Electronic Records Management

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Fifteen years ago, electronic records management was confined, for the most part, to only a few areas of mostly large organizations. In 1988, for example, the National Academy of Sciences had a healthy IT department, which handled the software systems for payroll and human resources. Other academy departments were largely left to their own devices, which I know because I had the responsibility of developing a system for a International Affairs subcommittee. Today, thanks to advances in technology and software programming, comprehensive electronic records management is far more prevalent.

Even the smallest enterprises are quick to say goodbye to filing cabinets and paper cuts. The move is easy, affordable, and largely headache-free. Between the sophisticated variety of off-the-shelf solutions and the specialized service bureaus offering related services and customized solutions, it's no wonder that electronic records management today is the rule rather than the exception.

No matter what the organization, part of the problem is paper. There's too much of it. From having once been the stuff of communication, it has become a gag. It was once thought that computer technology would eliminate or at the very least reduce it. Conceptually the idea wasn't off base. The problem was a matter of lag time. But hardware and software technology are finally catching up with those earlier visions. The advent of wireless networks, the Internet, and other digital technologies have changed communications dramatically.

Reviewing Electronic Records Management Systems

Planning for the right solution for an organization can be boiled down to three basic considerations. These involve both computer hardware and software programming. First is the number of active users on the system, both immediate and potential. Second is the number of locations from which the system will be accessed, which is primarily an information security issue. Third is organization growth, which means a records management system capable of expanding.

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