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Business Information and Records Management: The Complete Guide


Business Information and Records Management: The Complete Guide

Start managing your organization’s records more efficiently and effectively.


Private or public, and regardless of industry, any business or organization lives and dies on its data. The capacity to efficiently process, store, and retrieve information enables accountability, institutional memory, compliance, and other qualities essential to effective work. That’s why finding or building the right business information management system can have a massive impact on your enterprise’s performance for years.

But every business is different — how do you know what kind of record-keeping is right for you? Which features should you prioritize depending on your type of business, and how can you best align your business records management with the needs of the company? This guide will help you find your unique answer to that question.

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The basics of business information management

Business complexity has increased on average by nearly 7% year over year for the past 50 years, with information management being one of the most significant contributing factors. That’s why building or finding the right business information management system is an essential step for growing organizations.

    Benefits of better information management include…

  • Improved decision-making.
  • Increased operational efficiency.
  • Better customer satisfaction.

Key components of business information and records management

Centralized storage

Having a single source of truth for users is essential, and central repositories such as cloud storage make this goal much easier to achieve. It also makes it easier for employees to find key information quickly, minimizing time sorting through different repositories.


Technological implementation

Business information management systems function by integrating a vast range of technologies, from document digitization devices to productivity software and beyond. IT departments should take the lead on integrating these tools for maximum compatibility.

Data management policies

It’s critical to have the records you need when you need them, but it’s just as important to not hold on to any materials longer than necessary — both for logistical and legal reasons. Your method of records and information management should automate the administration of these concerns.

 Read more about the fundamentals of keeping your business’ records organized in our full guide, “What Is Business Information Management and Why Is it Important?” 


Did You Know?: Reading our Executive’s Guide to Digitization in Business is a great first step to get your business ready for a digital future.  

Getting started with office records management

The way an office handles its information can streamline operations and enable peak performance. On the other hand, ineffective methods can quickly weigh down and slow processes. The difference is effective office records and information management, and arriving at such a system requires deliberate care across the entire business.

    Better office records management can…

  • Secure private data.
  • Improve employee productivity.
  • Reduce the cost of physical storage.

Best practices for business records management in the office

Make a formal records policy

All employees must understand the function of your solution, and their role within it, for the solution to succeed. Your policies should cover each stage of a document’s life cycle: creation, access and usage, maintenance, and disposal or archiving.

Choose the right tools

The best business information management system for your office will depend on a suite of tools to function effectively. Carefully consider the application and integration of physical and digital storage, document scanners, and records management software in your processes.

Determine your KPIs

How do you know if your business records management is effective? Key performance indicators such as how much time employees spend on data entry, number of document requests that must be escalated, and others can help you track and optimize your policies.

Learn more about making your office work better from the data up in our full guide, “5 Strategies for Effective Office Records Management.” 

Employee records management for HR departments

Whether you work for a multinational corporation or a small local firm, effective HR practices start with good recordkeeping. Digitization makes it possible to turn filing cabinets full of personnel files into dynamic, interlinked documents available wherever (and only to whomever) they are needed.

    Employee records management includes:

  • Maintaining pertinent information related to employees.
  • Facilitating its access for managers and supervisors.
  • Ensuring sensitive records are only accessed for authorized purposes.

Principles of effective employee records and information management

Separate documentation

The Society for Human Resource Management recommends maintaining at least two documents for each worker: a personnel file that managers can access at will and a confidential file with any sensitive information about the employee.

Digital tools

Digital tools such as supply chain management software, RFID and GPS tags, and document scanners increase the efficiency of day-to-day operations and free up time for employees to focus on more impactful tasks.

Best practices

Accurate records can make a massive impact on an employee's career. Following local or national compliance standards should only be the starting point; keep in regular communication with supervisors about whether they can access the files they need to help measure your system’s success.

Find more helpful pointers in our full article, “The HR Manager's Guide to Employee Records Management.”

Did You Know?:  The fi-8170 was built to tackle demanding workflows, with double-sided scanning of up to 70 pages per minute and a 100-page automatic document feeder. Click here to learn more.

Corporate records management for better productivity

While profit is often the end goal, information is the currency that keeps corporate processes running smoothly. Deciding how that information is stored and used is just as important as balancing your budget sheet — and one could very easily impact the other.

    Benefits of corporate records and information management tools

  • Better organization.
  • Enhanced compliance.
  • Protection against data loss.

Key features of business records management tools for corporations

Version control

Knowing who has accessed what documents and when is a great tool for accountability. Just as important is the ability to revert to previous versions to ease the impact of errors or accidental data loss.

Process automation

Tools that enable extensive and customizable process automation throughout the entire lifespan of a record help speed business processes while helping ensure compliance with internal and external policies.

Tagging and labeling

Documents are only useful when they’re easy to find. Records management tools should streamline the process of tagging, labeling, and categorizing documents as they enter the system for near-instant retrieval later.

Find three helpful services that meet the above criteria in “3 Corporate Records Management Tools Keeping Businesses Organized.”

Healthcare medical records management for better outcomes

Knowledge is the most precious resource for medical professionals: the knowledge they’ve accrued from years of training, as well as the knowledge of a patient’s ailments and the plan to treat them. The latter consideration makes good healthcare records and information management a powerful tool for providing better care.

Key impacts of HIPAA on US medical records management

Compliance and enforcement

HIPAA governs how providers handle individually identifiable health information through its Privacy Rule and Security Rule, among other mandates. Failure to comply can result in fines, or even imprisonment of up to 10 years.

Security requirements

Electronic protected health information (e-PHI) must remain confidential, available, and intact. Organizations must take measures against reasonably anticipated threats to e-PHI, though HIPAA does not impose specific solutions.

Retention requirements

HIPAA largely defers to individual state regulations in determining how long to retain medical records and how to destroy them. However, it does offer some recommended methods for secure disposal, including shredding, burning, and pulping.

Did You Know?: The fi-7300NX can help your organization simplify scanning and reduce IT costs with built-in Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity, enabling use with or without a connected PC. Click here to learn more

Finding the right government records management software

Keeping accurate records is vital for government institutions. With each agency bringing its own requirements for information and records management to the table, finding the perfect fit can help you stay ahead of the curve in terms of both performance and compliance.

    Government records compliance considerations include…

  • Certification from organizations such as NARA and the GSA.
  • Image quality standards laid out by FADGI.
  • Flexibility toward new policies and technologies.

Features to look for in digital government records management

Robust security

Digital infrastructure is vulnerable to threats you would not need to contend with locally. Look for solutions that implement effective security features such as data encryption, access management, and audit trails.

Metadata and search

Without the tools to properly navigate them, large records databases can quickly become a source of bottlenecks. Extensive metadata and search capabilities help ensure finding records is a help rather than a hindrance.

Integration and interoperability

Whether working across branch offices or in collaboration with different agencies, government solutions must be able to effectively operate wherever they’re needed.

Read more about government recordkeeping in our guide, “7 Features to Look for in Government Records Management Software.” 

Police records management systems to ensure justice is served

Police must record and track a massive quantity of data in the course of their work: incident reports, evidence logs, subject records, and many more types of information must be stored and secured in the course of an officer’s day. Here’s how to make sure that information does its duty too.

    Police records management can help…

  • Maintain legal standards.
  • Gather information in one place for investigation and discovery.
  • Foster collaboration across jurisdictions.

Essential features for police information and records management

User-friendly interface

Officers and support staff have a lot to contend with every day; records management should minimize complications rather than causing them. Prioritize records systems that put essential data front and center with customization features that help each agency prioritize the features they need.

Computer-aided dispatch

CAD lets dispatchers and officers in the field quickly share relevant data about incidents while tracking the locations of modern officers. The ideal records management system will integrate with CAD software to make the process as fast as possible, ensuring officers have the info they need ASAP.

Advanced analytics

Determining how effectively the data in your system is being used can help you find potential stumbling blocks and rectify them before they cause bigger issues. They can also help identify trends that may help officers respond to rising incident types through better training and preparation.

Read more about enabling better policing with better data in our full guide, “8 Features to Look for in a Police Records Management System.” 

Did You Know?: The fi-800R’s ultra-compact size, durability, and versatility make it the ideal match for scanning various front office records. Click here to learn more. 

A lesson in student management systems

In-class assignments, homework, and schoolbooks — students have a lot to manage, but if only they could see all the records that go into making their educational experience as cohesive and supportive as possible. Effective student management solutions help schools better track the needs of students while freeing up staff to focus on the interactions that matter most.

    Student management systems help…

  • Create more organized student profiles.
  • Track attendance consistently and reliably.
  • Save time and space while maintaining compliance.

Key features for school record management software

Parent/student portals

FERPNA regulations dictate that schools provide access to education records for parents and students. Beyond ensuring compliance, giving families ways to view grades, attendance, teacher’s notes, and more helps keep everyone invested in the student’s progress.

Student profiles

The phrase “permanent record” brings to mind a manila folder stuffed with documentation of everything a student’s ever done wrong. But a modern, digital student profile is a tool for growth and care, allowing staff and educators to share everything from the student’s favored subject matter to food allergy details.

Advanced security features

Trust and privacy between families and educators is essential. To maintain that trust and privacy, ensure your solution meets industry-standard security requirements and encrypts all private data in storage and in transit.

Study up on more important features in our full guide, “What Is a Student Management System and What Does It Include?”


Helpful records management certifications to pursue

Nearly every enterprise needs access to well-organized information, but not everybody is equally equipped to oversee an effective business information management system. Whether you already work with records management in your day-to-day tasks or are seeking employment in such a capacity, earning professional certifications in records management can be a massive boon.

In-demand records management certifications

Certified Records Analyst

Holders of CRA certificates are qualified to handle the day-to-day operations of records and information management (RIM) organizations. They are certified to create and maintain records in compliance with industry standards, and are proficient with records systems, appraisal procedures, and retention practices.

Certified Information Privacy Professional

This certification offered by the International Association of Privacy Professionals ensures that candidates receive materials and training reflecting privacy laws where they work. IAPP breaks these regulations and frameworks out across five international regions.

Information Governance Professional

Individuals who have earned IGP certification must demonstrate a high-level understanding of RIM strategic practice. This certification is typically intended for leaders who must balance risk mitigation and cost-effectiveness across entire organizations.

Find even more worthwhile certifications to pursue in our full guide, “5 Records Management Certifications to Advance Your Career.”


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fi and SP Series scanners

Those in the market for tools to aid their business’ digital transformation have no shortage of options. We take great pride in having spent the last 50+ years researching, designing and developing some of the most advanced and powerful electronics in the world, including our professional grade fi and SP Series of scanners.

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