Most of us are familiar with the expression, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Well, if all you have is a hammer and you need to change the oil in your car, you’ll probably be frustrated during the attempt and less than satisfied with the results. The solution? Use the tools that were designed for the work you need to do. This same principle should be applied not only to the tools you keep in your garage but to the software you use personally or professionally. It’s going to take more than a “hammer” or single tool to accomplish the many tasks associated with records management.
In the information governance and records management profession, there are no small number of tasks that need to be done. For starters, there is the obvious need to manage the location of physical and electronic records. You know the drill: you have physical files in file rooms, cabinets, or boxes and boxes in storage rooms or record centers. Electronic documents are no doubt saved to some type of storage media. Location management is critical to being able to accurately and efficiently search for and retrieve requested records. Perhaps the most significant job is managing the retention requirements of an organization’s records. Keeping records longer than necessary may quickly become cost prohibitive because of storage requirements and could also have legal consequences. Other records management jobs include retention schedule management, record classification by record series, circulation, disposition, user access and security, reporting and many more. And, trying to use the functions of a specific records management application in ways it wasn’t meant to be used may prove to be as frustrating and ineffective as changing the oil in your car with a hammer.
Just as some physical tools are designed to do more than one job fairly well, some software applications are designed to be proficient multi-taskers too. However, it’s generally better to use tools or applications that were made to accomplish specific tasks if you want ease-of-use and best outcomes. For example, a crescent wrench can be adjusted to fit several assorted sizes of nuts and bolts. But, you will typically find a professional mechanic using a set of socket wrenches where each socket is built to fit a specific size of nut or bolt instead of an adjustable crescent wrench.
The same might be said for records management professionals. Most would likely prefer to use the functions of a few different records management applications that were built to accomplish specific tasks than one “adjustable” application that does a decent job. Or worse, use the functions of an application in a way they weren’t designed to be used just to get by (ever used a wrench for a hammer…come on, you know you have). Take for instance a spreadsheet application. It could be used to keep an inventory of boxes and files, but it would be difficult to manage and validate the relationships between these different record types, prevent duplicate entries, track location as boxes or files are circulated, or moved to various storage rooms. Reporting may also be a challenge when compared to a records management solution designed specifically for this purpose. Because there are more options than just a hammer, everything doesn’t have to be a nail!
There are loads of software solutions available to use for everything from tracking your fitness goals to helping you get to your desired destination. The same is true of physical tools to build the equipment you use to exercise or the satellites that provide GPS. With so many options, there is no reason to use the wrong tool for any job, including records management.
The records management and information governance software solutions delivered by Zasio Enterprises, Inc. include applications designed specifically for records management. Used together, they can provide a complete records management solution or, add-on modules excluded; these applications can be used independently for their specific purposes in tandem with other third-party records management applications. Visit our website at www.zasio.com or call us at 800.513.1000 option 1 to find out how the Versatile suite of applications can be used to meet your records management and information governance needs.