Friday, May 7, 2010

Mapping your Records Retention Schedule

OK, so you had a consultant meticulously categorize and detail every type of record your company has and how long to keep them. The consultant looked at all of the paper documents for the passed 20 years which have been stored at Iron Mountain. This you thought is the source of all records, but did the consultant cross reference these “best practice” categories/file plan with the actual ECM repository(s) in use today? Did the RRS get vetted by a representative sample of business groups from the company? Is the RRS in a form that can be easily modified during the years it might take to implement it and the constant tweaks made to it on an ongoing basis?

Let’s assume that some of these questions were considered and that you have a reasonably well put together RRS. Now let’s look at the RRS to figure out how to apply it to an ECM application. Mapping the RRS columns of information may not be that obvious at first glance. The column headers will be generic like “record class name” and “customer record class code”. Which one should be what the Records Officer sees and what should the Users of the ECM see? The “code” is usually distinct thus it should be used as the File Plan number and Record Series Indicator. The File Plan corresponds to the folder or classification and the Record Series Indicator corresponds to the retention schedule object.

When you see the columns “Event” and “Period” these correspond to the status that triggers the status date and how long to keep the content in that state. For example, if the period states ACT+INA 6, this means keep the content if it’s active and dispose of it when the content is inactive for 6 years. The event could be when the content was created, or if the content is superceded. The schedule is attached to the Record Series Indicator and might have multiple schedules per series for ACT, INA, ARC, CLO, etc.

The “description” section might have extra information which could be useful for classification terms or record series types. It should also be added to the configuration to help describe both the File Plan and the Record Series Indicator.

Do you have content types and lifecycle states?
Doc type, status, and status date are essential to configuring your RRS. These may be obvious based on how the ECM object model was designed or how workflows push content through their states, however it assumes that all your content is processed this way and most important that it is consistently processed this way. A tall order for even the best designed repositories.

User Adoption
As you map and configure your RRS keep User adoption in the back of your mind. Think about seamless use for tagging records. Should all content be a record or just some designated by the Records Officer? My opinion is that all content needs to be disposed of eventually so all content is a record. There are different levels of records importance to the company and these will be retained, monitored, and secured accordingly.

1 comment:

Emma said...

Nice information. The organization in which I am working uses a customized software to handle all the records. This way its very easy to do all data related operation quickly and easily.
records management company