March 8, 2022

Top Records Management Challenges

While records management may seem straightforward, it involves far more than simply filing documents. Here are some of the common challenges related to tracking, distributing, and disposing of government records.
Posted by GovOS Team
Employee filing paper documents in folders

In our digital age, records management must balance both physical, paper copies of documents as well as electronic copies. Because of how much falls under the umbrella of records management, there are a variety of challenges that administrators face when it comes to managing records.

When looking at the challenges of records management, there are three common problems that arise – making records management accessible, preparing for audits, and complying with retention schedules. Let’s take a closer look at all three. 

Making Records Management Accessible

Finding an organizational system that makes documents easily and quickly accessible has always been one of the main challenges of managing records, whether paper or digital.

Considering just how many records governments are responsible for creating, managing, and distributing, and how quickly citizens may expect their requests for documents to be fulfilled, it’s not hard to imagine how much governments struggle with making records management accessible. 

Governments, and other organizations looking for ways to simplify their systems without compromising security, can do so in three ways:

  1. They can digitize the records they have on file so they can easily be viewed on computers, tablets, and smartphones. This makes searching for records easier and also enables multiple people to view the same document on different devices at once rather than there being one copy that must be shared. 
  2. Organizations can apply metadata to their records. This will make documents instantly searchable by their record type, cutting the time spent searching for a specific document down to seconds. 
  3. Using saved searches makes it faster for users to locate the most commonly searched for records. 

Accessibility is one of the challenges of records management that will never go away entirely, but some of the stress and hassle can be reduced with these three changes.

A screenshot of the GovOS Land Records platform performing a government records search

GovOS Land Records Platform

Preparing for Audits

Considering the importance of the records that governments have on file and the sensitive information they may contain, audits are crucial to ensuring all documents are accounted for.  

Governments can make it easier on themselves by monitoring system events such as when documents are created or disposed of, when passwords change, and when users log in and out. They can use this information to generate audit reports that detail which users changed in a system and when.  

Preparing for an audit is another one of the challenges of records management that will never truly be eliminated but implementing best practices can make the process significantly less difficult. 

Complying with Retention Schedules

When it comes to the challenges of records management, compliance with retention schedules is one of the most important ones to address when you consider the consequences of noncompliance. 

Document retention refers to policies that determine how long specific records should be kept on file and what should be done with them once they reach that point. Do they need to be moved to a new folder, recategorized, disposed of, or something else? A wide range of record retention schedules exists for different types of records, making it hard to keep track of what needs to be done with which documents and when. 

An electronic management system can enforce consistent policies throughout the entire records system and can auto-file newly created records, set schedules for retaining, transferring, archiving, or destroying records, and group records based on their retention schedule. This saves time and eliminates much of the human error that can result in inconsistent retention enforcement.  

These are just some of the top challenges of managing records, and while many may never be truly eliminated, they can all be made easier with the help of a comprehensive electronic records management system.

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