The concept and importance of records management is evolving. Mitigating risk and ensuring compliance remain important parts of the mix, but organizations are now beginning to adopt a different approach to information governance; one that is also seen as a driver of organizational performance and opportunity. As the volume, velocity, and variety of enterprise information continues to grow, so does the need for well-thought and evolving strategies for records management. 

According to AIIM research, 79% of organizations realize that they must transform into true digital businesses in order to survive. As the currency that fuels and funds the journey, information is an organization’s most valuable asset. To truly take advantage will require that organizations adopt new approaches to records management and a new notion of what information governance really means to the organization. 

A recent AIIM On Air panel discussion explored a more intelligent approach. This tip sheet will provide a quick perspective and some recommendations from our experts. 

Not Just a Cost of Doing Business

For some, the subject of “records management” my seem humdrum or outdated, but the fact is that organizations today are finding revitalized importance in how they handle information, especially as increased agility, better business intelligence, and improved operational performance become foundational requirements of digital transformation. As a result, it is important to move beyond common assumptions about records management, especially at the C-Suite level. 

45% of organizations say their C-level executives are "not engaged" or "somewhat engaged" in information governance

“Sadly, not many executives get excited about records management,” said Peggy Winton, President of AIIM International, a featured guest on the AIIM On Air panel. “It is largely viewed as simply a cost of doing business. But we’re seeing a shift; a change in the conversation that includes governance and strategy, and a recognition about the role of records management when it comes to business critical and mission critical activities.” 

Governance: The Antidote to Information Chaos

Organizations invest a great deal of time and money to manage information. According to Gartner, the average company spends somewhere between 3.5% to 7% of their revenue on this, and that will only increase as the volume of data that must be managed increases. A recent AIIM study found that organizations anticipate that the amount of information entering their organizations will grow from X to 4.2X in the next 24 months. And what’s more, over 60% of that data is unstructured. As a result, more and more organizations now recognize that elevating records management to a top strategic concern is a must-do in order to get a handle on information chaos.   

The average company spends between 3.5-7% of its revenue on IT

John Montaña, CEO of Montaña and Associates, pointed out the dichotomy between the need to minimize information overload while leveraging the wealth of opportunity it might represent to the organization. “It can create great tension,” says John, “You have to minimize the size of these datasets, but at the same time you need to figure out a way to do that and still maximize the value of that information. Organizations are looking to find the answer to that million-dollar question, and it is found in the confluence of risk and opportunity.”  

Recommendations to Gain Advantage

What are some recommendations to move forward? Our panel suggested these next steps.

Evaluate and Audit Current Information Stores

Gaining new advantage with more intelligent approaches to information governance starts with understanding exactly what information you have, how much, where it is located, and what value or risk it presents to the organization. 

“Many organizations have many different information systems in the organization,” says Montaña. “So the first thing you must do is ask yourself: how much do I even know about all of these systems? Do I really know where they are? Do I really know what’s in them? If you can’t answer these basic questions it tells you immediately where you have to start working.”

Establish a Cross-Functional Information Governance Team

One way to extend the effectiveness of your efforts and enable broader transformation is to establish a cross-functional information governance team. Membership should include business analysts, IT support, and executives who all work together on common goals and steps to leverage the advantages across the enterprise. The goal is to replicate the learnings, capabilities, and techniques found to be effective in one area to other applications across the enterprise.

“A blended team with various stakeholders is really, really important,” says Winton. “Top performing organizations see that assembling a cross-functional steering committee, and then reinforcing the value of information governance through real wins and business achievements, can be an important differentiator, especially as digitally-enabled and data driven processes become essential in order to compete today.” 

Modernize your Infrastructure

Working with a modern infrastructure is essential to set the stage for digital transformation. It can be difficult to innovate and improve if you are working with a technical framework that is behind the curve. While evaluating options, be open to a variety of approaches to records management, including the use of the cloud. A hybrid approach, mixing on-premises systems with cloud-based solutions, can be effective, especially for organizations that have a wealth of expertise and investment in legacy systems. Whatever your approach, modernizing your information infrastructure puts you in a better position to evolve your approach to records management and information governance in ways that will make a difference today and in the future. 

Information governance improves response times, service, and enables big data analytics

How can you do that? Dwight Griesman, SVP of Marketing at Access, suggests that we not only focus on technology, but also connect that vision to the fundamental needs of the organization. “Whether it’s working to activate information, helping to make better decisions, or getting more benefit from data, you really need to be plugged into the business issues facing the organization. From the CEO all the way down through the teams who are planning the architecture of the information, everyone needs to speak the language of the business, not just the language of records management. It’s about how information will have the biggest impact to the business going forward.”

Moving Forward

Almost two thirds of organizations lack a robust, enterprise-wide governance plan

AIIM believes that Intelligent Information Management practices and methodologies are critical to digital transformation success. Use these perspectives and best practices in records management to help map your information governance strategies. Look for providers and partners with the right mix of expertise, capability, and vision to help you make the most of your efforts.


For more detailed information on the actionable next steps, download the full ebook “Risks and Opportunities of Managing Information Chaos.