Information Records Management in Ireland: Best Practice Outsourcing - A Snapshot White Paper

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1 The Document and Information Management People Information Records Management in Ireland: Best Practice Outsourcing - A Snapshot White Paper Stephen Mackey, Senior Information Management Consultant, Kefron

2 Executive Summary With a view to providing an insight into the Information and Records Management (IRM) industry, Kefron researched the views of an expert panel representing buyers and suppliers in the private and public sectors. This white paper contains a summary of the findings, together with associated research taken from the recently published Mazars survey. It focuses particularly on the role of outsourcing providers and their ability to provide the services that organisations increasingly need. Making the business case Many businesses find themselves swamped with documents. The Big Data phenomenon of high data and information volumes confronts business in the everyday. Faced with the operational challenge of having to manage two dimensions of information depository, businesses must also address financial realities and plot a course through uncertain economic waters. That increasingly calls for a strategy that addresses their requirements around managing information whether physical or digital in a cost-effective way. This is fuelling an increased appetite for outsourcing. According to a survey from Mazars, Irish firms are gravitating towards this approach as a means of addressing the on-going economic challenges. Mazars Survey Results 33% 42% 25% 92% More likely to move to an outsourced model as a result of the economic downturn Had increased their use of outsourcing in the preceding 12 months Would increase their use of outsourcing over the following 12 months Believe outsourcing adds value to their company The Mazars survey also uncovered several strategic reasons in favour of outsourcing, in addition to the goal of obtaining cost savings and competitive advantage. These include; enhancing process efficiency and quality, relieving internal resources to focus on core activities and accessing skills and knowledge that are not available internally. Average Savings reported were up to 10% and in some cases were between 11% and 25% 2

3 Key Findings There is clearly a strong case to be made for outsourcing information to a trusted external provider that is capable of providing a combined, integrated IRM service back to the business. A summary of the key recommendations made as a result of Kefron s expert group is set out below; The outsourcing market for IRM services is viable, provided the scale and scope of the offering covers both the physical and digital information worlds Efficiencies in both process and economics are viable through the correct application of technology Cost remains a strong driver of IRM outsourcing, but suppliers must demonstrate a clear association between the business strategy and its predicted impact Filling a knowledge gap in respect of good technology is only half the battle. The other front is in enabling the right mind set to accept new ways of meeting, delivering and solving IRM needs. Welcome and adopt change albeit in a system of record or increasingly in a system of engagement Innovation in a virtual world is the new commercial model for outsourcing IRM services In recessionary times, outsourcing IRM makes perfect sense. The idea of subcontracting what is still predominantly seen as back office activity allows internal resources to be focused on frontline core business functions Strong partnerships between suppliers and customers define strong and long lasting outsource relationships this must happen before setting any requirements and solutions Closer relationships between buyers and suppliers lead to more effective identification of solutions and adoption of new or improved business processes Several obstacles still need to be removed from the industry in terms of service quality myths where outsourcing is concerned both in the offshore scenarios currently available in the industry, and the challenge of overcoming fears around the impact on jobs A significant part of ensuring outsourcing success is not only the relationships concerned but also the manner in which the end solutions and recommendations are presented. It is no longer good enough to be able to speak only about retention. Customers need to know that you are the right person to speak to in relation to a specific pain point and that there is no one who knows better. Customers require maintaining a focus on core business. This means that IRM outsourcing cannot afford to fail. 3

4 Objectives Organisations are looking to streamline their business processes, usually to achieve one or more of the following objectives: improve customer service, reduce costs and become more competitive. Resolving records management issues through outsourcing Information and Records Management [IRM] is an area that is earning increased attention at senior level within organisations, and the outsourcing option is now being considered more frequently than ever. This is due to several reasons: Increased regulatory requirements this has meant that legacy and on-going information repositories may need to be presented in an accessible and relevant media through expert and bespoke capture solutions Security and data breaches now receive more media coverage while concerns over possible future litigation are growing low information governance levels within a business are increasingly public and punishable End users need to access information faster, driven by technology change Big data has a big impact to business. Knowing what works best in each sector means seeking a knowledge bank present only in outsourcing circles. Treating document and information management as one distinct unit rather than as separate elements now makes absolute sense for businesses, so customers should expect service providers to match this requirement. In 2000 over 75 per cent of all information stored was held in analogue format. By 2007, 94 per cent was digital. (Hilbert, 2011) 4

5 According to current industry research, it is much more costefficient to store existing records in hard copy format. Many companies continue to store instead of starting large-volume, legacy digitisation programs also known as Scan to Archive. The true value of information comes from the information contained in the records. A Scan to Process solution links the content directly to the business process it relates to thereby creating a live benefit that is immediately perceived within an organisation. The true value of information comes from the information contained in the records. A Scan to Process solution links the content directly to the business process it relates to thereby creating a live benefit that is immediately perceived within an organisation. Complications: effectively combining hard-copy and electronic documents Technology is the biggest contributor to change in Information and Records Management. We are moving into an era of hybrid formats that is, the combination of hard-copy and electronic records. For this white paper, Kefron obtained the opinions of a panel of experts to clarify the current attitudes and approaches to outsourcing services arising from a records management model in Ireland. Their observations uncovered additional drivers for outsourcing: Outsourcing Drivers Cost Compliance Data volumes Organisational Strategy 5

6 Including and considering the IRM implications of business strategy is vital in ensuring compliance and enterprise efficiencies. The closeness of both supplier and buyer of IRM services is increasingly reflected in effective partnership agreements that allow honest communication and realisable outsourcing. The proliferation of digital information technologies has created a growing need for efficient, cost-effective, high-quality technology solutions for electronic data protection, digital archiving and the management of electronic documents. Organisational Drivers The proliferation of digital information technologies has created a growing need for efficient, costeffective, high-quality technology solutions for electronic data protection, digital archiving and the management of electronic documents. Organisations recognise the high labour cost of manually reviewing records and deciding whether to retain or destroy them Technologies like Cloud Computing make access to storage and complex software more affordable Many Irish entities fail to adopt or follow best practice policies on records retention and destruction There is a need to keep backup copies of certain records in off-site locations for business continuity purposes in the event of disaster Increased risks are driving organisations to improve their disaster recovery posture Paper consumption is in decline. It is expected to pick up as the economy does, however decline will continue 1-2 per cent year on year as technology improves Relationship management To successfully manage information inevitably means you must have the skills to manage people. A good relationship between the client and outsourcing solution provider is key. What kind of service provider can meet the customer requirements? Companies with feet in both paper and digital document management are best positioned to help organisations make the transition. There is extraordinary value in outsourcing the management of the complete information lifecycle in this hybrid world. 6

7 International research has found that businesses have underestimated the true value of their information. As a result, historically they missed an opportunity to apply outsourcing strategies that allows them to save money such as around secure destruction of paper records that are no longer required or in the search and analytics that could be applied to the information contained in customer files. More importantly, the cost benefits that have been linked to outsourcing are proven to apply in cases where services around scanning, storing and shredding documents are required. However, these benefits are most apparent when there are high levels of confidence between buyer and supplier. In order for this model to be at its most effective, there must first be a strong relationship of trust between the customer and the service provider. Formulating the right IRM strategy for your business Well planned thinking around an outsource strategy is essential to making it work. It has been shown in other markets that where there is a well-coordinated service that encompasses physical storage and destruction aligned to digital records management and online file backup, organisations reduce their exposure to data breaches. Before a process or task can be outsourced, however, businesses must be able to address the following points: Measure the process and apply metrics to it: this allows for better risk mitigation and ensures more robust agreements with clarity for customer and vendor Buyer and supplier must be closely aligned to ensure effective partnership and close communication A task or process can be outsourced, but responsibility remains with the organisation What business impact will be served and what are the measured benefits Engagement is fundamental to delivering results and meeting board expectations Solution based outsource strategy requires fully mapped requirements. 7

8 How new IRM outsourcing models must map to customer circumstances Kefron s expert panel agreed that there needs to be a change in IRM outsourcing methods. Service providers must identify the appropriate solution fit and to demonstrate return on investment to the customer s business. IRM solutions should adapt accordingly, yet not move too far away from the familiar. Moreover, these must be wrapped with a further layer of business knowledge and experience that aligns the customer s future needs with strategic and technology-enabled solutions. When providing bespoke or long-term corporate solutions, the medium of storing information must be kept in mind and this may change as technology develops and new options become available. Whereas box storage and destruction issues hinge on retrieval rates or straightforward space or compliance issues, the digital environment provides more complexity. There is a need now more than ever for business acumen in the industry. Awareness of economic realities is linked directly to surviving. The world and in particular information is changing too rapidly to stand still servicing it. What is clear is that the typical scan/store/shred portfolio is no longer enough, and service providers must address the needs of customers around electronic information. Analysis tools and search engines are an absolute in managing this volume to ensure the right information is found by the right people in the fastest possible time. True IRM suppliers must service this need in a more holistic way. The information boom will not cease but it can be controlled. Key to successful outsourcing is not only processing data but positioning to be or at the very least be perceived as controlling it for the customer. 8

9 About the Author Stephen Mackey is the Senior Information Management Consultant at Kefron and has over seventeen years experience working with bespoke information and document management solutions. A graduate of Ulster & Queens University and Limerick University, Stephen has been heavily involved with the majority of the large projects undertaken by Kefron Digital. Stephen s training has not only involved the capture of information, but he is also fully compliant with Document Management concepts, uploading and populating document management systems and database work. Stephen has also attended and qualified in; Dale Carnegie approved training in leadership and management skills / techniques, Microsoft Access training with Datapac to an advanced level, Supervisory & Project Management skills with Jefferson Training School, Major Account Selling with Leadership Development Limited, Key Account Management with IMI and holds a Master s Certification in Enterprise Content Management. About Us Kefron simplifies the document and information management world for their customers. For over 20 years Kefron has provided a range of services for compliant document and information management. Historically organisations typically managed hard copy records separately to their electronic records. There is an emerging trend whereby businesses are merging both hard copy and electronic records, creating a hybrid information management environment. To simplify this for businesses, Kefron has three brands which can manage all aspects of their document and information management requirements which includes Kefron Digital, Kefron Filestores and Kefron Consulting

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