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Significance of Records Management and Types of Retention Policies:


Guest Post by

Jitendra Kumar Singh, Senior Associate Consultant, MFGADT Online, Infosys

For Enterprises to have competitive advantage, it must design & implement Processes & Systems with specified decision rights & accountability for how information is created, stored, used, retained and finally disposed. A well designed Retention Management solution provides a cost effective means to cope with large volumes of content, adhere to rapidly changing compliance standards and effectively respond to Operational, Corporate and Regulatory needs.

Following are the key drivers for Records Management initiative:

o   Exponential growth in electronic content

o   Increased pace of regulatory change

o   A much wider range of Unstructured Content


Now let us look at the industry definitions from ISO and Gartner respectively.


Ø ISO 15489-1: Records Management is ... the field responsible for efficient and systematic ...control of records, including processes for maintaining evidence of activities.


Ø Gartner 2007: Records management involves managing, and reducing the risks of, document retention and preservation. It includes people, processes and technology. Industry and government regulations have been early drivers for records management adoption, but discovery as well as risk mitigation are becoming more important drivers.



Best practices for Records Management:

·        Preserve the right information for the appropriate length of time

·        Archive vital information for disaster recovery

·        Establish ownership of Records management program

·        Integrate the policies throughout the organization.

·        Review and update the program continuously


Now let us look at the Record Policy Types:

1.      Aging Method:

       Chronological: This is standard date aging, so we would add the duration of the policy to "base date" or if no base date is specified the creation date of the object

        Event Based: This is conditional style aging, basically waiting for an event to happen before the promotion/disposition date is calculated. This type of aging method is generally used in conjunction with Linked type retention policies

2.      Types of Retention:

·       Individual: Each document will age individually using a date associated to the document.  Individual retention policies can be applied at the folder level and then all of the contents and sub-folders would inherit the individual type retention (each object has its own unique retainer and promotion/disposition date calculated).

·       Linked: Linked retention policies that are applied to a container object (they cannot be applied to individual document) will result in one retainer object being created for the container.  Thus a linked style has a retainer applied at the folder level and all of the contents within the folder are aged as a collective unitRecords Management system helps reduces IT administration and storage costs by enabling organizations to

ü Manage electronic files based on the value of their contained information.

ü Differentiate between files that must be retained and those that should be disposed of  Manage document disposal using a dedicated user interface that identifies "deletable" materials, maintain approvals to authorize document destruction, and destroy documents on a regular basis

ü Dispose of unofficial documents automatically as their expiration dates or retention periods expire

ü  Integrate approval workflows as part of the disposition process

ü Produce multiple reports detailing what is under retention or holds and projected disposition dates

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