Records and information management can be spooky stuff but it doesn’t have to be.

File Rooms – A dark and dreadful place, collecting cobwebs, spiders and who knows what kind of documents lurk or are hiding because of misfiling. A trip to the file room feels like a walk down a hallway in The Shining and when you get there, you find yourself drowning in files and folders with no escape!  In today’s business environments no one has time to waste shuffling papers to locate information and if you do find the document you need the horror might only be starting; copying, paper cuts and refiling can be scarier than Jack Nicholson.

ROT – No, I am not talking about the zombies in the Walking Dead although Redundant, Obsolete, Trivial (ROT) data is terrifying to RIM and compliance professionals. According to AIIM survey results, many feel the majority of their data is ROT and if that does not give you nightmares let us not forget about dark data. Jeez, who thinks up these terms and acronyms?

Shadow Files – Think you have those records centralized and under control, think again.  In distributed organizations, a second copy of records and documents (Shadow Files) are frequently kept on file shares or in file cabinets at branches and remote offices. While this practice goes against corporate governance policies and invokes thoughts of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, it is in response to workers needing quick access to information.

Audits – Michael Myers does not seem so ominous if you are comparing him to an auditor, the real boogieman. Data privacy, employment law and client audits are a business reality organizations of every size and industry are facing. The frequency of audits is increasing, time to respond is shorter, and fine amounts are growing—be afraid, be very afraid. Financial penalties and the cost to respond audits is a concern for the C-suite, but brand damage is what turns the boardroom into the house of horrors.

While pulling the covers over your head and hoping this all goes away might seem like a good idea RIM professionals of the 21st century are facing these demons with a new set of tools and practices. Van Helsing had crossbows, stakes and holy water; RIM pros have machine learning, retention automation and a variety of SaaS solutions, take that Hugh Jackman.

Active paper documents are being digitized to improve access, security and compliance while inactive documents are going to secure offsite storage providers.  Thanks to sophisticated document management solutions, scanners and shredders we will soon be telling tales about the about those old file rooms and shadow files around the campfire, ok maybe the watercooler or on Slack.  Solutions that provide notification of missing and expired information and secure file rooms to respond to auditors allow compliance and RIM professionals to stop having nightmares about audits. The silver bullet put an end to the wolfman and AI and retention automation are becoming the weapons of choice to deal with ROT and dark data.  

With the amount of data created every minute continuing to increase and the regulatory landscape becoming increasingly complex, who knows what the next monster will be? The records and information management profession must continue to evolve and adopt changes. If they don’t, ‘who you gonna call’?

For other frightening insights, check out our article “5 Risks of Poor Document Management

BJ Johnson is a Director of Digital Solutions 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.