Records retention schedule brings science to art of information management

Establishing a records retention schedule as part of a comprehensive information management system is both a science and an art -- the science of statutes and regulations handed down by legal entities and the art of simplifying the needs of an organization to “harmonize all of these different requirements and really boil them into broader functional categories,” said Carol Stainbrook, executive director of the consulting practice for Cohasset Associates of Chicago.

Setting up functional retention schedules is one of the keys to effective enterprise information management and information governance.

“It’s really about what works best for the individual organization,” Stainbrook said. But no matter who you are, keep it simple. Create fewer and broader -- rather than specific -- categories. “The broader your categories are, the easier it is to map that information whether it’s paper or analog or electronically stored,” she said.

Stainbrook said success hinges on marrying enterprise business needs with a clear overview of regulatory matters. At the MER 2012 conference, she addressed how organizations can become more efficient by establishing functional records retention policies.

Stainbrook sat down with for an interview about managing records using effective retention policies. In this second part of the interview, she spoke about the importance of taking a broad view of records retention needs on a case-by-case basis. “It is a complicated thought process and set of analytics you need to go through to really create a retention policy that’s well defined for your organization,” she said.

 Viewers of this 5-and-a-half-minute video will learn:

  • That a historical model of granular departmental retention schedules should give way to a functional approach that can apply globally to the organization
  • The key considerations for establishing an effective and functional records retention schedule
  • How to determine the organization’s specific needs
  • Where the art and science of records retention comes into play and how to meld both aspects
  • That specific business record keeping considerations must be balanced with regulatory requirements and statutes of limitation

MOTTS: For more about records retention and information management systems:

View the first part of this interview with Carol Stainbrook on information management

Get a definition of enterprise information management

Learn about creating an effective enterprise information management program

View an interview with Randolph Kahn on the importance of simplifying records management and retention policies

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