Document Management: A Primer

Tools for recordkeeping are more sophisticated than ever as the need for these capabilities grows.

By Facility Executive Staff
From the February 2018 Issue

As the work of facility management has become increasingly intertwined with the organization overall, many in the profession have discovered the need to have quick access to facility related records and documentation. Whether the task at hand calls for sharing construction documents with a hired consulting firm or sending a record of a building or equipment inspection to a colleague outside the facilities department, having a dependable recordkeeping system in place is becoming a necessity for many.

document managementHere is an overview of a global standard to consider, whether launching a system or evaluating an existing framework. These practices below are from ARMA International, a not-for-profit professional association and a global authority on governing information as a strategic asset.

The Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles® (Principles) constitute a generally accepted global standard that identifies the critical hallmarks and a high-level framework of good practices for information governance. Published by ARMA International in 2009 and updated in 2017, the Principles are grounded in practical experience and based on extensive consideration and analysis of legal doctrine and information theory. They are meant to provide organizations with a standard of conduct for governing information and guidelines by which to judge that conduct.

Principle of Accountability: A senior executive (or a person of comparable authority) shall oversee the information governance program and delegate responsibility for information management to appropriate individuals.

Principle of Transparency: An organization’s business processes and activities, including its information governance program, shall be documented in an open and verifiable manner, and that documentation shall be available to all personnel and appropriate, interested parties.

Principle of Integrity: An information governance program shall be constructed so the information assets generated by or managed for the organization have a reasonable guarantee of authenticity and reliability.

Principle of Protection: An information governance program shall be constructed to ensure an appropriate level of protection to information assets that are private, confidential, privileged, secret, classified, essential to business continuity, or that otherwise require protection.

Principle of Compliance: An information governance program shall be constructed to comply with applicable laws, other binding authorities, and the organization’s policies.

Principle of Availability: An organization shall maintain its information assets in a manner that ensures their timely, efficient, and accurate retrieval.

Principle of Retention: An organization shall maintain its information assets for an appropriate time, taking into account its legal, regulatory, fiscal, operational, and historical requirements.

Principle of Disposition: An organization shall provide secure and appropriate disposition for information assets no longer required to be maintained, in compliance with applicable laws and the organization’s policies.

Further, ARMA offers the Information Governance Maturity Model (Maturity Model), based on the Principles, as well as the extant standards, best practices, and legal/regulatory requirements that surround information governance. The Maturity Model is meant to be deployed as a quality improvement tool, and it describes for each Principle the characteristics of effective information governance at five distinct levels of development: substandard, in development, essential, proactive, transformational.

ARMA International is a not-for-profit professional association and a global authority on governing information as a strategic asset. Formed in 1955 and located in Overland Park, KS, ARMA International’s mission is to provide information professionals the resources, tools, and training they need to effectively manage information assets within an established information governance (IG) framework. The association created the Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles® and the Information Governance Maturity Model, and it publishes Information Management magazine.

Do you have a comment? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below or send an e-mail to the Editor at