Global Records Management Policies: Avoiding the Struggles

Jeremy Dunn

Implementing a records management system in just one part of a company can be an intricate process. Now, imagine the intricacy for implementing global records management policies, involving different countries, cultures, jurisdictions, languages and business practices. The difficulty is amplified many times over.

With many companies expanding internationally, the need for global records management is becoming more prevalent. Because of its many moving parts, the process must be handled meticulously and thoroughly. To be successful, organizations must be up to the challenge of increased legal, regulatory and business pressures to make sure that records are secured and accessible globally. Organizations must also navigate complex regulations, incongruent information technology systems and changing levels of executive support. Despite these obstacles, organizations can still formulate sound global records management systems.

A solid program governance structure is crucial when it comes to global records management policies. This entails clearly defined roles and responsibilities for stakeholders and representatives including IT, legal, compliance, audit and business operations. It’s also recommended that an organization have a centralized project management office to oversee the process and its coordination.

Management support is vital because it helps records management teams connect with their regional lines of businesses and confirm that there is agreement on the capacities, intentions, roles and chronology of the global policy.

Policy execution is also imperative. This includes policies and procedures, systems implementation and systems training. Policies and procedures will vary depending on the company and industry. While implementation can be complicated by any number of issues, the primary conflict is choosing the technology platform. In some cases, an organization may feel it has no other option than to have different platforms for each region. However, having a compatible platform is highly recommended. This can be accomplished by gaining a general consensus among all key regions regarding technology platform designs.

Training content needs to be homogeneous. Although instruction methods may (and should) be localized, the core content must be consistent in order to ensure a common understanding among all parties.

Global records management would be impossible to execute without a proper program staffing model. This requires the right combination of personnel and resources. For example, the global records management team may include the policy and procedure team plus the training team, while the regional team may include the regional records management coordinator and the regional lines of business representatives.

With some forethought and planning, implementing a global records management policy can be a successful and worthwhile venture.

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