In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic flipped the corporate world on its head. It fast-tracked digital transformation, propelled brick-and-mortar businesses into online models, and pushed traditional organizations to adopt new-age remote work options.
Over the last few months, digital processes have opened up a world of digital possibilities and decision-makers have opened their minds to automation. The records management industry is surging.
Employers have accepted the new reality that a complete return to on-premise work is unlikely—and when employees do get back to the office, life at work won’t be the same again. Employees may work partly from home and come into the office for a few days. A percentage of your employees may work permanently from home. With distributed teams working in tandem, how will they share documents? Where will new content be created and stored?
In a pandemic, it is difficult to courier documents and move files physically from one location to another. The current situation requires easy-to-access documents but totally secure conduits for remote teams.
What can companies do to maintain business continuity and adapt to the new normal?
Companies that build new processes now will do well to compete in 2021. Going forward, we expect a strong focus on digitization and document management best practices. Digital content repositories aid faster time-to-recovery and maintain continuous operations even with a distributed workforce. The post-COVID-19 situation will bring records management into increased focus.
Trends in records management in 2021
Let's look at some trends we predict for 2021 that will change your organization’s memory—that is, its physical records and digital documents.
Increased collaboration at work
Organizations will need to create a central shared document repository to enable collaborative workflows that accommodate new ways to interact. The initial rush to start work remotely may have set off multiple workflows, with individual team members using different tools and channels of communication.
In 2021, there will be a focus to consolidate these diverse tools, to bring in a cohesive system for records management. Organizations will require a system that connects their internal communications and external document sharing.
A digitized records management system saves time finding and filing documents, creating an opportunity to re-allocate resources to value-added processes. Document management software with collaboration features offers access control and version control to prevent editing overlaps by remote workers.
An effective organizational structure in the post-COVID era needs a robust records management strategy with workflow automation to enhance productivity.
Automation will be transformative
As organizations roll up their sleeves and pave their post-pandemic recovery path, they will look at automation to enhance productivity levels for manual processes. This allows employees to focus on value-added work in various departments like customer service, fulfillment, and sales growth.
In 2021, records management systems that cut down manual processes and focus on automation will gain prevalence. Digital auto-categorization of files, automatic removal of duplicate records, automated rules for information governance, and automated retention schedules will be highly sought-after in records management systems.
A move to the Cloud
2021 will be the year of “the agile organization.” Location-based straps have been cut. Companies can be entirely locationless. Employees will dial in from anywhere to tap into the core processes. Companies will look to save time and cost in every aspect of the business. And document management will not be an exception.
Cloud storage is the ultimate solution for companies that want to be agile and flexible. The Cloud grants easy access to documents and files from any location at any time, which means a distributed workforce can be more productive. You don’t have to be on a specific network or computer to access and edit files in the Cloud – all you need is a steady internet connection and highly secure gated login credentials.
Cloud servers reduce the time and cost incurred to store, process, and maintain business records. As more companies offer flexible working arrangements, migration to the Cloud will enable employees to work from any location. A move to Cloud-based solutions and storage is already a popular operational strategy and will continue to play a big role in the future of records management.
Companies will look to invest in Cloud-based solutions for records management.
Data security remains paramount
Data vulnerability can have serious consequences for an organization. Growth in Cloud storage will necessitate improved data security.
Role-based permissions, digital archiving, and automated backup plans ensure the safety of business records. Advanced records management solutions provide lock-tight systems that keep threat actors outside the doors.
Lower costs, higher returns
Affordability will be a 2021 prime concern for organizations recovering from the effects of the 2020 pandemic. With the large-scale adoption of records management tools, the market will witness extreme competition that will drive down the prices of these solutions—hooray, right?
In 2021, records management tools will become more affordable and accessible for organizations of all sizes and companies will see a high return on investment delivered by those advanced systems.
Business data is the lifeline of an organization. In 2021, companies will focus on business process improvement for agility and cost-effectiveness. Records management trends in the coming year will revolve around providing a secure and collaborative environment for remote workforces. Economic pressures from the loss of business during lockdowns will compel organizations to balance security and compliance concerns with affordability. Ultimately, organizations that remain agile and adapt quickly will see positive outcomes. So get on it. You have Q4 of 2020 to sort things out! Need help? Contact MES to get started today.