Compliance and legal issues are driving the records management market growth from under $100 million in 2004 to $709 million last year; it is expected to reach $1,6 billion by the end of the year, according to Forrester Research. e-Discovery technology spending alone is expected to grow from $1,4 billion last year to $4,8 billion in 2011.

Paul Mullon, information governance executive at Metrofile, writes that other drivers have also contributed to the groundswell that is now surging into corporations around the globe.
Gartner stated in 2001: "Before September 11, most people believed that 5% of their documents contained important business information. After September 11, and the loss of the documents outside of IT's control, it is now believed that 12% – 15% of all information is important business information that needs to be protected."
Document and records management is an area of great potential cost saving and efficiency for organisations, but it is also an area in which they can easily lose control. Gartner predicted that if external content were not brought under control, time wasted on document-related non-value tasks would increase 30% to 40% by 2003. This is one of the reasons that content management remains a top 10 item for CIOs despite tightening budgets.
The years subsequent to 2003 have proven this statistic to be correct, even possibly understated.
However, many companies respond to legislative requirements by simply keeping everything, but that's also the wrong approach and could land them in hot water. In fact, most organisations keep the wrong information, they keep too much of it, for too long and in the wrong place, which makes it cumbersome and costly.
In broad terms, organisations need to determine the retrieval requirements for various record types. This illuminates the most appropriate storage location: onsite storage facilities that range from filing cabinets in offices and the basement to specialised local storage rooms, or offsite storage at costly company-owned and -operated sites or with more cost-effective specialised outsource partners.
Partners bring a blend of paper, analogue and electronic solutions and services that start with paper and file management services delivered through storage centres. Documents are indexed, stored, and retrieved using sophisticated software ensuring that documents are secure, but can always be found and retrieved with the correct authorisation. Once requested, documents are delivered either in paper or electronic format.
The full range of services that companies require includes professional services, consulting and solution design, developing records strategies through to implementation plans, automated document capture and forms processing, image, document, and output management.
Conversion is a critical component of document and records management. Partners offer a host of services from receiving documents, processing them, bulk scanning, project-based scan services, microfilm and microfiche conversion, data migration and output management services.
Conversion centres can provide a mailroom service, further reducing the administrative overhead. The best partners offer these services onsite or offsite.
Using such a service gives customers a single view of all the information required for a single process or line-of-business. They're able to search for any document or record that exists in the business, regardless of whether or not the document is in paper or digital form, in-house, or archived offsite in a storage centre.
Essentially, by employing a structured, best-practice approach, companies can:
* Manage all information, regardless of media, in the most cost-effective manner while ensuring legal retention requirements are adhered to;
* Organise their archives, separating backup archives from record retention archives to ensure that they keep records in a searchable and retrievable environment;
* Manage media to ensure that, although technologies advance and digital media degrades relatively quickly, they'll still be able to read the data in 10 or 20 years;
* Properly destroy records, such as duplicate digital copies, classified and confidential information according to legislated requirements such those contained within the National Archives and Records Service Act, and the Minimum Information Security Standards; and
* Ensure a records-hold, which indicates that documents should be assessed before being destroyed to ensure they are not required for any pending and current litigation; and monitor supplier compliance.
The already large market and imminent boom indicate that while many companies have document and records management programmes in place, many have yet to embark on them. Failure to do so will not only result in possible penalties that place an onerous burden on financial departments and public relations teams, but can result in higher than necessary operational costs.