Records and Information Management (RIM), is an integrated business process that manages and controls organizational records and information throughout their business life cycle, from creation to maintenance to disposition. A business record is defined as an official record of an event or transaction, document, or log. RIM is responsible for establishing the controlling policies for identifying, classifying, storing, securing, retrieving, tracking and destroying or permanently preserving business records

Business records are a key element of the enterprise’s institutional memory and supports governance, risk management, and regulatory compliance involved with managing the evidence of the business activities and mitigation of business risk. Business records are maintained and preserved with formal retention schedules set by organizational policies in compliance with Federal and/or State.

RIM and ISO 15489

ISO 15489 Information and documentation — Records management is an international standard for the management of business records, consisting of two (2) parts: Part 1: Concepts and principles and Part 2: Guidelines. ISO 15489 is the first standard devoted specifically to records management; providing an outline for comprehensive assessment of full and partial records management programs.

ISO 15489-1: 2001 defines records management as the field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of records, including the processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of and information about business activities and transactions in the form of records.

Difference: Information, Documents, & Records

The key difference between information, documents, and records is their level of accountability. We generate or receive information all the time, from internal and external business sources, online blogs and web articles, social media, industry seminars and conferences, newspapers, TV and radio reports and books. If that information is useful but does not provide evidence of our actual official work, or our actions or decisions, we treat that information as a “non-record”: it is informative but cannot be used to prove that we did or did not take a certain action.

Within our daily work, we all create, receive, and use documents. We send and receive emails, draft memos, or write reports. We need those documents for a few minutes, hours, or months, to help us to work consistently and productively and to keep track of progress in projects and activities. Documents become records when we use them to inform our colleagues and ourselves of what has been accomplished or in progress or decided, or when they provide examples of or background to previous work or evidence of supporting actions or decisions. When a document provides evidence, we “declare” it to be a record and store the record in an official RIM system.

RIM Business Practices

Records and information management practices encompass the following activities:

  • Setting policies and standards.
  • Assigning responsibilities and authorities.
  • Establishing and promulgating procedures and guidelines.
  • Providing a range of services relating to the management and use of records.
  • Designing, implementing and administering specialized systems for managing records.
  • Integrating records management into business systems and processes.

RIM Benefits

The benefits realized form a successful deployment of a records and information management solution includes:

  • Authentic, reliable records allow management and employees to make correct and appropriate decisions and perform duties effectively and efficiently.
  • Well-managed records provide evidence of organizational policies, decisions, actions, and transactions, demonstrating the accountability and supporting transparency and openness.
  • Time is saved because filing systems are easy to use and well-structured and because records can be retrieved quickly and efficiently whenever they are needed.
  • Duplicates and superseded versions of records are easily identified and destroyed as soon as possible, saving time and space and reducing the risk of confusion about which version is the most current.
  • Superseded or obsolete documents are securely destroyed, with destruction decisions documented, so that the organization can always demonstrate the appropriate management of all documents and records.
  • Vital records are identified and protected, supporting business continuity and disaster recovery efforts.
  • Records with enduring value as archives are identified and managed appropriately.

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