Records management is a complex discipline requiring diligence, patience, and, more recently, a fair degree of technical skills. Enterprise information is growing exponentially, and companies of all industries are managing increasingly high volumes of content--most often across multiple, disconnected systems and business applications. Not to mention, they must adhere to continually changing regulations and compliance laws like GDPR and CCPA. 

According to information management vendor M-Files, 73 percent of organizations do not have clear guidelines regarding how a document should be labeled. So how are compliance and governance staff expected to locate or identify any relevant records in this heaping mass of uncategorized content? 

Technology has, in large part, created this challenge--is there no technology available that can help us resolve it? Luckily, there is.

Multiple Systems Add Complexity

According to the Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM), 52% of organizations use four or more content systems. In addition to the significant cost implications this has for the enterprise, records management across so many disparate systems is simply a nightmare scenario. 

Without a centralized content management system to streamline records management or consolidate content governance, enterprise content inevitably lives in silos, creating deep barriers and impending risks when accessing and managing information. This is the modern organization’s reality, as employees continue to use the applications they feel most comfortable using, and as content-centric business applications offer increasingly rich user experiences. As a result, organizations face new challenges when identifying and maintaining records for business operations or compliance purposes. One of these challenges is duplicate content, or content sprawl, across silos, making it increasingly difficult to confirm the credibility of certain records. 

Plus, different systems have different functional capabilities, which means actions performed on individual records in one system may not mirror actions in another. Establishing a “single source of truth” for any given piece of content becomes next to impossible. Proper records retention and management in this chaotic context require users to master multiple systems and keep track of activities performed in each system. The complex web this weaves is enough to give any compliance manager anxiety.

A Single View Removes Complexity  

The key to mitigating these complexities is adopting a federated system that centralizes information across all repositories to better control enterprise records. A consolidated ECM solution with federation technology can help organizations seamlessly identify relevant records without spending excessive time searching for documents across multiple repositories and eliminating any potential duplicate content. 

No matter how many disconnected systems an organization may have, federation helps consolidate any number of sources for simplified records management, enabling streamlined records declaration and lifecycle management, application of retention schedules, legal holds, and disposition actions to records across all corporate content. While it may be tempting to migrate content to a single repository for centralized governance, hefty migration efforts are as costly as they are high-risk for security breaches and compliance oversights. So what technology allows for centralized record access and governance without migrating or duplicating files across systems? Enter “Govern in place.” 

Govern in Place Adds Power Where You Need It

Govern in place technology allows for simplified identification, access, control, and governance of content and records across any range of legacy systems, cloud solutions, or business applications. By connecting information from different systems, users can benefit from a single view of data stored across multiple repositories for sharper control of enterprise content. Govern in place allows users to access and manage siloed data from its current, true location via a single, central interface. 

No need for costly migrations or risky duplication of files--identifying, accessing, and managing records goes from nightmarish and time-consuming to painless and user-friendly. Govern in place allows organizations to:

  • Easily identify documents to be declared as records, perform the declaration and manage the entire record lifecycle from one platform 

  • Consistently apply retention policies and identify which records to archive or destroy

  • Meet stringent and evolving compliance demands by making the right information available to the right users at the right time, as needed

  • Ensure high user adoption by allowing users to control content in its current location--no need for additional training on yet another system

By treating all documents in the same way, regardless of where they physically reside, the negative impact of information silos and content sprawl is minimized, and maintaining vast volumes of information becomes a non-issue. Governing records from a single, central platform can also open up opportunities for additional, AI-based automation that can bring record management processes to new heights.  

Conclusions

For many organizations, records management is a cumbersome task that’s met with equally onerous processes. With such high volumes of content stored across countless, disparate systems, the time spent searching for and identifying records can have serious hidden costs for the enterprise. 

Modern federation technology combined with govern in place capabilities enables organizations to streamline record identification and gain centralized control of the complete information lifecycle from a single interface. Adopting a consistent records management program for all enterprise information helps mitigate the modern-day complexities of electronic records management, reducing the need for manual processes and saving valuable time for your business, all while meeting strict compliance requirements.