Every record has a lifecycle. The life span could be a few days or it could be permanent. The records lifecycle is determined by how long it must be retained to meet legal, administrative, fiscal, and historical requirements. throughout this process, a record must be appropriately managed and regulated for the duration of its existence.
In records management, the records lifecycle refers to the stages that each record must go through and be managed during its lifespan. The lifecycle of records consists of three major stages: creation or receipt, distribution and use, and disposition. Different policies and procedures exist at each phase.
The lifecycle is based on the notion that some records retain their value for a longer period of time than others and that the value of records frequently changes throughout time. A record with a permanent retention, for example, retains its worth in indefinitely, but a record with a three-year retention loses its value totally after three years.
Records lifecycle management is important for organizations to be able to efficiently and cost
effectively manage and control all of your records throughout their duration in order to better handle employee documents, client agreements, invoices, financial reports, and other records while also complying with various retention regulations.
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Records management ensures that information is available when and when it is required, in an organized and efficient way, and in an appropriate setting.
I strongly advise you to read the following article to have a better understanding of how records management can ensure that your records are properly maintained and cared for.
Various records management activities occur at various stages of the records lifecycle, which a records administrator undertakes at the beginning or end of the phase. The duration of the life cycle is comprised of the phases taken together.
Records Lifecycle Stages
We utilize the records lifecycle as RIM specialists to track the flow of records through their various life stages. There are several interpretations of the major phases in a record’s lifecycle, but they all begin with the same one.
1- Creation and/or Receipt
Record creation is the first stage of the life cycle and refers to a reproduction or production of a recorded or documented information. This stage begins with the creation or receipt of a record. For example, you may write a financial report (creation) or receive a memo by email (receipt).
Records must be created in the finest format available, and they must be of high quality, accurate, valid, and dependable. They may be created in different ways within organizations.
- Compose and send emails
- Creation of any MS office document types such as word, presentations, spreadsheets, etc.
- Transaction within an enterprise system
- The receipt of word documents, emails, excels, and so on
Records are considered active at this stage.
2- Distribution & Use
The second stage of the records lifecycle is called “Distribution & Use”. After a record is created or received, it passes through a distribution and usage phase. The distribution in the life cycle of a record includes both internal and external distribution and the impact on the entire or a portion of a business.
The record is widely used during this phase and must be maintained in an easily accessible location for easy access and use. The record might be kept for a few hours or years, depending on the retention schedule.
Finally, information is only valuable if it can reach multiple audiences at the proper moment.
I strongly advise you to read the following article covering the full guide to records retention.
The last phase of the records life cycle is disposition and involves records being destroyed. When inactive records’ retention periods expire, the records life cycle comes to an end. Now that the information is no longer required, the record can be deleted or transferred to archives.
At the end of a record’s lifecycle, the records management team must determine whether to destroy or keep the record. Records must be disposed of properly to avoid future issues, whether this involves transferring them to archive storage, another organization, or fully destroying them.
In most situations, this will imply physically destroying the record or, in the case of electronic records, removing the records from the electronic information system and its backups.
Destruction can be carried out in a variety of methods, including, but not limited to:
- Disposing in the bin
- Shredding of paper document
- Deleting of electronic document
- Shredding of optical disk
Other Records Lifecycle Stages
The above is the fundamental records life cycle, however your company’s demands may necessitate changes. For example, you may wish to include a phase to govern how documents are stored, whether on paper or electronically.
Let’s look into some of stages that you can include in your records lifecycle.
It is critical to ensure that records are correctly preserved in order to give simple access to information throughout the firm.
This phase will cover how to properly keep paper documents as well as how and where to store electronic documents.
Maintaining records appropriately ensures that they can always be accessible when needed, no matter how old they are.
It is not enough to just gather and preserve information; it is also critical to guarantee that only those with the appropriate access may examine their content.
Depending on the format of the documents, securing them is handled differently. Paper papers must be filed in a cabinet that should only be accessible to authorized staff. Furthermore, permissions on electronic documents should be addressed immediately following the storage phase.
Why is The Lifecycle Of A Record Important to Manage?
The records lifecycle is important to organizations because it ensures that all data are correctly handled and maintained, and that they are disposed of or archived in accordance with their retention strategy. Organizations may handle their records more efficiently and effectively with strong records management practices, which increases productivity and the overall effectiveness of corporate operations.
Without the lifecycle, records management initiatives would never be cost viable, and the efficiency with which they are administered would suffer.