In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, the pressure to embrace digital transformation and reduce paper usage is ever-present. The rewards are enticing; increased efficiency, heightened compliance, and the promise of long-term cost savings.
Yet, for many facilities managers, the prospect of diving headfirst into full-scale digital transformation can be a daunting and financially burdensome endeavour. This is especially true when confronted with the monumental task of digitising a vast archive of physical records.
In this article, we explore the world of hybrid storage systems – a pragmatic and cost-effective approach to digital transformation within the realm of facilities management.
This innovative approach allows digital and physical records to coexist harmoniously, supporting the notion that not every document demands an immediate digital facelift.
For facilities managers eager to set sail on the digital transformation journey, the steps outlined here for establishing a hybrid solution can help guide a course towards a more efficient and sustainable future.
▶ Kick things off with a ‘lift the lid’ records analysis
The initial step is to comprehensively analyse the types of records your business manages.
Think of it like sifting through a treasure trove – you’ve got everything from HR paperwork to financial documents, legal papers, and maintenance records. Each one plays by its own set of rules when it comes to how long it should be kept for.
By identifying the contents of your archive, you can determine which records can be securely destroyed, which should remain in their current physical form, and which are better suited for scanning or digital conversion.
▶ Evaluate your current records management practices
Many organisations store records with minimal management, resulting in difficulties locating specific documents when needed. It’s like putting your car keys in a “safe place” and then spending hours searching for them when you’re already late for an important meeting.
Relocating records offsite to a specialist records management provider and implementing robust indexing practices can significantly enhance inventory management, making it easier to retrieve crucial information when required. Think of it as decluttering your digital attic.
▶ Set your records management goals in stone
It’s crucial to establish clear objectives for records management. It’s like having a roadmap for a cross-country adventure. You wouldn’t start a road trip without a destination in mind.
Whether your primary goal is to reduce physical storage space, streamline operational efficiency, save money in the long term or save time on document retrieval, a strategic goal in your sights will be your North Star guiding your every move.
▶ Distinguish VIP records from the rest
Here’s a little secret: not all records are created equal when it comes to how often you need to reach for them.
So, let’s play favourites for a moment. Identifying high-demand documents allows you to prioritise their digitisation, making them readily available for online access. By doing this, you’ll have them at your fingertips online, saving you precious time and valuable resources.
Put the spotlight where it matters most. For records that are frequently accessed, scanning is an efficient solution. Digital copies can be instantly retrieved, eliminating the need for physical retrieval. When you’re constantly digging them out of the filing cabinet, it’s time to give them a digital upgrade.
▶ Tackle the overstayers
Many organisations retain records “just in case” or lack well-defined retention policies.
Establish clear retention policies and index those records with destruction dates. It’s like giving your records an expiration date, keeping you firmly in the driving seat and in the good graces of compliance regulations.
On the flip side, remember that just because a document was created yesterday doesn’t mean it needs to be kept on-site. Embracing a hybrid approach allows for the seamless relocation of even the most recently generated records, as they remain readily accessible from alternate storage locations.
▶ Securely dispose of unnecessary records
Finally, once the retention date does come around, avoid falling at the last hurdle. Ensure those records are securely destroyed and that you are provided with a secure destruction certificate to evidence compliance. And then sit back and consider how you can redeploy the space you have freed up.
In a nutshell, the journey toward digital transformation need not be all-or-nothing. Instead, it’s about finding that sweet spot—a perfect blend of the old and the new. Embracing a hybrid storage system isn’t just a compromise; it’s a strategic advantage. It allows FMs to unlock the full potential of digital technology while retaining the practicality of certain physical records – the best of both worlds.
It’s not just a leap into the future; it’s a calculated and elegant dance between tradition and innovation.