Unified Records Management

Is your Enterprise Content Management (ECM) System failing you?

  • Do you know if your ECM system is meeting the needs of teams throughout your organization?
  • Will your ECM system and information management initiatives be effective next year?
  • Is your current strategy mitigating risk by automatically applying internal and regulatory policies?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, this post will provide a solid foundation to help pinpoint areas your ECM system may be failing you.

Most organizations need a better approach to information and content management. With all of the critical aspects that comprise enterprise content management strategies, things often fall through the cracks. When it comes to business-critical information, it’s essential you revisit your existing ECM programs to ensure they are in line with organizational needs and all applicable regulatory measures.

The amount of structured and unstructured information that flows in and out of organizations seems to exponentially increase every year. Previously implemented programs may not be configurable enough to keep up with the amount of information in constant flux. If your information management system isn’t aligned with operational and business goals, your organization is left exposed and at risk.

Selecting a new ECM solution, or another software to use in conjunction with current initiatives, is no simple feat. It requires intensive strategic planning before a company can even identify a pool of potential systems to explore, let alone a short-list to present to your team and management.

The future success of any ECM initiative lies in the definition and analysis of current and anticipated needs.

Review your content and information management strategy.

What type of content does your organization manage?

  • Is it predominantly electronic content, or do you manage considerable physical assets as well?
  • What electronic file types do you use?
  • Are your physical records stored off-site?
  • How many geographies does your organization operate in?
  • Is your content easily retrievable by stakeholders?

What current content management policies are in place?

  • What software products are you currently using to manage electronic documents, physical records, document imaging, etc.?
  • How do you currently manage internal and external information assets?
  • How does your organization provide access to users?
  • Are there current retention policies being applied, and how so?
  • How do you control what users can access what content?
  • How do teams share and work on documents?
  • Do individual teams have their own processes or workflows that conflict with pieces of your existing ECM strategy?
  • Are retention and disposition automated? If not, how do we know when and what content to dispose of?
  • Do you have a structured approach to classification?

The key to a well-received proposal lies in the diligence you show in early planning phases.

Teams within your organization may already realize that your content management strategy is fractured. Work with internal teams to completely understand information fractures, and determine how they can be healed with the introduction of a new system. Employees may discuss underserved segments in your current ECM program at weekly meetings, but without executive approval for a new system, the likelihood of introducing a new tool to govern information is nonexistent.

Conduct an internal information and content audit.

Once you have a foundational comprehension of your current policies and underserved areas in content management, you need to compose and distribute an audit to all necessary users and departments involved in managing information: records managers, file room clerks, legal departments, business development, IT, etc.

Depending on the scale of your organization, the content managed and any security permissions currently in place, it may be necessary to craft audits based on roles or departments. After you conduct your audits, you may also want to hold departmental user group sessions to glean more insight into varied end-user experiences and requirements.

We’ve worked with clients for fifteen years, and in that time, we’ve seen every feasible scenario when it comes to how an organization manages their information assets.

Along with the considerations mentioned earlier, we recommend you include some variation of these questions in your audits:

  • Where are there gaps in your current information management strategy and how does it impact your role or department?
  • What content is regularly produced or received, and which stakeholders are responsible for overseeing the content?
  • How much of the content you produce or receive is physical? How much of it is electronic?
  • How much of the electronic content you handle is printed and stored?
  • How accessible are assets to all necessary stakeholders?
  • Does the current ECM program meet classification and metadata needs?
  • How are duplicate entries handled? Is there version control for electronic documents?
  • Is the system as configurable and flexible as it needs to be to meet current objectives? Do you feel the current program is agile enough to meet your needs 2-5 years from now?

Compiling and analyzing the responses to your audit will surface a few prominent themes. Though each department may have different processes and workflows, there are likely shared gaps in your current enterprise content management program. These gaps may be the ability to apply policies directly to items, a lack of retention schedules for electronic and physical records and inaccessible content scattered across multiple repositories.

Using the insights and common information gaps from audits will build a strong case for exploring a new ECM solution with senior management.

FileTrail has worked diligently to craft a dynamic and adaptive enterprise information and content management system with a strong emphasis on physical records management and electronic document management. We believe that managing your paper efficiently and ensuring compliance remains a high priority in any ECM strategy and should not be overlooked.

We help organizations gain control over their physical information and leverage the same taxonomy for your electronic assets. Our web-based system provides a powerful toolset to help clients transition from physical to electronic without creating chaos and losing control of assets. Our tools mitigate risk, have a high adoption rate and are easy to deploy.

What is Unified Records Management?

By now I'm sure you've heard the term Unified Records Management thrown around quite a bit in the records management world. Although the term may not be new to you, the actually meaning of Unified Records Management might not be too clear. In its simplest definition Unified Records Management is a platform allowing organizations to manage all content types, whether they be physical or electronic. So what exactly does this mean for you as a SharePoint user? Well for one thing unifying the management of your records within the SharePoint platform eliminates the need to use multiple repositories for each record type. FileTrail takes it a step further to make your life even easier by automating records management at all stages of the records lifecycle, from creation through disposition, and all within SharePoint. Also with FileTrail for SharePoint you're now able to leverage SharePoint for compliance, workflow, dashboards and search tools for their records, extending your SharePoint investment.

Are You Hoarding Your Data?

Reality television has opened up the public’s eyes to the very real problem of hoarding. The sight of a hoarder’s home is often shocking and quite honestly disturbing. In business most people and organizations don’t consider themselves to be hoarders. However, when we take a look at some companies’ lack of disposition policies regarding their records, they exhibit the “hoarding” mentality. The fear of getting rid of records too soon is easy to understand. Companies face the possibility of costly legal risks if they dispose of data sooner than needed. So what’s the solution? Well couldn’t you just hold on to as many records for as long as possible? No.

This is the common mistake companies are still making today. Preservation of records is an issue overlooked by many companies, presenting challenges of increasing storage costs and problems with managing a growing volume of unneeded information. Instead of focusing efforts on trying to keep data forever, an emphasis must be placed on defensible disposition.

The key to avoiding both over preservation and premature disposition of records is understanding defensible disposition and putting policies in place to enforce it. Defensible disposition ensures that data no longer possessing business, legal, or regulatory value is disposed of properly and according to your retention policy. Following an enforceable retention policy mitigates risk, and lowers electronic and physical storage costs.

Making defensible disposition possible requires collaboration between legal, IT and records management departments in your enterprise. Together these departments are able to develop proper standards and policies to improve the entire lifecycle process from the creation to the disposition for your records. Policies must be established for all content types within the enterprise and they must be enforced once put in place.

This may seem like a daunting task to take on, but FileTrail solutions allow your company to create, maintain and automate information governance policies including retention schedules for defensible disposition. FileTrail takes these policies and automatically applies them across all your data, both physical and electronic. With FileTrail policies are enforced through actionable dashboards to assure standards are being met. Now you can breathe easy knowing you don’t need to (and shouldn’t) hold on to your data forever.

FileTrail Inc. Launches New Division to Serve Growing RFID Market

RFTrail is FileTrail Inc.’s new division focusing on Enterprise RFID systems for managing and tracking physical assets through the company’s Unified Asset Management solution. RFTrail was launched in response to the increasing need for companies to manage multiple classes of assets within a single comprehensive solution.

San Jose, CA – January 15, 2013 – FileTrail Inc., the leading provider of records management and RFID solutions, today announced they have launched a new division that focuses on Enterprise RFID systems for managing and tracking physical assets through their Unified Asset Management solution. RFTrail – http://www.rftrail.com – focuses on Enterprise RFID systems for managing and tracking physical assets through their Unified Asset Management solution. This new division was launched in response to the increasing need for companies to manage multiple classes of assets with a single comprehensive solution. Hundreds of RFTrail clients have experienced the benefits of tracking physical assets using RFTrail's Unified Asset Management approach that yields immediate benefits. This advanced Smart software’s user-friendly interface allows users to view the status, location and history of assets, while its easy-to-use tools let users manage assets throughout their lifecycle.

“RFTrail is bringing the next generation of RFID software to the market place today,” said Darrell Mervau, President of FileTrail and RFTrail. “Our Smart software approach brings a set of tools which are configurable to meet any asset’s requirements - including security, compliance, chain of custody reporting and more. Utilizing our extensive and unmatched experience with RFID technology, coupled with our Smart software approach, we can deploy systems which have a substantially faster ROI,” concluded Mervau.

RFTrail’s solutions scale to meet the needs of any organization - from the Global Fortune 500 customer to the small and medium size enterprise. The Smart software approach allows RFTrail to tailor solutions for specific industries and to meet any company’s unique needs without the need for custom development. RFTrail’s RFID solutions allow organizations to benefit from ensured compliance, increased asset visibility, strengthened security and streamlined auditing processes.

“RFTrail fills an important and unmet need in the market for Unified Asset Management solutions,” continued Mervau. “We have systems deployed on five continents and RFTrail caters to a broad category of vertical markets seeking to gain control of their assets. Our customer-proven Enterprise RFID system has been exceeding the expectations of our customers since 2002.”

View the complete press release here.

Unified Records Management in SharePoint 2010

SharePoint is often used by organization for document management, but FileTrail has taken it a step further, making it possible to have a unified records management system. Unified records management allows organizations to manage both physical and electronic records within the SharePoint platform. There is no need to use a separate physical records management system or have to synchronize data between multiple systems. Utilizing multiple systems for managing records makes it difficult to search for records, prevents uniform application of retention policies, and increases exposure to risk. FileTrail's unified records management solution provides greater visibility and control into the entire inventory of physical and electronic records within SharePoint. a member of the FileTrail team today to discuss how FileTrail for SharePoint can provide your organization with unified records management in SharePoint 2010.