In recent posts in this series, I have introduced the concept of DRIP – “Digital Records and Information Process,” and examined the history that brought us to today. In this post, let’s look at what comes next.

The basic tenet of records management is to serve as a custodian of each record so that they can be retrieved when needed. Fundamental to this is a methodology for safekeeping that allows for this retrieval. To keep records safe, companies need to make the organization of them critical – hence indexing and classification are at the heart of records management. For physical files, the act of filing is one of classification and organization to facilitate later retrieval.

Records aren’t created equal

Each industry has their standards and taxonomy. Insurance companies, for example, have Policy Numbers and Claims and Claimants. Hospitals have a Patient IDs and Medical Record Numbers. Law firms have Client Numbers, Matter Numbers, Practice Areas and standard Document Types. For physical filing, the need for organization is obvious. The time and effort to find a file is critical to business and the potential to misplace or lose a file is unacceptable. Great care is taken for the identification and organization of physical files to allow for their manual retrieval. So why did this become such as issue for electronic records? It would not make sense to pile physical files randomly into a room, stacking them upon each other, filling the room, adding another room, and so on.

However, for electronic records, that is pretty much what happens.

The mirage of enterprise content “management”

To address this issue, we first need a consistent method of classification and unique identification. Indexing and classification are an area that never became engrained in the digital world. The efforts at Enterprise Content Management never succeeded. It made sense to centralize everything in an organization so standards could be created and enforced, but it turned out to be too complicated and the enterprise was too fragmented with line of business systems with critical functions.

SharePoint then created a false hope that a system designed for collaboration would provide a pathway to content management. Everyone jumped on board and a lot of investment and consulting went into trying to push this rope to make it function in a way it was never intended.

Search has been the double-edged sword that allows us to find most things well enough that the rigor of classification that is necessary for physical records can be ignored. So, the enterprise is littered with digital information that awaits a further technology fix to order the chaos after the fact.

Reorienting towards DRIP

So Digital Records and Information Process (DRIP) lays a foundation and framework based on the opportunity to create and manage information digitally end to end. There is no need for a wet signature, or an official hard copy version, or a file to aid in its organization and safekeeping, or a box for its preservation.

Further, DRIP should be a utility like any other where the scale required to integrate the systems and operate at a lower cost are part of the design. Software systems need to be integrated together – not to function together, but to allow a consistent program for records management to flow through them.

Another note is that this is not Information Governance. This is about process, not policy. Information Governance is an attribute needed in the process, but not the ultimate objective.

There are a limited number of actual records management functions to address: Search, Retrieval, Storage, Disposal. DRIP need only provide these in a standard, consistent, governed manner across the systems of engagement to modernize records management.

Looking towards tomorrow

At Access, we recognize the changes that businesses are experiencing. As part of our Digital Transformation roadmap, we are developing a managed service that evolves our business model to align with the customer need to migrate from manual, physical processes to more automated, integrated digital processes.

We will leverage our industry experience and insights by developing prescriptive value-added programs, available within a monthly service bundle, that enable the digital transformation of the customer’s records management programs.

The development of a Content Service Platform will optimize and integrate this service delivery holistically into the customer information lifecycle and allow for continuous improvement.

For more on how to modernize your records and information management processes, check out this webinar recording: Capture and Digital Transformation in a Work from Anywhere Environment