Electronic Resource Management (ERM) policies can be confusing sometimes. For starters, what is an electronic resource? An electronic resource can be anything that you can store on a computer or pass between devices. PDFs, documents, images, presentations, and spreadsheets are all (or can be) electronic resources. Even real (as opposed to digital) materials can be scanned and used as easily as other electronic resources.
Now you’ve got a handle on what an electronic resource is, or can be. Now, how do you manage those so that you can get the most out of your workforce with the least clutter and distraction? Think about your resources falling into four general categories:
Pick your first small job and arrange your files in a way that makes sense for the job. For example, if you’re thinking about grouping all of your resources by the clients that they’re related to, you might have a set of folders for each client. Folder can contain anything that you think is relevant to stay on top of the current situation with that client, including things like:
- Incoming or outgoing email
- Meeting notes
- Drafts of deliverables—contracts, spreadsheets, presentations, etc.—and their successive revisions
- Finalized, approved and delivered versions of those documents.
Your stored records are going to be those that you only review now and then, or have to keep for a required amount of time. To be clear, these records will be scheduled for destruction at some point. You might be asking why, and the reason is because these records pose a threat to security for the organization. You’ve got the option of putting these in an off-site records storage center, where those records can be accessed or, if you don’t need them personally, they can be scanned and sent to you in an email.
The archived records are either historical or those with a lifetime retention. They should take up very little space, both in a physical and in a data sense. Everything that you’re hanging on to that doesn’t have a lifetime retention necessity should be destroyed because they could be considered a liability.
Incoming and Future Resources
If any materials come to your office that aren’t digitized, have those scanned and tuck them away in the folder that makes the most sense for them. Many people find it better to put in a web-based server where your entire relevant workforce will have access to them. But does that work for you?
The question of web access to resources is just one of the many that come up with this process. Have you tried an ERM? Does it work for you? If you’re interested in evaluating your workflow to use an ERM policy, we can help you get started. And if you’ve got any experience with an ERM policy, tell us about your experiences below.
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