Records Management versus Document Management: how do they differ?
By Pavinee Nanganong.5 min. read
Managing and organizing documents and records has become a critical challenge for organizations in today’s fast-paced and digital world. At Assai, we understand how overwhelming it is for our clients to organize, track, and secure documents, drawings, to reports. These are the main reasons why more and more organizations are reaching us for solutions. However, before you invest in a document management system, we recommend diving deep into some terminologies. It also helps communicate with your team or pitch to the management team how important document management tools are in your organization.
You might have heard that “records management” and “document management” are used interchangeably. But what exactly are document management and records management, and how do they differ? And yes, to keep it short…THEY ARE DIFFERENT. Your organization might need or not need both of them. In this blog post, we will explore the definitions and fundamental differences between these two critical functions, providing you with a clear understanding of what each involves and how they can support your document processes.
What is records management?
Records management is the systematic control of record creation, maintenance, use, and disposal. Records management aims to ensure the accuracy, completeness, reliability, and accessibility of an organization’s records while protecting sensitive information and preserving the organization’s history. Examples of records are:
- Financial records: Invoices, receipts, and financial statements that document financial transactions and transactions.
- Legal records: Contracts, agreements, and legal documents that pertain to the organization’s operations and compliance with laws and regulations.
- Personnel records: Employee resumes, job descriptions, performance evaluations, and other documents related to the organization’s personnel.
- Regulatory records: Reports and documents required by law or regulations must be maintained and stored.
- Operational records: Documents related to the organization’s operations, such as policies, procedures, and meeting minutes.
- Customer records: Customer information, such as contact information, order history, and service records.
- Health and safety records: Records related to the organization’s health and safety procedures, including incident reports, safety audits, and training records.
- Intellectual property records: Patents, trademarks, and other documents related to the organization’s intellectual property.
What is document management?
Document management is the process of organizing, storing, and tracking documents. The goal of document management is to make it easier for organizations to access, share, and collaborate on their documents while also improving efficiency and reducing the risk of lost or damaged files. Examples of documents are:
- Office documents: Word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and other documents.
- Email: Electronic messages and attachments that stakeholders use for communication and collaboration.
- Images: Digital photos, graphics, and illustrations.
- Audio and video files: Recordings of meetings, presentations, and other events.
- PDFs: Portable Document Format (PDF) files for sharing information in a non-editable format.
- Web pages: HTML pages, blogs, wikis, and other types of web content.
- Engineering drawings: blueprints, schematics, and other technical drawings used in construction and manufacturing.
- Contracts: Legal agreements and contracts.
Records Management versus Document Management: the differences
Some might use these two terms interchangeably. However, they are not the same but overlap. In practice, records management often involves document management as a key component, as many records are stored as documents. However, the critical difference between the two is the focus on managing records as a specific type of information, with particular requirements for retention, accessibility, and security.
In conclusion, document management encompasses many documents, including records, but not all documents are considered records. Document management aims to provide a centralized and organized system for all documents. Yet, records management focuses specifically on the long-term preservation and management of records.
If you reach here, you will have gotten some ideas out of this topic, what those terms are, and what the differences are. Take some time to reflect on your organization’s needs. You might only need the tool that helps you manage your documents, like Google Drive or Dropbox, where teams can easily access/control access the document center. By adding some creativity and a lot of work, you might be able to manage the records on these tools as well. Anyway, it’s time-consuming and has no standardization. If your work also involves records management, you will need document management software capable of both, such as Assai.
How can an eDMS streamline your records management and document management processes?
Electronic document management systems (eDMS) are modern solutions that enable organizations to efficiently and securely manage, organize, and share their digital documents, such as PDFs, word processing files, spreadsheets, presentations or drawings, and digital scans of paper-based content.
These systems provide a central repository for all electronic documents, making them easily accessible to authorized users. With an eDMS, you can improve collaboration and productivity, reduce the risk of errors and data loss, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
Records management is an integral part of most eDMS’s in the market. The systems include features specifically designed for records management, such as:
- Revision control
- Access control
- Audit trails
- Retention schedules
These features help organizations manage their records in a way that ensures their accuracy, completeness, reliability, and accessibility while also protecting sensitive information and preserving the organization’s history.
So, in essence, records management is a key component of a DMS, and a DMS can be an effective tool for managing records in a way that meets the specific requirements of record-keeping.
Finding the right eDMS vendor for your organization
After considering the above information, there are many more steps until you find the perfect fit system. There are many eDMS’s in the market, but NOT ALL will suit your organization/industry. You can reach out to as many vendors as you can. However, you may not have plenty of time, so you better consider your requirements, such as types of documents, data size, industry regulations, or professions involved.
We’ve attached some related blog posts and downloadable resources below. They will guide you through document management planning, vendor selections, and best practice.
- Blog post: 7 eDMS Vendor Selection Criteria
- Blog post: What is the difference between document control and document management?
- Blog post: Document Management Plan in 10 Steps
- Blog post: Make a difference with a Document Management and Control System
- Blog post: How to use a DMS to manage your document workflow
Want to explore more about Document Management and Document Control? Download our latest whitepaper and guide via the buttons below!
Assai’s document management system
At Assai, we take pride in offering the best document control and document management system for complex projects and operations in the market. Assai’s cloud-based document management system stores all your items in a central repository equipped with easy and comprehensive search options on metadata and content for documents, drawings, correspondence, emails, and more. The system enables organizations to integrate with tools that fit their requirements, such as Power BI. Also, version control and redlining are a breeze with Assai.
We offer a system that meets different industries’ needs, including Oil & Gas, Renewable Energy, Construction & Engineering, Transportation, Mining, and Utilities. Our user-friendly, secure, and scalable solutions come with expert support and training. Check it out on our site, and feel free to book a demo!