When it comes to document and record retention systems, some individuals might feel that it is just holding on to stacks of paper and why is it important? Those who do not have a well thought out plan for storing physical records are perhaps acting foolishly, because it is not just paper that is stored, but knowledge and data.

In a recent AIIM guest column, Jeffrey Lewis, a records analyst, looked at the importance of document retention from the viewpoint of reference materials. These cover a wide range of things including articles and catalogs, troubleshooting guides, case studies and project notes. While these are not business critical documents, storing them safely can be critical.

Lewis mentions that no man is an island and showing knowledge allows for greater collaboration and smarter decision-making. When everyone knows where certain documents are housed and can rest easy knowing they are safe and organized, retrieving and using them can become an empowering experience. On top of that, companies can track what kind of information their employees need and can weed out any deficiencies.

“The patterns that emerge from finding out what information people need to know can tell your organization where to invest in training,” Lewis wrote. “It can also empower employees to make valuable contributions to the organization by sharing their tacit knowledge and making the whole of the organization greater than the sum of its parts.”

Document storage and retention is much more than just keeping files safe. It houses important knowledge that is used to make potentially business-changing decisions and successful.