Companies have contemplated work from home and work from anywhere solutions for many years, but recent events have forced the decision to an overnight reaction. The new work from anywhere proposition presents organizations with the challenge of providing access to company information that is still in the office or stored with a vendor. Enter the option of records management as a managed service.
Whether by circumstance or by choice, outsourcing the records management function, in whole or in part, is a proposition that many companies are pursuing. As staff can’t access physical records holdings because the staff and records are no longer together, a solution is needed to solve the accessibility problem.
Having physical records stored by an off-site vendor isn’t a new concept. What is new is having that vendor store and manage active records, not just inactive ones. Records management managed services can provide:
Managed RM services are an opportunity to have the entire records lifecycle managed by trained and dedicated records management personnel in facilities designed specifically to manage and protect records.
It’s rumored that, as a result of the pandemic, up to half of all businesses are stating that they will be moving to work from anywhere models on a permanent basis. Something is going to have to be done to manage those physical records stored on-site.
As footprints in office buildings shrink, the movement of paper records changes from optional to required. This means that organizations will need to ensure several steps are taken to properly manage their physical records going forward. Here’s a short list of the key activities to consider in this transition period:
If your organization really is reducing its footprint and in-office meetings with clients aren’t a necessity, you may not have an office reception. As part of the Records Management program, your vendor partner may even offer a virtual mailroom service. This would include the vendor team receiving incoming mail, sorting into record and non-record material, imaging the record material and placing it into a recordkeeping system, boxing the originals for storage and distributing the non-record materials at regularly scheduled intervals.
What if you aren’t removing all the physical records from your site and need to manage them on premises? Again, managed RM services may still be the right answer. A trained and dedicated vendor team member could manage physical holdings and provide a dedicated scanning role that collects and scans paper documents on site as they are received.
This model allows for a minimal supervision requirement while having knowledgeable and trained resources manage the organization’s records. The training cost is all but eliminated since the vendor will have already provided the necessary RM or technical training and all that will remain is a small amount of process training at the startup phase. Supervision will likely be a shared model with most guidance coming from the vendor leader and some occasional guidance being provided by the organization’s key records contact.
In some models, the vendor team may cover specific document management practices where volumes are very high. In this case, the team will likely be responsible for not only organizing the records, but also ensure that record sets are complete and in compliance with regulatory requirements.
Managed services could go even further if the vendor team is led by a Certified Records Manager. In this case, the vendor would be capable of reviewing processes and making recommendations to the company’s leadership on best practice solutions for handling records throughout operational practices. They could also lead discussions with the IT team regarding best practices for electronic records. The development of RFPs for records management software is yet another area where a Certified Records Manager vendor partner could assist.
Perhaps, with the right vendor, your managed service team may also be able to support the storage of your electronic records through either software offerings or maybe even secure cloud storage space. The possibilities here are endless and you should talk with your vendor about the type of support they offer in this space.
Finally, the managed services vendor team will have strong background in transitioning paper records off-site for long-term low-cost storage. They will be capable of inventorying, boxing, and shipping boxes off site while also being the point of contact to retrieve boxes from off-site storage.
In short, businesses seem to be headed down a path where office spaces are shrinking. This means less building capacity for physical records and possibly for the teams managing them.
With the right vendor partner, managed services for records management could be the comprehensive solution that fills the need to continue to manage physical records with a smaller office footprint. Your vendor partner should supply a good variety of services and products, trained and experienced staff, certified team leaders, and should help reduce overhead compared to the equivalent internal team.
Download our whitepaper, How to Build a Modern Records and Information Management Program, and get your authoritative guide on how to build an information management program.