ECM and Records Management are perfect examples of solutions that can work well together and even enhance the overall solution when used together. They each have separate individual goals, but together they provide efficiency and compliance and are a step on the way to Information Governance.
- From an ECM perspective, the most obvious benefit is that Records Management can provide the policies to ensure the data is adhering to the proper disposition policies. In many ECM solutions, the focus is placed on storing, tagging and retrieving the data, but there is no consideration for the policies that will dictate how the data will be retained and disposed. It is worth mentioning that disposition is not the same as deletion, although part of disposition, might be to delete the data. Disposition is based on a pre-defined process that dictates how a document should be disposed. Typically, the result of disposition is either deletion or transfer. This is relevant to ECM systems because you only want to store your data as long as necessary. A Records Management solution will ensure this. The benefits to ECM are reduced storage cost and reduced risk of being out of compliance with retention policies.
- From a Records Management perspective, the most obvious benefit is that an ECM solution will facilitate the proper storage and retrievability of your data. For example, if your data is stored on a File Share, there are many Records Management solutions that can apply retention policies and a disposition process to files on a file share. But the ability to quickly locate and view those files may be limited since finding things on a file share can be a frustrating task. Especially during an eDiscovery process. If you can't find your records quickly, then your Records Management program is only getting you half way there. And how will you govern your records if you can't find them?
- Information Governance. Combining an ECM solution with a Records Management solution can provide a robust Information Governance solution. But keep in mind that these are just the tools to help you achieve Information Governance. For Information Governance to be successful, you must have the support of your entire organization starting at the top.
- Business Differentiator. This is probably not the first thing that comes to mind, but being able to safeguard confidential and personal information as the law requires, and being able to locate it quickly, is becoming an expectation of consumers and employees. Having an integrated ECM and Records Management solution that enables your organization to provide an Information Governance program can give you an edge in the marketplace.
Many ECM solutions have a Records Management component, but it is often not part of the ECM initiative or the RM component does not have sufficient functionality and therefore requires extensive customization. You may need to seek out separate ECM and RM solutions to meet the needs of your organization, but you will want to make sure they will integrate with each other. In either case, using these technologies together can bring enormous benefits to an organization.