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How to decide on the suitable metrics to your data administration program

In a three-part post we examine the role of metrics in demonstrating the value of RM, especially in organizations that have implemented an electronic one File management system. In this post, we describe a four-step process to get the right metrics.

An electronic document and file management system (EDRMS) is an excellent addition to any file management department, but it almost always has a catch. Management will soon require evidence of ROI and, in many cases, expect better evidence of the value of the entire Records Management program.

This puts RM specialists in a difficult situation. How do they provide that evidence and show the ROI? While EDRMS makes it easier to collect metrics, it doesn't solve the problem of which metrics to look at. And unlike other areas of management, performance metrics in document management are evolving, so there is no standard set of metrics to reference. This means that every organization needs to determine the most appropriate RIM performance metrics based on its goals and situation.

Choosing the Right Performance Metrics for RIM and EDRMS

There are two important pitfalls that must be avoided when measuring RIM and EDRMS. The first is to choose metrics just because everyone else uses them – and ignore the fact that they provide little workable insights. The second danger is choosing metrics that don't reflect what is really important to your business in terms of goals. To avoid these pitfalls and to identify the correct metrics for your program, TAB recommends the following four step process:

  1. Define Your RM Program Goals
    When considering your goals, make sure that these meet the SMART criteria – in other words, they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. For example, employees in your company can collaborate a lot through email attachments, making it difficult to find the official copies of a record. You hope to avoid these challenges by encouraging more employees to use the EDRMS to collaborate. This could translate into the following specific S.M.A.R.T. Goal: Reduce internal email traffic by 15% this calendar year by encouraging greater use of the EDRMS for collaboration.
  2. Determine the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each goal.
    In this step, you will take a look at what you need to measure in order to assess progress toward a particular goal. Using the same example, you should measure the volume of email traffic and the extent to which the EDRMS is used.
  3. Take a close look at why your KPIs would change.
    To Successfully Use KPIs to Demonstrate ROI It is important for program performance to understand all of the factors that can cause the KPI to change. For example, if email volume is going down, can you 100% attribute this to the introduction of the EDRMS, or are there other reasons? Knowing as much about these factors as possible can help you be more confident about the real impact of your RM program.
  4. Pick your specific metrics and start tracking.
    Here you identify and collect metrics that are relevant for each goal. In the example of e-mail usage, this can mean that the entire usage of e-mails is tracked over a certain period of time. Or better yet, keep track of the volume of emails that contain attachments. The more specific you get, the better.

With your metrics selected, it is important to regularly track and review them. Because the metrics are constantly changing, it can take some time to determine the normal values ​​or ranges for each metric. Once you've established these benchmarks, it's much easier to see when your activities are having an impact.

In our next post, we will dive into more detail about metrics that you can use to monitor the performance and ROI of your EDRMS activities.

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