Managing physical records electronically

Information is at the heart of organisations. From managing sensitive company documents to case evidence, good record management is vital in today’s fast paced working environment.

Technology’s growing influence on the modern workplace has meant managing libraries of data is now possible from a computer screen, with organisations utilising systems to search, track and store assets.

This however doesn’t only apply to digital documents. For those housing physical records and assets in boxes, on shelves or in external locations, record management systems need to have more robust functionality to control access and take action remotely. With this in mind, today we will look at some of the features that create comprehensive record management systems.

Record Management Systems In Focus

Easy Searching

Large organisations are not always housed under one roof. Departments may be spread across a number of locations, while physical records and assets may be stored in a number of offsite locations. Even in the instance that the organisation operates from one location, data-led companies may have thousands of physical records that require sorting, managing and actioning.

Record management systems should enable staff to find groups and individual asset locations within seconds. Using intuitive search features and optional filters, staff are able to locate physical files down to their shelf, directing the search and reducing time spent looking otherwise.

Better Communication and Data Control

Large data stores and multiple sites not only make locating records difficult, but also prevent their users from taking action on their data library. For staff requiring the retrieval of physical documents, internal or external departments may need to be contacted through phone calls and chains of emails for each action. This can make it difficult to maintain a log of what actions have been requested for by departments, slowing turn around and reducing efficiency. By using one management platform, staff are able to communicate with other departments through one channel, funnelling requests into one area and simplifying communication.

Record management systems also enable users to take action on data, including assigning late fees and ordering data retrieval among other functions remotely. This grants administrators greater control of physical assets, facilitating changes to documents details, availability and users from other locations. In addition to this, users with the correct permissions will be able to attach digital documents to indexed physical files, removing the need for further word processing and printing.

Record Tracking

It is not uncommon for files to be used for a number of different purposes and by multiple departments, e.g. legal and finance. The consistent movement of assets presents a challenge for managers to secure physical data and prevent loss.

Record management systems offer the ability to oversee the movement history of individual items, allowing decision-makers to oversee requests and actions taken against the data. For management this is can be crucial. In the case of overdue file returns, record managers will be able to trace its location to the last user, simplifying retrieval and helping maintain a complete database.

Hierarchies and Permissions

With traditional record keeping, there were limitations to managing who had access to sensitive information. Permissions may have to be regularly amended based on changing situations and managing individuals within a large organisations could be overwhelming, making it difficult to clearly determine who had access to specific data.

By adopting record management systems administrators can assign levels of access to staff, granting permission to documents based on criteria from role and department. This not only prioritises access to files most applicable to their role, but also retains sensitive data’s confidentiality from other staff and departments based on their authority.

Reporting and GDPR Compliance

By recording physical data’s details and actions, administrators have access to key analytics and dates for reporting. From this, staff will be able to gain a better understanding of what resources are being used, how frequently and by who, allowing organisations to adjustments to their processes for more efficient working.

Record management systems reporting features also serve as a great tool for maintaining GDPR compliance. For objectives such as storing and destroying physical data, solutions enable dates to be attached to records, detailing when it was stored and when its due for destruction. By noting this, staff will be able to easily identify documents that require action and maintain an up-to-date database.

Stopford’s Solution

Interested in implementing a record management system into your organisation? Stopford’s RAFTS offers a comprehensive solution for searching, tracking and storing everything from records, equipment and other assets. Incorporating powerful search functions, reporting and permissions, decision-makers can action and oversee their entire physical data from their computer. Find out more here.