Inholland University of Applied Sciences

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Inholland

Process Standardisation Sees University Set For New Regulation

Iron Mountain records consolidation enables Inholland University to improve information security, enhance compliance and raise efficiency

Challenge:

Regulatory changes requiring student exam papers to be stored for up to seven years prompted review of records management policy

Solution:

Off-site records management involving the consolidation of existing files and implementation of a standard archive policy

Value:

Better regulatory compliance, enhanced information security and increased process efficiency

Client

With over 32,000 students, 26 academic research units and 2,200 employees, Inholland University of Applied Sciences is one of the largest colleges in The Netherlands. It operates from eight locations, including campuses in Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, Delft and Haarlem. The university offers around 80 different degree programmes from healthcare and economics to technology and education.

“Availability of exam documents, for example, is vital, as we need to provide them for inspection and accreditation purposes. That’s why we set great store by fast service delivery and reliable management.”

Marlies Heemskerk Facilities Consultant and Archiving Project Leader Inholland University of Applied Sciences

Challenge

Inholland University needs to store a large amount of paper-based material. This includes corporate records like finance and HR, as well as student files to comply with Dutch education sector regulations. Yet until 2011 the university had no common policy for archiving. Different departments were free to make their own storage arrangements. Some choose to store their records off site with either of two approved service suppliers (one being Iron Mountain); others choose to retain their files in-house.

However, a regulatory change concerning the retention of student exam papers prompted a rethink. Marlies Heemskerk, Facilities Consultant andArchiving Project Leader at Inholland University of Applied Sciences, explains: “Previously we’d only retained student papers for three months, so we typically held them locally. But new regulations now require us to keep papers for two to seven years. This meant that we needed to adopt a more structured archiving approach.”

With storage space at its campus sites limited and the high cost of city centre storage space, the obvious answer was to outsource records management. The university decided it was time to create a common archive policy, standardise the process and leverage economies of scale by consolidating existing record storage arrangements with a single vendor.

Inholland University set out its requirements and invited proposals from Iron Mountain and others. Marlies Heemskerk confirms: “We chose Iron Mountain because we’ve had a good experience of working together for a decade and the company understood our requirements. Furthermore, Iron Mountain offered us good advice on how to best structure our archives and we were impressed by the functionality of its customer portal. Cost and speed of delivery were other key factors.”

Marlies Heemskerk. “That person was very knowledgeable and helpful and, even though we largely defined our own needs and portal structure, this proved a great help.”

The next step was to consolidate existing records with Iron Mountain. This involved the collection and transfer of more than a linear kilometre of material from other storage companies and locations. The consolidated storage offers significant economies of scale.

The university also embarked on an internal communications programme to promote its new information retention policy and encourage departments to use Iron Mountain off-site storage facilities for process consistency and to enhance information security.

Iron Mountain’s off-site records management service for Inholland University features a range of service levels to meet different business needs. For example, files can be available for retrieval and delivery within four hours, next day, or scheduled to coincide with a planned pick up to reduce transport costs.

All archive and retrieval requests are sent electronically via IM Connect and typically around 30 files are retrieved each month. “The IM Connect portal is user friendly,” confirms Marlies Heemskerk. “Iron Mountain delivered training for our employees and provided a manual to guide occasional users. It’s been very reliable; we’ve had no significant systems errors or failures.”

All files now have assigned retention dates and Iron Mountain arranges for the secure, sustainable disposal of any files deemed surplus to requirements. At completion Iron Mountain provides a destruction certificate.

“Working with Iron Mountain has been a very positive experience. It never feels like we’re being served by a big international company – it’s a much more personal and familiar service.”

Marlies Heemskerk Facilities Consultant and Archiving Project Leader Inholland University of Applied Sciences

Value

Appointing Iron Mountain as its single off-site records management supplier has enabled Inholland to consolidate its records and standardise archive processes. The consolidated archive is now stored in 7,500 archiving boxes, representing more than four linear kilometres of files. With an accurate inventory of files, there is greater visibility of stored material and costs are more transparent.

Access to documents has also much improved, enhancing business efficiency, while information is more secure; stored by Iron Mountain in a purpose-built environment.

Inholland University needs to be able to demonstrate the quality of its programmes and courses, so compliance was the key driver. Marlies Heemskerk points out: “Availability of exam documents, for example, is vital, as we need to provide them for inspection and accreditation purposes. That’s why we set great store by fast service delivery and reliable management.”

The IM Connect portal has proved to be a very valuable resource. As well as providing complete visibility of records and enabling more efficient access, it allows the university to run various reports to improve accountability for stored material and allocate archive costs across departments.

Marlies Heemskerk concludes: “Working with Iron Mountain has been a very positive experience. It never feels like we’re being served by a big international company – it’s a much more personal and familiar service.”


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