Document & Records Management
All energy companies have at least one thing in common: each generate an enormous volume of information. The burden of the Information Revolution is information management. Organizations have no trouble creating or acquiring information. The difficulty comes in deciding what information is important enough to keep, how to find it when others want access to it and for how long to keep it.
Document and Records Management is the science of information management. Organizations face increasing issues from the growing store of accumulating information, such as:
Storage Costs – needless information retained in the organization’s computing and paper-based information systems costs money, either in extra computers or in real estate lease charges. Prudent destruction of excess information directly reduces operating costs
Accurate Retention and Retrieval – organizations must keep relevant information for long periods. The difficulty becomes how to retain it in an organized, structured fashion and how future users can find it and retrieve it. An organized document and records management strategy ensures information can be retrieved accurately and easily regardless of length of time in storage.
Privacy – organizations now face privacy guidelines that govern the retention of private individuals’ information. Organizations now bear the burden of proof that private individuals’ information is retained only as long as legal requirements permit, and accessible or shared only in keeping with the wishes of each private individual.
Competent organizations employ a structured approach to document and records management, to manage the company’s information and ensure minimum risk from uncontrolled access or distribution of information. Document and Records Management Systems are designed to automate information and put the controls in place to allow for easy retrieval under proper distribution control.
Document Management Systems
Document management systems are purpose-built software systems that facilitate paper input into electronic format (whenever that step is necessary), then create structured, central electronic document repositories to find, share and store documents in a controlled, traceable fashion. Document management systems connect to industrial-grade paper scanners, so that large volumes of paper documents can be put into the system electronically. Using complex software known as CRS (Character Recognition Software), document management systems convert scanned written information into individual characters, allowing unstructured content to be treated like native digital text.
When is a Document a Record?
Most of us use the terms “documents” and “records” interchangeably. However, in the science of document and records management, the two are very distinct.
Documents versus Records
Documents comprise the majority of an organization’s information sources. Documents can range from a simple memo or e-mail containing some useful information, to multiple volumes of exhaustive material on a related field or subject. The information in Documents can be vital to retain for long periods, or short-term in nature and relatively inconsequential. Documents can be legally binding contracts between parties or routine notifications passing between groups or individuals. In short, the term “Documents” is a general title encompassing arguably all forms of visual information. However, all Documents are not Records.
Documents become Records once some information in the document is designated to be retained in an official capacity. Within all organizations, only a subset of all Documentation held by the group becomes classified as Records. For example, contracts for drilling leases; the name/address/telephone number of an individual on the pipeline right-of-way; the custody transfer total between two organizations on a specific date, all are vital pieces of information that must be retained exactly, to protect the integrity of the information. Document Management Systems focus on making all content available in electronic form. Records Management Systems address the tracking and retention of official information.
Records Management Systems
Records Management Systems allow users to apply structured rules to the storage and retention of information. Records Management Systems usually do not shape or alter documents, as those activities are ably handled by document management systems. Records Management Systems act as information accountants, establishing formal control over access, distribution, retention and ultimately destruction of any information designated as a record under the control of a records management system. A complete corporate document and content management solution would include both a document management system and a records management system.
Many very large companies today sell asset management software. Why would any Energy customer choose instead to work with CriticalControl, admittedly not the largest asset management company in the industry?
CriticalControl saw that most of the big asset management companies have developed their products around a classical manufacturing industry model, where an asset is purchased new, installed in a specific location, operated and maintained over its lifetime and then retired when the last drop of usefulness has been rung out of it. That approach may work very well for assets that stay in one place, like in a car manufacturing plant. But CriticalControl knows that the upstream sector moves their materials very frequently, with drilling rigs traveling literally around the country, and wells being rotated in and out of production. Such materials movements make it easy to lose track of a portion of a company’s invested capital. In a company with 1,000 oil wells, materials can become misplaced before their useful life really has come to an end, leading companies to buy new replacements before it is actually necessary.
In the upstream oil and gas materials management industry, customers choose CriticalControl because we specialize in the management of materials for the upstream oil and gas industry.
Document & Records Management Consulting
The Electronic Revolution has accomplished many major milestones since the introduction of computing. Two cornerstone events stand out:
Computers small enough to put one at every person’s fingertips, typing their own documents, managing their own spreadsheets and storing their own data.
Connecting computers together over networks, so that information can be shared easily between users.
Now that we have computing power available to everyone who wants it and networks that will carry our information around the world in an instant, the difficulty users face is the amount of data we handle and how to manage it effectively. More and more, the combination of all people creating their own documents and being able to send them to anyone anywhere for their input means more documents are being shared more widely than was ever possible before. This expanding phenomenon is raising issues of version control, document storage, accidental disclosure of sensitive information and a variety of other issues that were not so easily accomplished in the pre-electronic world. The science that has emerged to address these issues is known as “Document and Records Management.” Evolutionary steps taking place now address moving from just creating documents and e-mailing them around, to implementing managed document sharing methodologies, built within formal Document and Records Management Systems. CriticalControl is an expert at designing, procuring, implementing and deploying document and records management systems for our customers.
CriticalControl is not a manufacturer of document and record management systems. CriticalControl is a document and records management systems integration organization, with a large consulting staff who work with customers on their specific document and records management needs, then design and deliver complete document and records management solutions tailor-made to meet each customer’s specific requirements.
CriticalControl accomplishes these projects with the help of our partners, each an accomplished and successful document and records management industry member in their own right: