Legacy records cleanup: join the DDIY movement

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We know how little it takes for records to build up and get out of control. To figure out what you have and what must be retained, defensibly destroyed, or digitized is a time-consuming and resource-intensive endeavor.

Andrew Kern
Andrew Kern
March 11, 20227 mins
Iron Mountain employee standing next to box

Without proper processes and controls, it's easy to over-retain files, which makes it difficult to meet your Information Governance and organizational objectives. This results in:

  • Increased costs 
  • Unnecessary compliance risks
  • Lost productivity due to poor visibility into your records inventory 

So, what are Records and Information Management (RIM) professionals up against? 

Sorting through thousands of boxes filled with commingled files is no easy task, and adding to the complexity are intricate event-based retention rules. Often, RIM managers handle all of this on their own, with limited budget, few resources, and very little support. 

To accomplish your goals, it may seem feasible to take a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach, but that could pose significant challenges, including:

  1. Becoming a pack rat. When faced with the overwhelming task of organizing your records inventory, it may seem easier to retain files in perpetuity. But then you have to consider annual storage costs and the fact that you're still no further ahead in taking control of your inventory. Keeping everything leads to increased complexity, unnecessary risk, and difficulty meeting evolving records retention requirements.
  2. Getting stuck and giving up. Just the thought of reviewing thousands or tens of thousands of boxes filled with files is overwhelming. The process of retrieving boxes of records, reviewing each file, and making decisions on disposition requires tremendous resources. It's easy to understand why RIM teams may get frustrated with a DIY approach and quit midway through—or simply end the project before it begins. 
  3. Struggling with manual reviews and finding the right expertise. Imagine going through each and every file in your records inventory with the expertise required to make confident, defensible decisions on whether to retain, destroy, or digitize individual records. Without technology and an automated process, the team will be mired down and face months or even years of work.

Rather than DIY, consider a DDIY (or don't do it yourself) approach by bringing in a partner with the technology, defensible and repeatable processes, and expertise to help you take control of your records inventory.

Check out my follow-up post on what to do if you decide a DIY approach isn't a good choice for your team. 

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