
Privacy is an area that’s changing more rapidly than many of us can keep up. If you don’t have privacy incorporated into your information management program, check out Access’ eBook, Data Privacy for the Information Management Professional for ways to get started.
12. Refine a Paper-Based Process
Is there a lot of paperwork involved in a particular process? Consider ways it could be automated using technology like robotic process automation (RPA) or simply by digitizing the paper.
13. Present a Win to the Whole Organization
Share your successes loudly and share them proudly within front of the whole organization, especially those in other departments. One of the most effective keys to enacting change is celebrating successes, especially when you can prove return-on-investment.
14. Conduct an Inventory Audit
One of the biggest struggles our clients face – outside of enabling access to physical files in remote environments – is knowing what’s in their boxes to begin with. Consider embarking on an inventory audit so you can have a better understanding of what is stored, where, and in what format way ahead of an important regulatory audit.
15. Renew Your Membership to an IM Organization
Whether you’re a part of ARMA, AIIM, IAPP or otherwise, consider confirming that your membership is up to date and that you’re engaging with them. It’s important enough that it bears repeating: a problem you may be having might be the same as another member’s and you could help each other. You won’t know until you ask!
16. Rethink Your Real Estate Investment
Has your organization shifted into a remote-first model? Maybe that real estate investment would be better spent elsewhere. If that’s the case, start making plans for real estate divestiture now before it becomes a reality.
17. Focus on Taxonomy and Metadata
Storing documents properly is one thing. Retrieval is another issue entirely. Take a look at your indexing, taxonomy, and metadata to ensure you have the right labels on all your records. You want to be sure that the right record can be found at the right time the first time you look, not the seventh time.
18. Stay on Top of Case Decisions and Regulatory Actions
Regulation changes and case decisions can be the early warning sign you need to know that updates are needed regularly to support a successful information management program.
19. Put Your Customers’ Needs First
Whether you’re thinking about your internal or external customers, think about how you can help make their lives easier by getting them access to the information they need quicker and easier.
20. Incorporate a Privacy Impact Assessments
The best time to figure out that a process or piece of technology has privacy issues is before it is implemented and in use. If you haven’t already, check to be sure your IT team is prepared with the knowledge they need to properly assess any privacy impacts a new process or solution may have.
21. Consider Your Non-Paper Storage Needs
When people talk about offsite storage for records, the first thing that comes to mind is paper. Keep in mind that microfiche, film, tapes, and more can be stored offsite as well and be much more secure and safer as a result.
22. Consolidate Your Records Management Providers
If you’ve got to balance multiple providers for information management services, you could be saving valuable time and budget by partnering with a single provider for a consolidated approach and reduced cost. Reach out to one of Access’ information management experts today for best options.
And Here’s a Bonus – Revisit Your Plan Regularly
Even if you already have all of 2022 all planned out by the week, it’s worth revisiting your plan as business needs evolve throughout the year. Don’t tie yourself to a plan that’s no longer relevant.
By no means should this list be considered a checklist—22 things that must be done this year. Instead, focus on just a few of these items that are top priorities for your team and based on your time and budget resources.
If you’re looking for a place to begin based on where you are in your information management journey, you may find our Integrated Information Management Roadmap quite helpful.