Best software for electronic records retention

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We have a software for our paper records but is not the best for electronic records retention. We are just starting out in this area and not at the IG level yet. Any suggestions for a program that will just handle that aspect and is not going to break the bank?

Mary: You will have more success in getting a hold of a person from the outside who is an experienced IT systems analyst, project manager, CIO, etc. who has created customized systems to train yourself or a person on your staff that can carry on future upgrades and projects. Compare the figures over the next 5 to 10 years with internal staff and you may be shocked.
I know you will say “but everyone uses packages”. I can tell you from over 30 years experiences that doing your own internal, customized, streamlined systems for the exact purpose of your organization and sharing all data across the organization (Enterprise) is much more flexible and in many cases can be less expensive. Remember your system needs to share data across your entire organization and that is how you get a good ROI (Return on Investment)

Creative Technology and Management Services
Harrisburg, PA

There is no one “best solution” for electronic records retention. It all depends on what your specific needs are. My firm is currently using two different software solutions to manage paper and electronic records separately. We are planning to move to Autonomy Records Manager in the near future to consolidate and manage these two information silos using a single solution. I’ll be able to manage retention, legal holds and dispositions more efficiently, meeting all regulatory, legal and business requirements.

Rather than considering a solution just to manage electronic records, you may want to consider one that can manage both. There are several solutions to consider and you should draft an RFP listing all of your requirements, then meet with those vendors that can meet your needs and your budget.

Also, I have to agree with the majority. Why go through the expense of hiring someone to design a retention solution when there are several qualified vendors (HP, OpenText, IBM, Zasio, Hyland Software, etc.), that can help you get the right system operational in a relatively short amount of time. Good luck and let me know if you have any additional questions.

As an experienced and senior Information Systems Solutions Architect, and also experienced Content Management Consultant, I disagree almost completely with Robert. There are a multitude of flexible (ranging from low flexibility to high configurable) software solutions that may meet your needs. These range from large enterprise-scale suites like OpenText and Documentum (as well as IBM’s FileNet), which I would classify as the most capable “heavy-hitter” solutions through to SharePoint – on premise or Office 365 (O365) – which I would strongly recommend looking at Gimmal’s Compliance suite add on for, down through hundreds of other products that hit all price levels.


We use HP Records Manager 8.1.1 to manage our paper and electronic documents. It’s an enterprise solution designed to manage physical and electronic information while also capturing, and securing our business information to meet our regulatory compliance.

Not sure if you are using something like this for your paper records but it has the capability to manage both appropriately

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I disagree with the comment to build your own system.

There are a number of systems available that will manage retention and disposal etc.

HP8 (TRIM), Objective and others will do what you want.


City of West Torrens
Adelaide, Australia

I would agree with the majority here. COTS (Commercial off-the-shelf) products remain highly configurable for your organisation’s business needs. You won’t be surprised to hear me say the HP RM is highly likely to have the capability you are looking for. However, regardless of the software selection, key is not so much the technology, but having solid business requirements, along with a robust and mature implementation and change management process, in order to have a system configured to meet your corporate policies (compliance) and operational requirements, and to have a system users are prepared to use.

In my experience, articulating high-level requirements before you consider the technology is essential. If you don’t have internal capability, selecting a dependable business partner to assist end to end is a viable method to achieve your goals.

Bespoke software is higher risk, and expensive to develop and maintain. Even with a very mature software development environment (if you have one) the business case for COTS is strong. Also note that if you don’t have the internal capability to maintain the system, there are as-a-service offerings out there (including software and infrastructure) which can provide a secure, business outcome, without you having to be technical experts.

HP Enterprise Services, Analytics and Data Management
Canberra Australia

I agree with Stuart, very succinctly put! As I am with Access Sciences, I would add that Modus™ might be a solution for you to examine in addition to HP.

Retention schedules are the foundational component of a sound records and information management program and drive the process of determining the life of a record in each stage of the information life cycle. A retention schedule should take into consideration not only the practical business life of records but also federal and state regulatory requirements.

When looking for the solution that is right for you, you might want to look for a retention schedule product that is not just a database to be used for time-consuming and costly research by your staff, but rather ready-to-deploy, that already has thousands and thousands of statutes and regulations relevant to your industry, already loaded in the system.
As the foundational component of a sound records and information management program, a well-designed records retention schedule will:
Manage Risk
Reduce costs associated with data retention
Enable recordkeeping compliance with regulatory requirements
Best wishes!

Access Sciences Corporation

Mary I used to own a records storage and imaging service bureau. We both used and resold Digitech’s ImageSilo. It manages documents better than any system I know of and it works excellent with retention. Setting up the policies are super easy. Let me know if you need names and numbers.

Ron Bush Consulting,
[City] [State]

Your question is too simple. Selecting a software solution is the easy part. To manage electronic records you need to be able to manage unstructured content (e.g. documents and images), the metadata about the record, retention, disposition and legal holds. You also need the system to manage the records so they remain authentic over time and for those records with long term value (retention over 10 years) and archival records, the ability to preserve the records over time as software and hardware become obsolete.

I will not address structured data records as they generally remain in the system which they are created for their lifecycle (e.g. SAP, PeopleSoft, etc.). I also assume you have approved records classification and retention schedules that are simple enough to manage electronic records – most schemas designed for paper records are overly complex.

I can tell you that just defining the metadata requirements for asset records took business SMEs, technical people, and the records experts working in partnership over 6 months in lapsed time. That that was just so that we could improve the SharePoint based collaboration tool being used by the business (IT developed the SharePoint based collaborate tool without a full understanding the records retention issues) so that records could be declared into our enterprise content management system (FileNet) in a manner that the actual records management process is invisible to business user.

Building a custom solution to actually manage the lifecycle of electronic records over time would require a huge amount of business and technology expertise – not something I could image trying to do. The other challenge is the volume and variety of electronic records that must be managed (documents, photos, web content, email, etc.) and the ability of the solution to meet the needs.

I recommend you start with some professional help to define your problem including documenting your business functional requirements and non-functional requirements. Then start asking the questions about what the right technical solution.

BC Hydro

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