Digital transformation is an important step in any company’s growth. The goal of digital transformation is to apply the right equipment, tools and knowledge to make your business function better and, ultimately, be more profitable. If done right, going digital can improve efficiency, reduce costs, increase agility, enhance the customer experience and offer new insights into your business.

Developing a comprehensive records and information management (RIM) strategy is critical to the success of your digital transformation.

While most organizations know digital transformation is necessary, many are apprehensive or unsure of how to plan for and execute a successful plan for going digital. There are many reasons why a digital transformation fails, from lack of executive or employee buy-in to attempting too much, too fast. Transformation cannot occur with technology alone—it requires the efforts of employees and leadership across the organization, as well as ongoing monitoring and revision.

With more information created every minute, many businesses are still struggling to securely manage and derive value from their business data—especially when it’s in paper form. By transforming the way information is created, managed and stored, organizations can begin to embrace a truly digital workspace.

We’ve outlined the four stages most organizations encounter when transforming their RIM strategies below to help you understand what to look out for how and how to meet the challenges ahead.

Stage 1: Paper-Heavy

Companies that fall into this stage are usually just beginning their digital efforts. Paper documents are still created regularly and stored in clunky filing cabinets on-site, taking up valuable office space and wasting businesses time and money.  Files that are created digitally are scattered across hard drives, making them difficult to locate. Security protocols have not been established to protect information from being duplicated, improperly shared or breached, and physical records may be at risk of damage due to fires, flooding or decay.

Go paper-less.

Organizations should consolidate information and eliminate duplicates by converting active physical records into digital formats. Start by scanning the most frequently accessed paper documents so they are easier for employees to find, access and share as needed. Once scanned, paper documents can be securely shredded to eliminate risk and reduce storage costs. Records that must be retained in their physical format should be moved to a secure, off-site storage facility that offers scan-on-demand services and extensive security protocols to reduce the risk of theft or damage.

Stage 2: Digital but disorganized

Organizations that fall into stage two have adopted new technologies to make work more manageable, but do not yet have clear, established rules for the creation and storage of information in place. Employees may utilize bring your own device (BYOD) policies or shadow IT to complete their work, which can lead to inconsistent filing practices from department to department and even employee to employee. Without a clear organizational structure in place, information becomes scattered across multiple systems and devices, making it difficult to find and secure. Employees often spend more time looking for the information they need than collaborating on more strategic initiatives.

Get organized.

A digital records management strategy must reach across the entire organization. This will require lots of planning and collaboration across departments. Consider establishing an information governance board that includes representatives from all departments. This will ensure all aspects of the business are considered in the strategy and all content types are taken into account and give employees throughout the organization a voice in the process.

Investing in a centralized document management solution can streamline the classification and retention of documents throughout their lifecycle. Employees can readily access information as needed within a secure platform that monitors for compliance.

Stage 3: Active

In stage three, organizations have digitized the majority of their information and made it easier to access, but are often still wasting time and resources on processes that could be automated, and some lack standardized processes altogether! From monitoring records for completion to ensuring all documents meet the most recent regulation updates, managing records manually is time-consuming and risky.

Start automating.

By automating retention schedules, organizations can reduce time spent on administrative work, increase accuracy and ensure compliance. A digital document management solution can monitor files throughout the lifecycle, notifying the appropriate person when a document is incomplete, expired or ready for destruction. This streamlines records retention and allows employees to focus on more strategic projects.

Stage 4: Agile

At this level, companies have successfully merged their non-digital and digital processes to anticipate the needs of clients, gather valuable business insights, improve communication and provide employees with more efficient ways to work. Time-consuming manual processes have been automated to allow teams to focus on more strategic initiatives, and the company is ready to experiment and innovate. A company at this stage not only understands its current needs but continues to prepare for and adapt to future trends.

A digital transformation that evolves.

A digital transformation is never really complete. There are always new tools, systems and processes that will continue to change how organizations and people work. Organizations that reach the agile stage recognize the need to continually evaluate, adapt and scale their strategies to embrace new technologies and improve the quality of work.

Are you ready to transform your RIM program?

From scanning and off-site storage solutions to digital document management tools and secure data destruction, Access provides the tools and resources needed to ensure your digital transformation is successful.


BJ Johnson is a Senior Solutions Specialist with Access Information Management where he works in Sales
and Marketing. He is an ARMA NJ board member and has worked in the information
management industry for over 17 years. He works with organizations to implement solutions
that improve business processes, compliance and security.