Information management impacts the way companies operate every day. When the symptoms and consequences of poor information management appear, it is often too late. Productivity can suffer as organizations fail to address key document and data management issues.
Business information expands at a rapid pace every day. Recognizing the signs, causes, and results of bad information management can help businesses process and manage their data in new ways. Modern advancements in technology and document management identify better ways to use data for greater business efficiency and value.
What Happens When You Have Bad Information Management?
If your organization is ignoring record and information management (RIM) initiatives or has not prioritized modernizing outdated practices, there are serious financial and legal consequences you may face by waiting to tidy up your bad information management.
Today’s businesses live in a digital ecosystem where accessible information is vital for optimal business operations. Companies produce massive amounts of information from unstructured data from both digital and physical sources.
Given the massive amounts of data businesses generate, having manageable digital transformation strategies in place is crucial in avoiding RIM risks.
Signs of Failing RIM Programs
There are several obvious signs of a failing RIM Program. If your business experiences any of the following, it might be time to start looking into an outsourced document management solution:
- Unmanageable paperwork, mailrooms, or archives
- Physical storage space is expensive and overflowing
- Information backlogs from unprocessed records
- Sharing and collaboration difficulties
- Mistakes made from troubles managing approvals and document versions
If you’re still not sure that your RIM program is operating at peak performance, take a look at your information storage and retrieval process. A good way to tell if your process is streamlined is to observe how users access and find documents when someone leaves or is out of the office.
If your operations continuously suffer from the pitfalls of internal gatekeepers controlling or restricting non-digitized information, digitization and centralized databases can help keep information freely available, while controlling access for key individuals.
The Risks of Inadequate Record Keeping
If you find yourself recreating documents or waiting on information to be found, chances are your RIM is failing you. But what can happen if these issues relating to inadequate record keeping continue to go on undetected?
Long-term risks of inadequate record-keeping can cause major disruptions for your business both internally and externally.
For you and your employees that could look like:
- Low productivity and employee satisfaction
- Excessive amounts of wasted time and money
- Lost company files and history
- Missed deadlines and slow approval processes
- Expensive fines, lawsuits, and higher taxes
- Audit failures
Poor record and information management can harm your business’ image and reputation to the public as well. Some risks bad records pose include:
- Low customer response times
- Weakened competitive advantage
- Theft of personally identifiable information
- Mishandling sensitive information
- Data breaches
Common Causes of Poor Document Management
Poor document management has several easy to identify root causes. If these serious problems go unnoticed, rippling effects can devastate your business, especially for things relating to taxes, employee payroll, information governance, or annual budgets.
#1: You Use Multiple Storage Locations
Businesses store information in a lot of different places. Evolving technology made it so businesses have growing information in multiple storage locations online and in the real world. A 2019 survey found that 91% of respondents said their job would be much easier if their information resided in one place.
From filing cabinets to cloud-based storage, you probably use a variety of different organization methods for your business’ information. An ideal information management program uses one document storage location while integrating with other business processes and systems.
If your team searches through three or more different locations then you are not operating with modern-day efficiency. A strong document management program integrates data across systems for less drain on your resources, capital, and human workforce.
#2: You Have No Disaster Recovery Plan
Businesses cannot predict when they will be struck by an unexpected disaster. That’s why every good RIM program includes a disaster recovery plan.
From cybersecurity attacks to natural events such as fires or floods, disasters can cripple the flow of information and assets that keep your business functional. In the event of an emergency, destroyed files can be recovered from off-site, remote storage that’s backed up daily.
#3: You Have Improper Access Controls
If anyone can access information within your organization, your document and information management program is at risk. Improper access controls can lead to data breaches and unlawful exposure of confidential, identifiable, and sensitive information.
Any organization should have appropriate authorizations before information can be freely seen, especially for the healthcare and medical industries. Access controls are used to monitor and adhere to information security requirements while your business shares information with the right people, across various devices.
#4: You Do Not Have a Document Retention Policy
Businesses without a document retention policy often unintentionally mishandle and destroy records. Have you ever accidentally thrown away an important document that needed to be retained or securely shredded? Honest mistakes like this can quickly descend into chaos if you cannot find required records during an audit, legal discovery, or data breach.
The National Archives recommends in their record and information management best practices to always include a document retention policy in your business processes. Maintaining your policy in accordance with common record retention schedules can lead to well-organized information that’s accessible and facilitates authoritative and reliable information.
How to Avoid the Effects of Bad Information Management
Whether you choose a day forward or backfile scanning approach, digitization can help you avoid the effects of a bad information management program. Good record and information management begin with solid document scanning and information capture programs.
A strong document management provider can index unstructured data to consolidate documents into searchable information. Adding these additional layers of information management into your record scanning program can ensure accuracy, storage location, and versioning control.
Whether you want to ramp up your electronic document security or clear-out and manage your mailroom, one thing is clear. Many businesses still store information in traditional manual or paper form.
Outdated structures, unintegrated with modern technology can be complicated for today’s business expectations and processes. Intelligent RIM systems can store information and make it easier to find for you and your staff.
Request a free sample scan from Didlake Imaging to see how document imaging and management can make your company more efficient.